This year, the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA) helped to transport 25 sick, injured or homeless animals to Toronto. By sponsoring Pilots N Paws Canada and waiving landing fees for its volunteer pilots, BBTCA helped these animals find their second chance at a happy and healthy life.
“Pilots N Paws Canada brings together the skills of a community of volunteers to provide free air transportation to Canadian animal rescues and shelters that need help getting abused, abandoned and injured animals to new beginnings within Canada,” said Pilots n Paws Canada Founder Gini Green.
“The Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is proud to work with Pilots N Paws Canada,” said Executive Vice President of Toronto Port Authority and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Gene Cabral. “For many of us, animals are family members and hold a special place in our hearts, and we are honoured to play a role helping these animals get a second chance at living happy and healthy lives.”
This past summer, one dog named Kiss, who was transferred through Pilots N Paws from Québec to Toronto, won over the hearts of volunteers and rescue workers. Kiss, a female boxer mix, was a stray who was brought to a shelter in Québec. The shelter was overcrowded, so staff reached out to Johanne Tassé, Founder of Companion Animal Adoption Centres of Québec (CAACQ), an organization that works to find solutions when shelters or rescues face overcrowding.
It’s unknown how Kiss came to be a stray, but Johanne noticed her good nature right away and named her accordingly, “The white boxer started to kiss everybody in sight. My husband was holding her leash, when he bent down she gave him a big kiss. She also tried to reach up and kiss me, so that is when I decided to call her ‘Kiss.’”
Johanne set out to find a home for Kiss and many other dogs that needed to find new homes. CAACQ often works with the Toronto Humane Society (THS), so Johanne proposed a transfer and the THS agreed to take them in. The challenge was finding a way to transport the dogs from Québec to Toronto. This is where Pilots N Paws Canada and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport came in.
Jean-Sebastien Dominique is one of the volunteer pilots for Pilots N Paws Canada. In August 2012, Jean-Sebastien spotted an ad for the charity and signed up as a volunteer. Since then he has flown more than 9,000 km for Pilots N Paws Canada.
“This is definitely the most rewarding flight you can do. Even if it is just a one-time deal, it is all it takes to make a difference,” says Jean-Sebastien. “One flight can give a new life to an animal that was previously sentenced to death. Pilots fly all the time: for training, to get from point A to point B, or even just for fun. Volunteering gives a real purpose to the flight; you make the animals and their adoptive family happier than they probably have ever been before. It is as if the animals know they are leaving for a better life. They are eager to get on board, sleep through the entire flight, and jump in the arms of their handler at the destination. Seeing them alive and happy and knowing it will only get better for them is what keeps me going.”
Kiss was flown to Toronto in a plane owned by Diane Proulx, the co-owner of Eid Air Flight school. Diane loans planes from her pilot training school in Québec to pilots who will volunteer to fly operations for Pilots and Paws Canada.
Not long after she arrived at the Toronto Humane Society, Kiss was given her second chance and adopted by her new family, where she is currently living happily ever after.
To learn more about Pilots N Paws Canada, and how you can help, visit www.pilotsnpawscanada.com
Kiss gets ready to fly to her new home in Toronto. She landed at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport which has partnered with Pilots N Paws Canada to transport abandoned and abused animals to new homes.
Kiss stays true to her name and plants a wet one on Diane Proulx, co-owner of Eid Air flight school, who donated her plane to get Kiss to her new home.