Acts of Impact

How Mike Young And His Volunteer Crews Have Flown Over 8,000 Puppies to Permanent Homes

September 22, 2022 Nicholas Hill Season 1 Episode 25
How Mike Young And His Volunteer Crews Have Flown Over 8,000 Puppies to Permanent Homes
Acts of Impact
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Acts of Impact
How Mike Young And His Volunteer Crews Have Flown Over 8,000 Puppies to Permanent Homes
Sep 22, 2022 Season 1 Episode 25
Nicholas Hill

Today we interview Mike Young.  Mike is a dog rescue pilot who has flown over 8000 puppies by private plane from rescues and shelters in the rural south to large urban areas to be put up for adoption. We’ll talk about why these flights are needed, how the puppies are kept safe throughout the flight, and how volunteer crews and pilots are coordinated to bring these puppies to their forever homes.

To see videos and learn more about Mike's operations, visit:

To support and learn more about Alabama Rescue Relay, visit:

To learn more about the show, view transcripts, and more visit:

Special thanks to Mike and the Alabama Rescue Relay team. Music by Alex Grohls.

Show Notes Transcript

Today we interview Mike Young.  Mike is a dog rescue pilot who has flown over 8000 puppies by private plane from rescues and shelters in the rural south to large urban areas to be put up for adoption. We’ll talk about why these flights are needed, how the puppies are kept safe throughout the flight, and how volunteer crews and pilots are coordinated to bring these puppies to their forever homes.

To see videos and learn more about Mike's operations, visit:

To support and learn more about Alabama Rescue Relay, visit:

To learn more about the show, view transcripts, and more visit:

Special thanks to Mike and the Alabama Rescue Relay team. Music by Alex Grohls.

Nicholas Hill  0:00  
You're listening to acts of impact the show where we interview those who are making a positive difference in the world around us. I'm your host, Nicholas Hill. And today's guest is Mike Young. Mike is a dog rescue pilot, who has flown over 8000 Puppies by private plane from rescues and shelters in the rural areas of Alabama and other southern states to large urban areas to be put up for adoption. We'll talk about why these flights are needed, how the puppies are kept safe throughout, and how volunteer crews and pilots are coordinated to bring these puppies to their forever homes. Let's get started.

Nicholas Hill  0:52  
Mike, welcome to the show. 

Mike Young  0:54  
Hello, there. 

Nicholas Hill  0:55  
It's so great to have you, Mike. And I know that we are here today to talk all about these puppies in the amazing rescues. But I want to just start by talking a little about yourself, you have kind of a unique background. And I'd love to hear just how you got into being a pilot and how you ended up in the Dog and Puppy Rescue business.

Mike Young  1:19  
Well, that's a that's a lot of story right there. Because I started my pilot training when I was in grad school, I called a buddy of mine up and they said, Hey, Jim, what are you doing these days? He says, Well, we're going to Lockheed and I'm getting my pilot's license. I said, why you're getting a pilot's license. Oh, my God. If he's doing it, I can do it too. So I immediately contacted local airport and Linden, New Jersey and spoke to them. And within a few days, I took my first flight lesson. And I got my pilot's license, within a few weeks of getting my master's, and then I was in ROTC. So I went an active duty in the army in the civil corps for a few years. Then I was stationed at the Pentagon. But I still kept flying and flying and flying. I remember I was in St. Louis, for basic course. And one of the other officers mentioned to me, he said, he said, Oh, you have a pilot's license. I see. Yes. Well, VA will pay for like 90% of the course for your commercial instrument, et cetera, go? No, really? Wow. Okay. So when I got stationed in the Pentagon, I signed up for VA benefits. I got my commercial pilot's license, my instrument rating, my flight instructor rating, and then my instrument, instructor rating, and all mostly paid by VA benefits. So I've been flying ever since then, there's never been a time when I haven't been current. And so those are, that's when I started when I was several years after that, is when I started doing the dog rescue flights. So the interesting thing was pilots want to fly, they want to go places they've ever heard of the $100. Hamburger, when you go and fly someplace to go get a hamburger, it's going to cost you $100 At least because that's the cost to rent to the plane and fuel at all. Well, so instead of getting like, I'm looking for a good excuse to fly, and then what happened was in 2010, I got a, an email from a friend of mine, who's also a pilot and she said, Hey, there's some dogs down in North Carolina that need to get up to. We went to Wilmington, Delaware. And would you like to fly them ago? Yeah, their rescue dogs have to be two German Shepherds. We lost our German Shepherd earlier that year. And I said, Sure, so I did that. And then I got involved with the dog rescue program, and it never stopped. And then I moved down to Florida in 2014. That's the end of 2013 started 2014. And what I did was I went to the local that local event where they're having dogs up for adoption at a park. And I started asking the son where you get these dogs from? Or Alabama? How do you get them here? Drive long drive, I said, Oh, would you like me to fly them? So long? The short of it is I got in touch with a group in Alabama called the Alabama rescue relay. And what they do is they have contacts with all the local shelters. And these are small towns and small counties that maybe have 510 20,000 people, something like that Not big cities like Birmingham and in Huntsville, and those, I started flying regularly for them. And there is a never ending supply of not only puppies, but medium sized dogs, and also adult dogs. They also do ground transport to Florida for the bigger dogs. But mostly I take the puppies because I could put a lot in my plane. We'll talk about that later. And also they would take the same bigger dogs and they would have ground transports to Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, where they have very strict spay and neutering laws, and people are willing to adopt young adult and adult dogs. That's that's really how I got started and I'm just doing them almost every damn week since 2013.

