Alliance Q&A with Tabitha Stephens
Tell us a bit about Pilots ’n’ Paws.
Pilots ‘n’ paws is a nonprofit rescue organization comprised of pilots, rescue shelters and people who have a passion for animals. We are dedicated to helping animals find their “forever homes” across the country. Rescues save pets from kill shelters, puppy mills and more, and put these pets up for adoption. Once adopted, they often need volunteers to transport the dog to another city or state, and a pilot or driver willing to go to the destination offers his or her services, and coordinates the travel date and details.
What is your role with this amazing organization?
My boyfriend and I own a four-seater Mooney M20e airplane, and have the ability to fly an animal to its new forever home.
How many pets have you been able to help find forever homes?
Thus far, we’ve only had the opportunity to participate in one forever home flight. There are a few factors that inhibit us from doing it more often; generally, work and weather. It can be a bit bittersweet because there are so many volunteers with this organization — when a new request comes in and is in our location, it gets swooped up very quickly. So, we love that these pets are rescued, but sometimes we miss out on participating because we aren’t as quick to respond as other volunteers.
How do you balance your time between work, volunteering and the rest of your life?
We love to fly — being part of this organization allows us to follow our passion while saving lives. And, we love animals, so this is a no-brainer. A PNP mission generally takes a half-day or so to complete, so there is still time to fit family and relaxation in on the weekends.
How can someone get involved, whether they want to volunteer their time or adopt a pet?
Just go to Pilotsnpaws.org and register. You don’t need to own an airplane — a number of drivers participate as well. And, it’s across the nation, so there is opportunity everywhere.
What else do you do for fun?
I spend time with family and my dog, Coach, and I fly. I’m pretty boring to be quite honest.
What got you started with “Pilots’n’Paws?”
A resident at Icis involved with a dog rescue told us about it when she heard we’d purchased an airplane; at that point, we knew we had to be a part of the organization.
Anything else we should know?
I would love for everyone to “like” and follow PNP on Facebook and social media! Just reading the inspiring stories will warm your heart. They recently published an article about a volunteer who just completed his 1,000th rescue! It’s amazing what these people do.
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