Friday, November 9, 2012

Dog is My Copilot {book review}

I recently finished a book called Dog is my Copilot: Rescue Tales of Flying Dogs, Second Chances, and the Hero Who Might Live Next Door by Patrick Reagan.

First, I'll just get this out of the way - I LOVED this book. Everyone loves the heartwarming tales of 'down-on-their-luck' dogs getting adopted with happy endings, well this book is all that with a new twist. It was a delightfully easy read and yes I'm pretty sure I teared up more than a few times!


As a decorated helicopter pilot, Sam Taylor flew Search and Rescue missions during the Vietnam War. Today, his rescue work is closer to home - and extremely close to his heart. Taylor is one of roughly 2,000 private pilots who volunteer their time and their planes to fly abused, neglected, and homeless dogs from "high-kill" animal shelters to new "forever" homes across the country.

Dog is My Copilot tells the story of Pilots N Paws, a high-flying animal rescue operation founded "accidently" in 2008 when a private pilot offered to fly a mission of mercy to save an abused dog for a friend. Once on the ground, the pilot asked his friend if there was a big need to transport shelter animals from one part of the country to the another. She responded, "You have no idea." Since that time Pilots N Paws has grown to include thousands of pilots who have transported tens of thousands of "death-row dogs" (and a fair amount of cats and other animals), sometimes more than 1,000 miles away to new homes or no-kill shelters where they have a much higher chance of adoption. The true hear of Dog is My Copilot are the 24 real-life rescue stories collected from pilots and their animal rescue counterparts on the ground. The short, captivating stories are accompanied by over 100 charming, poignant, color photos - most taken by the pilots themselves - of their canine passengers in flight.

My Thoughts

Animal transports are hard to organize and even harder to pull together. Taking it to the air not only cuts down on the number of people needed but also on a lot of the risks. When car transports are laid out, each leg is usually about an hour of drive time each way for the volunteer. So you can imagine how many legs are needed for some of the longer transports! And how many 'hand-offs' are required. At each hand-off you always run the risk of something happening and the dog escaping.  Plus, sometimes you have to arrange overnights and then the transports can span days. Having the option of flying makes even just the thought of arranging a transpor easier :).

I've been following Pilots N Paws since Debi Boies (co-founder) first mentioned it on a Doberman Rescue chat list several years ago. The organization was an amazing idea and the actual follow through and start-up has been impressive to watch. This book is a great testament to the dedicated volunteers that give so freely of their time and resources to help the animals who have no voice of their own.

This books tells it all - the emotional bonds, the love and support of all involved, and of course the true treasures - the dogs and their journeys. Each animal's story is short, well written, and contains inspiring photos of the animals and their heroes. The route maps included on each story opener were my favorite feature. I got wrapped up into each story and couldn't put the book down. When it ended I wanted more :). It really is a 'must read' and showcases how one person really can make a difference.

Also, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book are donated to the Pilots N Paws organization. It always helps to give back so they can keep helping!

The book is available via Amazon and all major book stores.

For More Information

Patrick Reagan's Website
Book Promo on Youtube
Pilots N Paws Organization

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