Paul Steklenski, a network engineer and Army veteran from Pennsylvania, learned to fly and bought his own plane in order to save hundreds of animals from slaughterhouses. He paid $70,000 for an airplane and loaded it with dog kennels before flying them to safety.
Paul took up flying as a hobby in 2013, and while training for his pilot’s license, he decided to expand his family with a dog. Both of these occurrences looked to be unrelated at the time.
He stumbled onto an incredible community of animal lovers committed to rescuing abandoned creatures from shelters. Tessa, his new family member, was introduced to him through this network, which he had never heard of before.
Paul was compelled to aid animals after getting Tessa from a rescue organization.
Paul, who talked with The Dodo, said that
“First, we went to pet stores, then to shelters, and we started to see the disparities.” Tessa was given up for adoption in August of 2013. That was the pivotal moment in my life. As a result, everything about me changed.”
Paul had finished flight school and had his pilot’s license, and he intended to utilize it. Instead of doing what a lot of other pilots do, I’d use it to help others.
“, he said.
“When I first started flying, I wanted to give up because I didn’t think I could do it, but I kept going back.” ‘I’m not sure what I’m going to do now.’ After I earned my certification, I began to wonder. Many pilots like flying to fantastic restaurants or places, which is terrific, but I wanted fresh reasons to fly.”
Initially, Paul contemplated visiting high-kill shelters and transporting the animals to help them find new homes. He realized, however, that by transferring dozens of abandoned animals in a different way, he might provide them with new lives.
“, Paul stated.
“Seeing the animals in the shelter was upsetting.” It was horrible to think that so many animals were being slaughtered because they were confined to one place. The further south you travel, the worse the pet overpopulation problem becomes. It’s distressing. I realized I could make a difference by going down there, picking them up, and moving them to other shelters.”
That’s how Paul became engaged with Pilots N Paws, a non-profit that matches volunteer pilots with animal rescue groups in need of transportation.
Despite this, Paul thought that if he began making connections on his own, he would be able to save more animals. That’s why, according to the organization’s website, he started Flying Fur Animal Rescue in May, which has saved over 1,657 animals since then.