As you know if you’ve been reading this blog, my husband, Dylan, is a pilot. His contribution to our rescue efforts, besides putting up with a lot of troubled foster dogs, is to occasionally fly for Pilots n’ Paws, picking up or dropping off rescued dogs. Recently, he suggested I get my pilot’s license, so I can be his safety pilot. I said, “Honey, if it were between getting my pilot’s license or going to Europe, I’d rather go to Europe.”
He said, “Well, if you get your pilot’s license, I’ll take you to Europe.” ‘Nuff said.
So, yesterday I thought we could do a dual-purpose mission: a Pilots n’ Paws flight and some flight training practice. We planned to take my foster dog to a different foster home further south because she (Pixie) had a high prey drive, and that wasn’t working out so well with my cats (I hadn’t seen them in two weeks; they had stayed holed up under the upstairs couch).
That flight would have been 20 minutes each way. However, I then talked with our rescue president, and she said there was a dog in a Trinidad, CO shelter who needed to be sprung. I talked to my husband, we ran the calculations, and we decided to take the extra hour-and-a-half flight to Trinidad to pick up said dog.
We had no problem dropping off Pixie with her new foster mom, Barb. On the way out of that airport, I called my friends at Breeder Release Adoption Services (BRAS), which is based near Trinidad, and asked them if they had any dogs needing transport north. It turned out they had a dog, Bebe, who needed to go to her forever home in Colorado Springs. Of course, I told them to meet me at the airport.
Around 1:30 p.m. we landed at the Trinidad airport. There were four whole people there: the guy running the FBO (general aviation terminal), two people from Noah’s Ark Shelter, which is where to dog I was picking up came from, and Chris from BRAS. The ladies from Noah’s Ark had a GIANT Boston Terrier at the end of a leash, and Chris had one of the teeniest Yorkies I’d ever seen. What a contrast! The problem was that the giant Boston was springing a sold four-feet into the air trying to “get to know” the Yorkie stuffed toy.
In all the flight planning frenzy, I had forgotten to ask the Boston’s name. I was told at the airport that he is called Duke. “Duke!” I thought. “Oh, no. Not again.” (Eight foster dogs ago, we had one named Duke, and he bit me. See link.) Things were not looking good, but I knew we had a mission: Get Bebe safely to Colorado Springs and then get Duke into a bathtub – he was filthy! I would figure everything else out later.
We tethered Duke in the back of the plane and I held Bebe on my lap for the hour-long journey to Colorado Springs. She stank, apparently having just been rescued from an Amish puppy mill. Chris warned me to keep her as cool as possible because the millers had kept them all locked in a hot crate, where two of them suffered heat exhaustion and subsequently died. This poor little girl had what felt like a broken rib but seemed like she was going to make the flight. Happily, she did, and she was united with her new forever mommy at the Cutter FBO.
Cutter gave us such a warm welcome! All of the FBO linemen (guys waving orange thingys to tell you where to park your plane) loved dogs, and one had even adopted from Golden Retriever Freedom Rescue. It was a good thing, too, because we ended up stuck there with Duke for about four hours. There were storms developing all over the place. We would have made it directly home, but since we landed to drop off Bebe, we got stuck. We made the best of the rain by grabbing the hand soap and taking Duke outside for a bath. We didn’t get him totally clean, but his scent was significantly more tolerable once we were through.
Most FBOs have cars available for pilot use, which is great on days like yesterday because we were able to grab some food and then take Duke out for some exercise. We took him to a dog park and put him in the small dog area to see how he reacted to other dogs. Being that he didn’t seem too interested, we figured we’d give him a try in the larger park with the other dogs. For about a half hour, he did fine. This couple was there with their two Standard Poodles, a Husky-mix, and the wife’s mother. The mother had just lost her Boston Terrier, and they had seen Bostons 101 on Animal Planet that morning. They thought it was destiny, and insisted that they would adopt Duke. I thought it was a great idea, until Duke attacked a fluffy Husky-like dog. Two dogs got into it, so Duke jumped in. He slung a paw over the smaller dog and bit her neck so hard that we couldn’t get him to let go.
Finally, after what seemed like 20 minutes, Duke released. It was scary, to say the least, especially because we were bringing him back to our home, where Bill and our cats were waiting. The family said they still wanted to adopt him, and they went online last night to fill out the application.
I’m glad Duke already has people interested in him, but I’m afraid these people are not going to be the right ones for him. They have three dogs already and clearly like to go to the dog park. I tried again with Duke today. He was on leash, and he attacked another fluffy Husky-like dog. This doesn’t bode well. I’m going to write the family about it tonight.
Duke is a nice dog besides that hump-then-bite technique he seems to enjoy. I think he should probably go to a home without other dogs. First, though, he’s headed to the vet. It looks like he’s got two bad knees and possible a problem with his right front paw. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, pray for me.