TYLER, TX (KLTV) - When it comes to rescuing animals, people and pets are willing to travel thousands of miles. A non-profit group called Pilots 'n' Paws are taking animals on the ride of their lives. They transport rescued animals by airplane from one location to another.
"He is an excellent dog," said Patrick Collins, looking at "Odie". "Well mannered on a leash. He knows how to retrieve. He is just a happy guy."
But, just a few weeks ago, Odie wasn't so happy. Collins and his wife found the dog abandoned outside a store.
"They were wet, shivering, and he has come a long way," said Collins. "You could see his ribs."
He rescued the dog, but couldn't afford to keep it. He says he feared a shelter would put Odie to sleep and he couldn't find a home nearby to adopt him. So, Collins turned to a non-profit group called Pilots 'n' Paws that transports animals by air.
"They transport a couple thousand animals back and forth across the country," said Collins. "It's amazing."
"When I found Pilots 'n' Paws, it gives you not only a reason to get up in the air and fly but it also lets you do something that is worthwhile for the dog," said Bryne Berggren, volunteer pilot.
Byrne Berggren is one of the many pilots that volunteers his own money and time. He says the internet makes it possible to find homes for animals states apart.
"It costs about $100 an hour flight time, but whether or not you have a dog on board or not it is going to cost the same," said Berggren.
Odie's first stop was New Orleans, where he will be examined by a vet before heading north.
"There might not be anybody looking for a black lab in the Tyler area, but in this case there might be a home for it up in Massachusetts," said Berggren.
"Hopefully, he will get to a farm or someplace like that," said Collins.
And, he says goodbye is the hardest part.
If you want to find out more about Pilots 'n' Paws, click here.