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Pilots N Paws Flies to the Rescue for Animals in Need

April 27, 2016

FedEx pilot Jeff Kilmer and co-pilot Aubrey Triplett prepare to fly a rescue mission for Pilots N Paws

FedEx pilot Jeff Kilmer and co-pilot Aubrey Triplett prepare to fly a rescue mission for Pilots N Paws

When he’s not working as a 767 captain for FedEx, Jeff Kilmer enjoys flying his Beechcraft Bonanza, an aircraft he shares with three other current and retired FedEx crew members and an Air Force pilot.

Kilmer likes to get the Bonanza in the air whenever he can, but he prefers it to be for something other than a $100 hamburger.

“A $100 hamburger is something you get when you take a short flight, eat at an airport restaurant and return home,” Kilmer said. “The cost in fuel alone can easily exceed $100.”

One day while working at FedEx, he heard about Pilots N Paws, a non-profit organization that offers those who rescue, shelter or foster animals an opportunity to connect with volunteer pilots like Kilmer who are willing to assist with the transportation of those animals.

“I was in the crew room in Memphis one time, and people were talking about Pilots N Paws,” Kilmer said. “I looked it up, found the bulletin board and said ‘Hey, I like to fly my airplane, and I like dogs, I like cats and animals. This is a chance to have fun in the airplane and do some good with it.”

Kilmer and his wife have a rescue dog of their own, a Weimaraner named Sara. His passion for animals and his love of aviation inspired him to get involved in rescue flights for Pilots N Paws.

Between four and six million animals are euthanized each year, according to Pilots N Paws executive director Kate Quinn. Through Pilots N Paws, more than 5,000 volunteer pilots like Kilmer have flown more than 100,000 rescue animals to new homes and new lives since the organization began in 2008.

AryaQuinn explained that supply and demand for rescue animals is often times a geographical issue.

“Certain areas of the country have a higher supply of adoptable animals, while other regions have a higher number of people looking to adopt,” Quinn said. “Pilots N Paws seeks to bridge that gap.”

Kilmer has flown many missions for Pilots N Paws over the years. He recently helped transport Arya, a Pitt Bull/Terrier mix, from Memphis, Tenn. to a foster home in Ann Arbor, Mich. Through a rescue organization called Paws New England, Arya will be taught how to live in a home and interact with other dogs before being placed up for adoption to a forever home.

Check out the video to watch Arya’s journey with Pilots N Paws and to find out how you can get involved.


    Mary Harvey Gurley says:

    Great story about our crewmember Jeff Kilmer and Pilots N Paws. Thank you.

    Davina Cole says:

    So very sad to know that such a large number of animals never get to a forever home. So very happy to know that there are wonderful people like Jeff and Pilots N Paws making a difference. Having a much loved rescue dog myself, I understand how vital transportation is to getting dogs to the best place for care and adoption. Thank you for this inspiring story.

    Michelle Viglietti says:

    Way to go Jeff and Aubrey-your efforts sure make a difference for animals in need. I have fostered for a New England rescue group several times and we could not accomplish our mission without the support of the transportation volunteers. Thanks for all you do.

    Pat Anderson says:

    We have been fostering dogs for 12.5 years now and have received some of the dogs to foster that Paws and Pilots have flown here. It is a great help to save as many animals as possible. Thanks for the help to save the dogs.

    Debi Boies says:

    Jeff, thank you for volunteering with Pilots N Paws and for truly making a difference in the lives of not just animals, but people too! Great job Fed-Ex in recognizing an employee who deserves to be acknowledged. Thank you all!

    Joni Dixon says:

    I am a flight attendant for a major airline, and have flown several rescue animals over the years. But it cannot compare to what you guys do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

    Sandra says:

    You guys do an amazing job helping the animals. May God Bless you in many ways !!

    Summer Dombrowski says:

    These are the stories that give me hope that things are changing and one sweet animal at a time we are changing the world. Thank you for all you do!

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