June 4, 2016 | by Lisa Mattson

Rescue dogs and airplanes are two of John Jordan’s favorite things. (He wrote about these passions in our magazine.) So, when I showed him a story in Sunset magazine about Wings of Rescue—a non-profit organization that sends volunteer pilots on missions to transport animals from overpopulated shelters to cities in need of adoption-ready pets—he said, “We have to do this.”

Our first rescue mission was postponed twice (weather and mechanical issues), but we finally took flight in John’s TBM 900 with 18 dogs on March 16, 2016. I tagged along and documented the entire morning, from Santa Rosa to Livermore, California, and then to Boise, Idaho, to meet volunteers from the Idaho Humane Society. Watch John describe the experience in this video. You won’t believe what happened five minutes into the second leg of the flight! Spoiler alert: It involves a pit bull.

Since its inception, Wings of Rescue has given 16,000 pets their honorary “wings,” transporting them to loving homes. It was founded by two pilots, so they understand the logistics and personally help coordinate all the missions. Their goal is to rescue 10,000 dogs and cats this year. Learn more about Wings of Rescue on their website. There are convenient links there to all their social media channels, so we encourage you to follow them too. They do a great job of sharing stories and photos from volunteer pilots’ missions.

Adopt, don’t shop.