Pilot flies terminal shelter dog 400 miles to spend her last days with a loving family.
She was only given a few weeks to live, so the pilot flew her 400 miles away to her adoptive family so that her last weeks would be spent with them.
In a shelter in North Carolina, an old dog named Ashlyn wasn’t doing well. She had sarcomas, which were cancerous tumors beneath her skin, and had lost a lot of weight. But she still had time to strike it rich.
Ashlyn only needed a way to get there when the New England Humane Society (NEHS) found a place where she could spend her final weeks. Paul Steklenski, the organization’s founder, decided to fly her up in his aircraft.
Ashlyn was seated next to Steklenski as he piloted the aircraft, and as he considered the possibility that this would be her final flight, he started to feel depressed.
Steklenski typically transports between 15 and 30 dogs per month, but the older dogs in particular make him feel sentimental. He is used to taking needy puppies to rescues so they can find loving homes. According to Steklenski, “they are the ones where you really focus on what they’re going through.”
The last hour of the two-hour trip made Ashlyn anxious. Steklenski said, “At first she seemed a bit distant. Then she would begin to relax and approach.
By giving her dog biscuits, he undoubtedly helped her feel better. Then, he continued, “She gave me one paw, then the other.”
She then put her head on my lap, according to Steklenski. “I greatly value that. That is all that is important. That in and of itself is the prize.”
In 2013, Steklenski made the decision to start flying as a hobby and at the same time, he also got a puppy. These things weren’t connected at the time, but soon after they became inextricably linked.
Steklenski said to The Dodo last year, “We went to pet stores, then to shelters, and we started to realize the difference. He made the decision to make use of his new pastime when he learned how many needy animals there are in shelters.
Without him, Ashlyn would not be where she is now. Everyone thought they were taking her to the hospital, but after seeing how well she is doing, the rescuers now think she may have longer time than they thought.
Tracy Lander, who has three dogs of her own and has been fostering dogs for the NEHS for two years, told The Dodo, “Her condition crushed me when I took her up from the airport.” “Her ideal weight is between 65 and 70 pounds, and she had shed 39 pounds. When I took off the sweater she was wearing when she approached me, I could see every rib.”
To assist Ashlyn in gaining weight, Lander started feeding her three times each day. She also gave her vitamins to help with her many health problems, which included malignancies and skin conditions brought on by chemical burns.
Ashlyn underwent progressive alteration. She’s going out more now, Lander said. She loves me and is an excellent eater.
Ashlyn has even started to pet Angel, a different dog that belongs to Lander. Lander’s boxer-mix, Xander, has also shown an interest in speaking with Ashlyn. He’ll just approach Ashlyn and begin licking her, Lander said. He thinks he can use his mouth to heal everyone.
Nobody knew how long Ashlyn would stay with the Landers after she moved in with them in January. Now that it’s April, they no longer think of her as the spook dog but as someone who teaches them to appreciate each and every day and live in the now, which is a beautiful lesson to learn.
She is aware of being loved, Lander continued. No matter what occurs, she is aware of love.
When Ashlyn stepped onto Steklenski’s jet, nobody anticipated that she would make such noteworthy leaps. Steklenski does what he does because she transformed from a worn-out shelter dog to a beloved member of a family.
Steklenski commented, “I never imagined finding something so amazing, so satisfying that it would eclipse nearly everything else in my life.