Puppy Pilots – Episode 1 (pilot episode)


[upbeat music playing] Dan Weecks- Thanks for joining us!I’m Dan,
and this is Niko, and we’re puppy pilots. Now, we don’t rescue puppies for a living;
I’m a private pilot and Niko’s a commercial pilot, and we both donate our time and resources
to bring home whoever needs to be saved. This week on Puppy Pilots we’re flying to
Little Rock, Arkansas to pick up two little pups who were abandoned by an owner who had
sudden medical issues arise. We’ll be flying them to Flagstaff, Arizona
to Mountain Girl Rescue who will find them foster homes, and then their forever homes. [Music plays] Dan- So Niko and I actually met online… Niko- You know, through “mutual friends”. Dan- [laughs] Dan- Look, I’m on your feed and you’re on my feed. Dan- Niko and I were both in a Facebook group
for pilots, we joined, and got to talking in one of the comment threads and realized
“hey, we fly out of the same airport, we’re both into fitness, we definitely should..
go grab a workout sometime and start talking, and see if we can build some flight time together.” Nikolas Karahalios- Dan, my friend Dan, he’s
been doing this puppy rescue thing for quite some time now. Once we got to know each other he kind of
brought it up to me, and I immediately became very interested in it. I finally found a calling through it because,
there’s being a pilot where you’re flying people around and doing all that, but then
there’s that feel good sensation you get just by thinking about saving some puppies which
are on a kill list. So Dan brought it up to me and Immediately
jumped on board and went from there. [phone rings] Dan- Hello? Katie Harris (Mountain Girl Rescue, CEO)-
Hey Dan, this is Katie with Mountain Girl Rescue. Dan- Yeah! How are you? Katie – I’m hanging in there! I’ve been contacted by a gal from Arkansas. It looks like the situation is not so great. Dan- Ok… Katie- …so I’m hoping, maybe if I ask really,
really nicely you and Niko would be willing to fly to Little Rock and pick these guys
up. Dan- Ok. So how many dogs are we talking? Katie- It sounds like there’s two dogs. One I’m being told is a cross-eyed pug, so
I’m not sure what you’re getting into there. The other just looks like a sweet little Shepard
puppy. Probably the sooner the better since the gal
who contacted me isn’t on the ground anymore so I’m not quite sure what’s happening with
the dogs at this point. Dan- Ok sounds good, well I’ll tell you what. I’ll call Niko right now and we’ll go ahead
and get the plane and fly out there tomorrow. Katie – Alright, excellent! I’ll set up a Messenger group. Dan- Alright sound good, thank you. [to camera]
Dan- Looks like we’re going to Little Rock, Arkansas! [music plays] Dan- What’s going on? Niko- What’s up man? Just doing a little flight planning. Niko- Initially, getting into this, I thought
rescuing puppies was as simple as getting an airplane, flying to wherever the puppies
are, grabbing them, and coming home. There’s actually a lot more involved. There’s a lot of legalities and paperwork that go into
this, there’s the cost of the aircraft itself, and then the fuel on top of that. Fuel is not
cheap. Dan- It’s like 25 or 26 hours, in the plane
that we fly, there and back. You’ve got to keep in mind, we’re not going
500 or 600 miles per hour like a commercial airliner does. We’re only going 100-150 miles per hour tops. Niko- My favorite part is the flying aspect
where it’s just the adventure of the entire trip. It’s hard to wrap it down to just one exact
point. Probably flying with the puppies, seeing them
so much more relaxed in the atmosphere, they would just be calm, because I think they felt
calm with us and they knew that they were going to be safe with us. [music plays] Dan- We’re almost in New Mexico…. Niko- Yeah, moving along. Dan- Smooth flying, it’s a great day to rescue
some dogs. Niko- Is there ever not a good day to rescue
some dogs? Dan- That’s a good point. [music plays] Dan [laughing]- Hey Niko, so…. so is that how you’re supposed to fuel? Niko- This is my aviator pose right here. Dan- Right look at that. Niko- It’s how you get your gas for free. Niko- Ay! Dan- So we are in Las Cruces, we’re flight
planning right now trying to figure out a way out of here, and we’re hungry. Niko meal prepped for us and we’re sun cookin’…
