May 15, 2020

Puppies destined for career placement through non-profit Canine Companions for Independence found themselves subject to ever-increasing airline schedule disruptions, due to the COVID-19 pandemic – so business aviation and volunteer pilots stepped in to help.

Canine Companions provides free assistance dogs to people with disabilities. Its puppies typically fly on commercial airlines, but when COVID-19 cancelled or rescheduled a large percentage of U.S. airline flights, volunteers came to the rescue.

On May 12, puppies awaited transport by volunteer pilots at California’s Charles M. Schultz-Sonoma County Airport’s Sonoma Jet Center.

Josh Hochberg, president of Sonoma Jet Center, flew his Cessna 340 to take dogs to new volunteer trainers’ homes in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA, while other volunteers have delivered puppies to Boise, ID, Spokane, WA and more locations. While ensuring social distancing and other CDC guidelines are met, Canine Companions is still able to deliver their puppies to their puppy raisers to care for them and begin their important training.

While the pups are no doubt adorable in their tiny yellow Canine Companions capes, the mission is an important one: more than 400 people are still waiting to be placed with a trained assistance dog.

“At times like these, it is wonderful to see the goodness and kindness in people who want to help however they can,” Canine Companions CEO Paige Mazzoni.

Learn more about Canine Companions for Independence.