Local News

February 6, 2014

Pilots-N-Paws: Group takes animal rescue to new heights



Amy Young, a transporter for Friends of Laurel County Animal Shelter, is also quick to praise Smith’s efforts in finding the animals a good home.

“This isn’t just a one-time thing for Lana; this is a 24/7 job for her,” Young said. “She’ll be searching for (families) on Facebook and updating posts well into the night and early morning.”

Young has also played a major role in covering great distances to find cats and dogs suitable homes. Only recently, her boyfriend has driven a dog to Elizabethtown to have it flown to St. Louis.

However, it was Smith who originally took Lucy home two weeks ago. She knew the young beagle was pregnant and that the animal shelter did not have the resources to properly aid the 1-year-old mother. She took Lucy into her own home to find proper foster care, but discovered her seven babies could not wait any longer.

“I didn’t know she was going to give birth so fast,” Smith said. “But she gave birth that very night.”

Smith then began seeking out foster homes and other rescue organizations. AHeinz 57 had a rescue team en route back to Iowa from Florida via car, but barely missed Smith’s distress call. The program knew of a foster home available for Lucy. Luckily, Amy Heinz — owner of AHeinz 57 — also knew of Pilots-N-Paws.

Pilots-N-Paws operates off of its website, offering forums and message boards for pilots and rescue teams. All that’s required for rescue teams is a logistical route along with sending and receiving airports. Pilots like Jim Jeffries volunteer their time and fuel to make sure dogs get where they need to be. According to Jeffries, it’s a cause worth flying for.

“I feel good doing it,“ Jeffries said. “Pets are defenseless, you know. They rely on us for help. I love dogs and I love flying. It’s a perfect combination for me.”

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