In the interview below, Jet Blue pilot, Shannon Pereira, shares how she combined her on-the-go lifestyle with her passion for animals and began dedicating her time to rescuing and transporting dogs out of high-kill shelters.
In addition to taking the time to chat, Shannon went deeper into her story in the contributed post below:
“I never realized my passion for animals until I had my own dog. Growing up with a family dog that is shared by four people, you don’t really get the same bond as you do when you are the sole provider for the dog. Once I realized the connection I had with my little guy I knew I wanted to help all of his less fortunate friends in the world that didn’t have the life he did.
Being an airline pilot I knew I wasn’t going to be able to foster or run my own rescue right away as I hoped so I started researching local rescues and other avenues to help the dogs in need. I found out there was a big need for volunteers to get the dogs from the shelters to the proper rescue.
Without coordinated transportation and short term fostering along the way some of these dogs would be euthanized before having the opportunity to make it to their rescue. That’s when I knew this was my perfect fit for helping. I’m on the road anyways, I might as well take a furry friend with me!
The first company I came across was Pilot-N-Paws. They consist of volunteers who either fly their own planes, drive their own car, or volunteer to be a flight companion for a pet traveling commercially. Since I don’t own my own plane I started volunteering for short transportation drives in my own car making it a fun road trip for myself and my furry friend.
It was always a blast getting to watch them sniff in the fresh air or watch the new sights go by as they headed to their foster or forever home. Sadly there are dogs all over the world that need help and sometimes multiple flights are the only way for them to make it the distance to their rescue.
I’ve been lucky enough to work as an airline pilot where I can utilize my flight benefits to help assist with their transportation as I travel to and from work. Outside of volunteering for transportation trips, I also got involved with a local rescue back in my hometown city of Pittsburgh called Furkid.
Furkid is a foster based nonprofit organization that typically saves the worst case death row dogs from being euthanized and provides them with the medical attention they need to make a full and healthy recovery where they are fostered until they find their forever home.
When I am back home, I have stopped by with family to see the dogs and provided supplies such as food, toys and clothing. I’ve also been able to help pick up some of the dogs from their medical appointments and bring them back to their foster homes for recovery.
Furkid is connected with rescues in Puerto Rico, Grenada and Memphis where they help save animals from those regions as well and transport them to Pittsburgh. When I’m not in the area I try to help coordinate those flights to Pitt where not just myself but coworkers have helped and volunteered to fly down and pick up the dogs.
It’s been a very rewarding journey thus far and I can’t wait to continue it. I never knew how much love an animal can show you until you help save its life.”
– Shannon Pereira
Want to buy Shannon an airplane to start her own rescue?
Follow her on Instagram @pilotshanelly and shoot her message 🙂