Co-founder of Pilots N Paws, Debi Boies says she’s always had a deep connection with animals.”I feel strongly that it is our responsibility, as humans, to be the guardians for animals others have abandoned, abused, or simply can no longer care for,” she says. “If we don’t, then who will?” Debi is a retired nurse, horse breeder and long-time rescuer. Before Pilots N Paws, Debi was one of the founding members of Doberman Assistance Network, Inc, a national Doberman rescue group.
Pilots N Paws is a 501c3 charitable organization who through the help of general aviation volunteer pilots, transport rescue animals by air. The mission of Pilots N Paws is to provide a user-friendly website communication venue between those that rescue, shelter, and foster animals and pilots and plane owners, willing to assist with the transportation of these animals. It launched in February 2008 after Boies’ Doberman pinscher had died.
She wanted her next dog to be a rescue. One issue that came up was adopting a dog from afar. Among animal groups there are calls for transporting pets to new homes. These “road warriors,” as Boies calls them, man a route with volunteers donating time and wheels to get an animal home. Boies was familiar with these pet caravans, and with the troubles they face – whether it’s an antsy animal or if a car breaks down – when a pilot friend, Jon Wehrenberg, suggested flying the new dog home. “Pilots look for reasons to fly,” he told her, and as a result, Pilots N Paws was born.
And while Boies lives in South Carolina, her organization is national, with pilots from all over – donating time and resources for a good cause. “It’s almost as if they understand that this is their chance for life,” Boies says. Pilots N Paws continues to make a difference in the lives of innocent animals. We have flown thousands of rescue animals, military working dogs, service dogs, and dogs soldiers have adopted from war zones to safe havens provided by rescues and families.
Volunteer pilots have worked together and flown animals outside the U.S. We have also assisted with dogs who have been adopted by our soldiers overseas in Afghanistan after they fly to the U.S. on commercial airlines. We then pick up the final leg of the transport and fly them to the soldier’s home. This is extremely rewarding!! Honors and Awards: Broadway Barks Award/Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore, The American Dog Magazines 1st Annual Humanitarian Award, The Augusta Humane Society’s Casie Ritchhart Memorial Award, Co-Founder Debi Boies listed as one of the “25 top Pet People of 2010” at petside.com and most recently the Humane Society Naples Animaltarian Award.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? ** A world where kindness abounds.