It was a beautiful morning in Long Beach, CA… a perfect sunrise shining light on a wonderful thing happening quietly on the ramp at Global Exec Aviation. Captain Ramon, Second Officer Dan and Orange Dog Founder, Jan Folk had plenty to smile about as they met each of the lucky 60 dogs they would be taking to the Edmonton Humane Society. The Edmonton Humane Society is a fabulous facility that is a no-kill shelter in Canada that has a shortage of small dogs, Jan discovered. The shelters in southern California where she lives were just overflowing with them and they were being destroyed on a regular basis. Jan learned about a great gal with Westjet, Lori, who was quietly taking a few dogs at a time up to Canada to friends who would adopt them and helping as best she could. Jan knew she had the capacity to step it up a notch and so she did. This was her 5th Freedom Flight where she loaded 60 shelter pups on to a private jet so they wouldn’t be in cargo and flew them up to loving waiting arms. I offered the services of Sit ‘n Stay Global’s in-flight staff to assist and was honored that she accepted. I was lucky enough to get to experience the joy of giving life to these beautiful babies. I kind of thought of it as a “joy ride” if you will!!
You might think that a flight like this would be totally chaotic and crazy, but it was not. It was as if these little guys knew a good thing was happening and a certain calm descended over the cabin. I have worked many crazier flights to New York on flights full of humans most certainly! A few of them had a story to tell, but like humans, once you listened to their story they settled down and took a nap and just enjoyed the ride…
Upon landing we were greeted with complete joy and celebration. I learned that there was actually a waiting list for each dog and that folks would be camping out at the Edmonton Humane Society on the eve of the morning they went up for adoption! I toured the facility later that day and it resembled nothing I had ever seen in the US. Soft music played everywhere, there were soft beds and fountains and open areas and an abundance of volunteers taking dogs out for walks. Cats sleeping on fleece blankets on elaborate “cat trees” rather than in cages. Play rooms and organized play time… what a concept. I toured with a delightful new friend, Jessica, from Darford Pet Food Co. who has a very cool program called “Plus One” where they put a wrapped meal inside every treat or food box that you can donate right in the store where you purchase it. Local shelters then pick up the donated food and feed the pets waiting for a home. Simple, easy and so desperately needed! I tell you, I was just so humbled on this trip by the immense good I saw happening out there by folks like you and me who are just taking what they do and what they have and using it to help those who can’t help themselves.
So next time you look up and see one of those beautiful private jets flying overhead and you wonder if it’s some fancy person doing something important… Realize it indeed might be something very important happening inside that jet. It might be a real JOY RIDE in the works! If you would like to help support the next Freedom Flight in some small way, go to the Orange Dog website, they have a great store with eco-friendly products you will enjoy owning. All of the proceeds from sales support this terrific cause. A little bit of you will be on the next flight. Check out more pics there of the real stars of the show!!