People and Pets
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Pilot Pat Picornell, who
flies out of Melbourne,
Florida, poses with
rescued dogs, inlcuding
her dog Parker (left).
says cats speak
Rescues take flight
ACCORDING TO THE Humane Society, approximately 3 million to 4 million dogs and cats are euth-anized in U.S. animal shelters every year. Pilots N Paws
volunteers are doing their part to eliminate that statistic.
“It’s a lot of amazing volunteers who will go above
and beyond to make something happen,” says Costco
member Kate Quinn, executive director of Pilots N
Paws, based in Landrum, South Carolina.
Pilotsnpaws.org acts as an online meeting place for
those who rescue, shelter or foster animals and volunteer pilots and plane owners willing to assist with the
transportation of animals. Founded in 2008, when
pilot Jon Wehrenberg agreed to help co-founder Debi
Boies by flying a rescued Doberman from Florida to
South Carolina, the nonprofit organization now has
more than 17,000 volunteers, including 5,000 pilots.
Quinn, of Charleston, South Carolina, says pet
overpopulation is high in southern parts of the country and animals are usually flown north, where homes
can be found. Through discussion
boards, volunteers publicly exchange
IT WOULD BE great if our pets
could talk to us. They can; you
just have to know how to listen.
Veterinarian Gary Weitzman, the
president and CEO of the San
Diego Humane Society, already
wrote a book on interpreting dog-speak, and follows up with How
to Speak Cat (nationalgeographic.
com; not available at Costco).
It’s not a question of understanding the meows but of interpreting their actions. For instance,
when a cat flicks its tail, it’s not
like the wag of a dog’s tail.
“Wagging a tail is almost
never happy,” explains Weitz-
man. “Cats generally have their
tail straight up when they’re
approachable. It’s kind of like a
He emphasizes the impor-
tance of a cat’s eyes: “A con-
stricted pupil is a good thing
in a cat; dilated means they
Weitzman cautions against
rubbing a cat’s belly. When asked
why they lie on their backs and
show their bellies to a human, he
says, “It’s a trap!”
The important thing is to
get to know your cat’s behaviors.
“Cats care,” declares Weitzman,
“but on their terms. Everything is
on their terms. But once you learn
that you can be very successful
with them.”— Steve Fisher
COSTCO MEMBER CAROLE Chatlas, of
South Holland, Illinois, submitted a picture of
her box turtle, Goliath. “We’ve had him for about
25 years,” Chatlas tells The Connection. Aside from his
cuteness, what makes Goliath Connection-worthy? “He will
eat only Costco fresh, crunchy and crispy Artisan Romaine
lettuce,” Chatlas says. Great diet, Goliath!—SF
In our digital editions
Click here to watch a video
on Pilots N Paws. (See page
14 for details.)
information about arranging rescue flights, overnight
foster care or shelter. Pilots, who share a love of aviation and animals, have provided free transport for
75,000 animals since Pilots N Paws’ inception.
The organization doesn’t limit the transport to
pets like dogs and cats. They have also flown guinea
pigs, potbellied pigs, donkeys, sea turtles, wildlife,
snakes, service animals, comfort animals and retired
military dogs, which are often adopted by the military
personnel they worked with in the field.
“One might think Pilots N Paws is only saving
the lives of animals, but it’s amazing how many people reach out to us and say this animal saved their
life,” says Quinn. —Christina Guerrero