Pilots N Paws Rescue Dogs From Overcrowded Shelters - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Pilots N Paws Rescue Dogs From Overcrowded Shelters

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You can look in their eyes, but you'll never truly know their past. Tonight, FOX 29 brings you a story that's rarely told, about the ones that are most loyal in our life.

On any given day, over 1,800 planes cross through Philadelphia's airspace, making this one of the busiest areas in the United States. And mixed in the traffic above, are pilots flying under radar, giving a new meaning to the familiar phrase, "friendly skies."

"We need to get going early, before it gets too hot," he says.

He's a man on a mission, and he does something very special for his semi-retirement. Scott Messinger starts his morning at the air field, two to three times a week. He prepares to pick up precious cargo.

"It beats working for a living," he says. "We've got this down to a science. We took the back seats out. This is the permanent arrangement. It's now pretty much a flying… zoo," he describes.

Make that two flying zoos today. Scott's rescue partner, Jeff Myers is flying the chase plane.

"It's been about three years now, and we've had just about it all happen to us. I think, of course you never know. Today's always a new day," he says.

470 miles to go, and we're off to West Virginia. It's a little bumpy on the way up, but the skies are nice and clear at about 9000 feet. You see beautiful clouds below.

Two and half hours later, we meet our passengers and the people who fell in love with them. For the foster families, it's the toughest part of their job.

"Everybody here's got a story. We got a lot of teary eyes around here," says Janet.

"Actually I'm doing pretty good, today," says Sophie, with tears in her eyes.

Though they would love to keep their foster pets, but keeping their little faces would mean they couldn't save more.

"He seems like he's been with us much longer. He's a doll and I'm so happy, this is the first time we fostered and it's hard, but it's worth it," says a foster.

The same goes for Missy Bossie, who gave Gunner a second chance.

"He's a really good dog. And you should have seen him the first week I got him. He just was really sick and coughing. They didn't think he would live," says Bossie. "I'm really gonna miss him. He's been my running partner."

It's a bittersweet goodbye, but more dogs like these need their help.

Two planes, 11 dogs, and this Pilots N Paws rescue is ready for takeoff. Over the mountains, back in the air and through the clouds, not a peep from the pups in our plane.

And by mid-afternoon, we're back where we started, with a new set of faces to greet from the over-populated, high-kill shelters of West Virginia. This crew will have much better luck finding a shelter in the new place. They still have one more stop before their final destinations.

The receiving fosters will bring them home, and even if only for a short time, the dogs will have a new place to call home.

"People at work think I'm horrible for giving my children puppies and taking them away two weeks later," says a foster.

But they have to keep the mission in mind.

"If we adopt one, we help one, but if we foster, we can help so many," says another foster.

And three years into Scott's mission, he's already helped 3000 dogs.

"There's so many places where one person can make a difference. And it was just something that was meant to be. So my feeling is that's why I learned how to fly," says Scott.

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