Hundreds Of Dogs Are Destined For Death Until Veteran Bought A Plane To Save Them

After passing an airport every day on his commute, Army veteran Paul Steklenski finally decided in 2013 that he would take a shot at learning how to fly a plane. “When I first started flying there were times when I wanted to quit because I didn’t think I could do it, but I kept going back. Once I became certified I thought, ‘What am I going to do now?’” he told New York Post. “A lot of pilots like to fly to restaurants or nice places and that is great, but for me I had to have a different reason to go in the air.”

That year he also rescued his dog, Tessa, who was driven in a van to his home in Pennsylvania from a shelter in Tennessee.

That’s when he got a brilliant idea to combine his two new passions: flying and rescuing dogs.

Steklenski decided that he would drop $70,000 on a plane, rip out the seats, replace them with crates, fly to kill shelters, take all the pets on death row, and deliver them to no-kill shelters up north where they have a better chance of being adopted.

“The idea is to take them from a kill environment to a no-kill environment,” Steklenski told TODAY. “Not everything works out all the time, but (the shelters) pledge to protect them and make sure they’re going to a good home.”

In May 2015, Flying Fur Animal Rescue was born and has since saved the lives of more than 740 cats and dogs.

“It’s all about efficiency. You couldn’t do this with a van, you’d be driving five hours in one direction,” Steklenski said. “It’s the only reason I fly … It’s a skill I have, and the airplane is a tool.”

Steklenski will pick a day out of the month and fly to a shelter and fit up to 23 animals in his plane to take them to safety.

“Once the engine starts up they fall asleep or will stay awake and look out of the windows,” he tells the New York Post. “It’s always very quiet. I have never had an issue. I have a feeling they know better things are going to happen for them.”

Though the funds aren’t always easy to come by, Steklenski said he will continue his animal rescue missions for as long as he can afford it.



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