what is that, chicken and rice? Niko- Yeah, that real good rice. Dan- Yeah. Niko- Cuz’ it’s uh, crockpotted for 12 hours
with this honey barbecue sauce… it is primo! Dan- Yeah so… this is the life right here. As far as bodybuilding goes, if you have to,
I mean if you’ve got to diet right, you’ve got to meal prep and whatever, flying around
the country doing this is the way to go. Niko- It’s the only way to go really. [intense music plays] Dan- We’re over New Mexico, we’re on a clock for these dogs. These two dogs are going to die if we don’t
get there. We need to get to Texas, and don’t want to
have “get-there-itis”, because that’s what puts you really in dangerous situations. But we’re looking at this weather and there
are all these thunderstorms forming which we can’t fly through. There’s major air traffic… I mean, United, Delta, American Airlines,
diverting all the way around towards Florida, and if we do that, we will not be able to
save these dogs. Niko- You know, we’re kind of monitoring the
weather, and we had to do one last fuel stop and actively monitor the weather because we
weren’t sure if we were actually going to be able to complete this mission. As soon as we were done fueling we were looking
at the radar and looking at what the clouds and the precipitation was doing, and we saw
this small hole, so we gauged it that if we went at a certain air speed in a certain direction
we should intersect that hole in the weather and it kind of worked out perfect. We ended up having this big beautiful rainbow
that almost connected both sides of the squall line. Dan- We had to cut across the western part
of Texas and time it so we slide right through that storm, and we ended up doing it. Niko was navigating, I’m trying to fly and
deal with the air and find our best altitude, he’s over there pinching and zooming, looking
at all the maps, talking to Air Traffic Control, and really using his experience. It tested both of us finding the safest, best
way to do this, and we made it through. Niko- When we got there, we had nowhere to sleep actually so we ended up bringing all
of our camping stuff. We had our tent, sleeping bags, all the necessities
for camping wherever we might land. So we ended up sleeping right underneath the
wing of our Cessna 172. [upbeat music plays] [jet taxis in, loud engine noise[ Niko- Do we have survival gear… yes. Dan- Pop it…. Dan-Nice Dan- I’m pretty sure there’s jet fuel in my hair right now. Niko- It’s alright, it’s moisturizing. Dan- Is our dinner done yet? Niko- I seriously hope so. Niko- Whatcha doin’? Dan- Eating an MRE. Dan- See, it’s not the worst. Niko- I’ve had so many… so many worse meals
than this Dan- Sleeping last night was a little rough…
not going to lie, it was a little rough. Dan- You ready to go? Need some light to wake you up? Niko- Yeah.. that light’s bright. Niko- Yeah I am! I think I’m ready to go, got a good couple
hours of sleep and uh… let’s go and get those pups. Dan- We all have responsibilities. We all have car payments we have to make somehow,
we all have to put food on the table… but we all too often overlook our social responsibilities
and really the fact that animals are helpless. We bring them into this world, we breed animals,
and we don’t spay and neuter our cats and dogs, so we’re kind of at fault for hundreds
of dogs a day being killed. Little puppies, two week old, three week old
puppies sometimes, literally being killed because we can’t take a few minutes out of
our day to go spay and neuter our pet. Dan- Who are you guys? Foster- This is Bella and Tipsy Bystander – That’s a cute dog! Niko- You’re a little cutie, huh? Dan- Alright, well you guys want to get them
in? [elated music plays] Niko- You guys happy about finding some new homes? Dan- You’ve really got these two costs. You’ve got the initial rescue, you know flying,
picking the dogs up, bringing them back… then you’ve got the cost that goes into the rescue
end of it. We just do the transport. We do the important part of getting these
dogs here so they’re not stressed out doing a three day car ride. We’ll get them back in a few hours. The rescue on the receiving end who actually
fosters these dogs, and feeds these dogs, and trains these dogs, and gives them immunizations,
and spays and neuters these dogs… I mean, there’s so much cost involved in that,
