Local News

Triangle couple helps fly rescue dogs to forever homes

Posted December 22, 2015 5:27 p.m. EST
Updated December 22, 2015 7:39 p.m. EST

— There are animals across the country in need of new homes, but at times, the families ready to step in and save a life are in a different state.

The process of transporting animals can be timely and expensive, but thanks to Pilot and Paws, rescued pets are plane hopping to find their forever homes. The nonprofit connects rescued pets and pet shelters with pilots who donate their time, planes and fuel.

Steve and Pam Rhode started offering free flights to help dogs in the spring, and Bentley, a 2-year-old Labrador mix, was their latest rescue. The dog hitched a ride to Pennsylvania this week.

Pam Rhode said Bentley was too scared to get out of the car and onto the plane, so she had to carry the 60-pound pup.

"We have a lot of dogs that as soon as you start up the plane they jump, but if you are there and can tell them it's OK, they will settle down and go to sleep," she said.

To raise awareness about the need for more pilots and homes for the rescue dogs, the Rhode family founded Pilot.dog, and they film all of their flights to tell the story of each dog.

"The more awareness we can have out there, the more people that might consider a rescue dog," Pam Rhode said.

Bentley's story took a brief pause in Cape Fear, where another rescue pilot will make the final trip to Pennsylvania.

"We stay in touch with all of the dogs we fly," Steve Rhode said.

The Rhodes have been able to save more than 40 dogs since May. They also accept volunteers to help cuddle the dogs during the flights.