Army veteran Paul Steklenski loves dogs, and he was heartbroken when he realized how many dogs are euthanized each year simply because shelters don’t have space for them. Steklenski desperately wanted to help these animals, and he knew just the way to do it.
In 2015, Steklenski decided to start Flying Fur Animal Rescue.
Steklenski got the idea for Flying Fur Animal Rescue after adopting his own dog, Tessa.
Tessa had to go on a perilous journey to get to Steklenski that involved being passed from volunteer to volunteer. Steklenski wanted to make it much easier for rescue organizations to receive dogs, and that’s when he came up with the idea of flying them out of high-kill shelters.
Steklenski had a pilot’s license, but he didn’t have a plane. And so, the determined man spent $70,000 and bought “Flying Fur One.”
Steklenski lives in Pennsylvania, and he mostly works with shelters and organizations on the East Coast. He typically flies twice per month, and on average, he takes about eight to twelve animals on each rescue flight. Usually, Steklenski will crate the pups for their safety. But sometimes, on quieter flights, Steklenski will let the dogs out of their crate. The curious dogs love watching what Steklenski is doing!
Since he first started in 2015, Steklenski estimates that he’s saved over 900 dogs from being euthanized. These dogs all went to great rescue organizations, and they then went on to wonderful fur-ever homes.
Steklenski shares many of the dogs’ stories on Flying Fur Animal Rescue’s Facebook page, including the touching story of a little puppy named Maximus. The poor pup was used as a bait dog, and when rescuers found him, he had over 50 bite wounds on his body. His leg was also badly damaged, and it ultimately had to be amputated.
“When we first loaded him at our pickup airport in southern NJ, it was difficult to see the full extent of his injuries. We were told he was a medical transport, and through his crate door it was difficult to see all of the damage. It wasn’t until we met his rescue outside of NY that it all became apparent,” Steklenski wrote on Facebook. “I don’t know how to describe the feeling when I opened his crate door to let him out, only to see this. I didn’t even know where or how to try to hold him, it was so very difficult to take everything in. This little guy broke my heart.”
Thanks to Steklenski’s help, Maximus went to rescue group Rescue Dogs Rock NYC, and he’s now gone to his forever home.
Steklenski also shared the story of a rescue of a tiny puppy named Billy who sang to Steklenski while he flew. This little puppy was so excited to be up in the air, and he was so happy to be free!
BILLY, who might just have been one of the smallest pups we had on board.Throughout the flight he would sing to me the…
Steklenski’s rescue organization has saved countless innocent dogs like Maximus and Billy from being euthanized, and he’s helped these cute dogs find great homes. If you’d like to help Steklenski on his mission to save dogs from high-kill shelters, consider donating to his organization.
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h/t: Inspire More