For many people, owning a plane is truly considered a luxury item. A small airplane is a major investment and there are specific, specialized skills required to ensure it is flown safely and correctly. For a man named Paul Steklenski, a veteran of the United States Army, owning and flying a plane has a very important meaning in his life. He recently learned how to fly and after he earned his pilot’s license, he bought himself a plane. Then, he took his plane all over the country to rescue dogs.
Steklenski, who is forty five years old, was a tank operator for the US Army. After retiring from military service he knew that he wanted to do everything he could to adopt and rescue homeless animals in need. He first considered making a drive by car to kill shelters so that he could transport dogs on the euthanasia list and help to find them new homes. But he realized there was an easier and more effective way to get to his goal: he needed to buy a plane. So, Steklenski invested $70,000 in an aircraft that he would use to transport dogs from shelters to safety.
Though he began flying years ago as a hobby, he took the extra steps of securing his pilot’s license once he knew he wanted to rescue dogs in this way. So, he started an animal rescue foundation named Flying Fur Animal Rescue and got to work. He has now saved over 740 dogs that have been neglected or abused and saved them from euthanasia. Steklenski credits his plane for helping him save such a large number of animals from across the country and transporting them to foster homes and no kill shelters.
Steklenski works full-time in IT and takes two days off each month to pick up dogs and can fit 23 in his aircraft during one trip. It’s a major commitment and expense, but it’s worth it to save the lives of all those dogs!