Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pilots and Paws!

Contributed by a CP Volunteer

Vinny and his pilot

Question: does Col. Potter ever use Pilots and Paws for Transports?

Yes, a member of the Transports team, is our contact person with them. She got us connected, and we actually used them when I had a puppy here, Vinny, that needed to get to his foster-to-adopt home in TX. The foster to adopt home drove up to friend's house in Arkansas and spent the night, and a pilot in Sullivan flew him to AR to meet them. There was another dog we also used them with out east, but I don't remember who it was as I wasn't involved with it.

It's hard to coordinate them into a leg of a transport for a number of reasons. Contact time is a factor - Intakes e-mails Transports, Transports searches for pilots in the area and then e-mails them (most people don't read their e-mail multiple times daily like CRM people do), they e-mail back with more info on where they could fly to, then we look for people that could pick up in that area and contact them. Conversing back and forth like that in search for a destination that will work for them/us can take a week in itself - it's a lot of work putting the pieces together using another group. They usually need more notice than what we can give them to get it arranged (we usually can give only a week's notice for the coming weekend, and many times they've got full schedules for weeks). We don't want a dog sitting in boarding for an extra week or two. Then if the weather is bad (last minute notice for us), they can't fly so we have a hole in the transport to scramble to fill. They also can't really give a time frame of how long the flight will take because it depends on the wind and such, so we have trouble setting up the person at the other end as we don't want them sitting at an airport for hours before driving the next leg of the transport. Most fly small planes and can only go about 2.5-3 hours before they need to stop for gas. Most small planes aren't heated/cooled, so you can't fly unless temps are right, for both the comfort of the dog and the humans.

So while they could do a distance in a much shorter time than driving it, we lose that benefit in the lag time involved of the unknowns and the limits to the airports they can use. It would be super if it was a one leg/flight move for a dog, but it usually doesn't work that way. I think Vinny's pilot said he flies about 100 MPH if I remember right, in his little plane.

So while it's a great program, all the factors have to be in the right place, and it just hasn't "fit" many times into getting CP kids moved.

Hope that makes sense.

If you would like to volunteer to help transport a cairn to its foster home, please click here. No distance is too short and we have needs all over the country!

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