it can easily be thousands of dollars just for that once we drop these dogs off until
they get adopted. So people complain about a $400 adoption fee,
but it may have cost easily $2,000 to get that dog just from our plane to where they’re
adoptable. Niko- Have it all? Dan- Yeah [triumphant music plays] Debbie (airport worker)- There goes Tipsy
into the cage. TIpsy’s first flight to Flagstaff, Arizona. Debbie- And Bella is in the cage too, ready
to fly to Flagstaff. Dan- Puppies stowed, plane checked. [upbeat music plays] [Niko eats pickle and dances] Dan- Alright, there’s 20 gallons… Niko- This is how we fuel up our planes. We’ve got these fuel tanks on both sides. You just pop these open. Dan- The thing people don’t realize is fuel
is expensive and this plane takes 40 gallons of it. So every time we stop we’re putting in almost
40 gallons of fuel so it costs a little bit more than a car. Niko- You guys ready to go for a little walk? You look bored. Dan- My favorite part of backcountry flying
is getting out of the Phoenix area and getting to really experience different cultures. We have so many cultures in this country. It’s truly a melting pot. Dan- Tipsy, hey! [playing 20 questions] Dan- Is it an animal? Niko- No. Dan- No? Niko- No. Dan- Is it… a place? Niko- No. Dan- Is it… a celebrity? Dan- Is it aviation related? Niko- No. Dan- Is it something you learned in the military? Niko- No. Dan- Coming back we stopped in Vega, Texas
at this little cropdusting airport. The pilot there showed us
how they mix the chemicals, how they load up the crop duster, and how they go and actually
dust crops. It was just a really cool experience. Dan- The guy who owns this place [Zach Paetzold] just gave me his truck. Never met this guy, never talked to him before. He gave me this hat and his truck to just
go to the gas station to get groceries and whatever else we need, hooked us up with oil,
so thank you guys so much! It really made our trip a whole lot better. I mean, I need a shower, we’re tired out,
and this definitely goes a long way. So thank you guys a lot. Dan- Y’all good to go? You guys are happy, huh? Yeah you’re going home. [upbeat music plays] Dan- I spy something blue. Niko- Is it water? Dan- Yes. Niko- Is it a body of water? Dan- Yes. Niko- I think it’s that water over there. Niko- The way that we are able to afford this
is that it really just comes out of pocket. The whole excess of puppies that are out there
all need homes, and I want to kind of emphasize the importance of adopting instead of shopping. Because there’s thousands of puppies out there
that would love a new home. Dan- Let’s see who’s taking the landing. [plays rock paper scissors]
Dan- Rock, Paper, Scissors Dan- Haha! Yes! [laughing] Dan- So we’re trying with Puppy Pilots to not only raise awareness about these issues and do
what we can out of pocket, and donate our own time. But we’re also trying to set up avenues to
really get these dogs saved to where it’s sustainable and it’s something that people
understand more. Katie Harris (Mountain Girl Rescue)- Puppies! [emotional happy music plays] Katie- You ready to go? Niko- Bye Tipsy. Katie- Let’s go baby. Katie- Oh thank you for getting these guys out of there. Katie- You’re gorgeous. You’re gorgeous. Katie- Those pictures didn’t do them justice. Dan- She’s really good but she tries to get out. She likes to play, she’s got a lot of energy. Niko- She’s intelligent, for sure. [credits roll] Dan- As you’re watching this I want to leave you with one thing. We really enjoyed making this pilot episode,
I hope you enjoyed watching it, and if you did please like and share this with your friends
and family and help us stick around. We want to do as much as we can, but you can
also do what you can by adopting and not shopping for pets. You can really help and make a difference
even though you may not think you can, either donate whatever you can, however little of an amount
to your local shelter or animal rescue. If you’re looking for a pet go to a rescue
and adopt! Don’t go to the mall, don’t go shop for pets,
really look for these rescues who pull puppy mill pets. Who pull what we’re flying right now. And help these animals find their forever
homes. Dan- And with that, thank you guys so much
for tuning in and we’ll see you next week on Puppy Pilots.

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