Pilots save dogs by flying them to SWLA

Pilots n' Paws rescue

Pet rescuers will go to any means necessary to save animals. One national organization of pilots falls under that category, as they fly animals to rescuers across the country. Sunday, they delivered two dogs to rescuer Cyndi Gwatney right here in southwest Louisiana.

Meet Jack and Jill, two German Shorthaired Pointers who just received the ride of a lifetime. Before Sunday they lived in a high kill Oklahoma shelter, about to be put to death in a gassing chamber. But now rescuer Cyndi Gwatney is giving them a second chance at life. She couldn't be more excited.

"There's no way to describe the feeling," said Gwatney. "None."

Gwatney works with five different rescues, one being a German Shorthaired Pointer rescue called New Beginnings. They contacted her about Jack and Jill. She agreed to foster them, but that's where the easy part stopped. How were they going to get to southwest Louisiana? By plane of course. An organization called Pilots n' Paws stepped up to help out.

"What better way to utilize what I enjoy doing to help people," said pilot Rich Messenger.

Pilots n' Paws is an organization of volunteer pilots who donate time and effort to help these animals out.

"It's some of the best gratification you have to fly," said Messenger. "Flying is fun, and if you talk to any pilot that's the love. But that just makes it even better."

Messenger has been flying for the group for three years. He said Jack and Jill made the two hour flight nicely.

"Most dogs sleep," said Messenger. "It's the cats and the other animals that want to claw the walls up. Most dogs love to fly. I guess it's the purr of the engine. They just fall asleep."

Gwatney baked cookies for Messenger in appreciation of his actions. But to him she's the one to thank.

"The thanks really isn't any different than it is from me to them for doing what they do," said Messenger. "It's mutual. I mean I love it. I've got a hobby that can help and all I have to do is fly. That's easy for me."

As for Jack and Jill, they'll stick around for awhile.

"They'll stay here until they're ready to be adopted out," said Gwatney.

Gwatney uses Sunday's events to remind people about the importance of spaying and neutering animals.

"That cute little puppy that was so cute and wonderful turned into a dog that no one wanted and now it's in a shelter," said Gwatney. "You don't need to be breeding dogs if you don't know what's going to happen to them."

Since the story aired, we've found out that Jack was diagnosed with viral pneumonia. He's been given a 25% chance at survival, but Gwatney says she won't give up on him.

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