Flying Tails: Volunteer goes extra mile to help move service dogs

Flying Tails

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Many animal care and rescue organizations simply wouldn’t exist if not for the dedicated help of volunteers.

Tonight’s Flying Tails is a story of a volunteer who’s gone the extra mile and then some.

He bought a plane to help move service dogs around the country.

David Tuckerman is topping off the fuel tanks on his new plane. It’s a Piper M-350, a pressurized, high-performance single-engine capable of flying about 1,500 miles non-stop at more than 240 miles an hour.

Priced at over a million dollars, it’s not for everyone.

It’s the kind of plane used more often in regional travel, for business, weekend getaways, and puppies?

“This is absolutely the first time I’m aware that a breeder/caretaker has stepped up their support and piloted a plane to take their puppies to their puppy raisers. It’s incredible,” Michelle Williams, with Canine Companions, said. 

David says he bought the plane to get to his second home in the Pacific Northwest and with this idea in mind, to carry this precious cargo, puppies that are about to be trained to eventually become service dogs for Canine Companions.

These five squishy fur balls need to get to Arizona for the first step in their training program.

It just so happens two of them were raised by David and his husband Kenny.

“Normally we turn them into canine companions and they ship them off to puppy raisers. This is a special opportunity for us to personally deliver the puppies that we raised,” David said. 

For the first time, David helped load his own puppies, Ravi and Renzo, plus three others for the flight to the Phoenix area.

Aside from a stiff wind, the conditions are ideal.

Canine Companions says it hopes it’s the first of many such trips with David and his new plane.

“We’ll have to have to ask David how many flights he’s going to do for us but absolutely, it’s wonderful to have more pilots on board and especially wonderful to have someone who’s so engaged with our organization and in our Canine Companions community who’s really stepped up their support and bought a plane to transport these puppies,” Williams said. 

The mission was a success.

David and the pups arrived safely at the Buckeye, Arizona airport.

The puppies are on their way to becoming service animals and David is no doubt considering his next flight.

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