Nicholas Hill  4:58  
Wow, that's Incredible. I am curious. So you mentioned that Alabama specifically, you're going to grab the puppies and the dogs and fly them to other areas where they can get adopted, 

Mike Young  5:12  
typically Central Florida

Nicholas Hill  5:14  
Central Florida got it. What is it about these areas of rural Alabama, that causes such a need for these dogs to be transported elsewhere? Like why are there so many of these dogs that need to be transported to safety? 

Mike Young  5:30  
That's a good question. It's not just Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, all rural, south, even the panhandle of Florida. Same deal. The simple answer is, in fact, when you when I fly over Alabama, and I get, you know, near the Panhandle and fly in Alabama, you look down. It's 90% rural, or more. I mean, there's a house here a mile away is another one half mile away is another one, this field, this farmland is trees. And so when people have dogs, they don't walk them. I mean, why don't you walk the dog, I got like five acres, I'm not going to walk a dog. So they let the dog out. Now, if it's a female dog, and it's in heat, veterinarians have told me they will go as far as two miles away trying to find a mate. The other thing is, there's no spay and neutering mores in Alabama, probably Georgia either, but so people, I'm not gonna fix my dog, you're not gonna, you're not gonna take the manhood out of my dog. So they don't spay and neuter. And that's like 250 bucks, and they aren't gonna spend that money. And then next thing, you know, Mama has puppies. And they're not necessarily cruel, although I've heard some cruel stories, is just last month I heard a story about this guy said, You come and get these puppies or I'm going to shoot them all in the head. No, why? That's what he said. And the rest of those wound up on my plane. They went and got him from the guy and they wound up on my plane getting adopted. So they don't spay and neuter. Not everybody, they do this. There's good people, analog, Alabama, don't get me wrong. Not all about Alabama is like this. But the small percentage that don't want to spay and neuter or don't have the money, then dog gets pregnant. And it's when you look at the dogs that come down on my plane. This is all from one letter, there's black and brown and there's white. It's like, well, mama had a good time. One night, I'll tell you that. And multiple dads, and I you know, one of the dogs I adopted from one of my flights more on that later, but he has 18 breeds in him 18 breeds because they just commingle they just, you know, your mama never knows what she's gonna find because Daddy dog has been out for a walk and he was a mile away and Mama dogs there and she's in here. Boom, got puppies. I'm talking to the president of Alabama relay rescue Rebecca Harshman. And she's driving her car down this dirt road going somewhere. And I'm talking about arrest phase. All right, I gotta get off the phone, I got to get up. So she gets off the phone. And then these three puppies running on this dirt road. And she picked them up and put them in a car. And she sent me a picture. I mean, they're beautiful dogs, oh my god, that they're gorgeous. And they're friendly, that they either ran away from somebody or somebody just dumped them in the road. And this happens all over rural Alabama. So what happens is the risk the local rescues, either shelters or rescues, wind up getting these pups and they contact receiving rescues in Central Florida. And they will find places there which will take care of them and get them spayed and neutered. And when eight all the dogs come to Florida, none of them get euthanized. Well, I should not say that because some of them have Parvo and they pass. 

Nicholas Hill  8:39  
So it sounds like if I'm getting this, right, we've got a situation where, you know, we've got all this land, we're not walking the dogs, the dogs go out, they find a mate, they've got a litter now that needs to be that needs to be helped. And because of that we've got Alabama rescue relay, which is working with shelters in Florida and other areas to find homes for these dogs. And then it sounds like you are providing that transportation in a lot of cases to get these dogs to safety. Am I right so far? 

Mike Young  9:14  
That's correct, except, for example from Alabama rescue really they have a van every two weeks. That drives from Central Alabama they they rendezvous at a point in Central Alabama somewhere and they drive they stop at the Turkey Run exit or turkey one Turkey Run rest stop and the Florida turnpike and rescues would go and pick them up from there. But mostly they take big and adult dogs there. Why? Because they always travel at night. They leave around seven o'clock at night and it's a 10 to 12 hour drive. And the dogs are asleep but with puppies if you put puppies on their puppies pee and poop all the time whenever they damn well please and that's that's it. If you have one puppy with Parvo in that van, and it's diarrhea, Parvo is spread by aerosol. And if it's that puppy has diarrhea and it goes in the van, everybody that's in the crate with it will be exposed to it. Everybody in the crate next season will be exposed to and I've heard stories from a few years back where all the puppies in a van had Parvo as a result of the transport. So that does happen. But with the techniques, I'll talk about my rescue flight, we mitigate that concern, like almost 100%, and we'll talk about that later. 

Nicholas Hill  10:30  
I'm wondering if you can take us into what a flight day looks like. So when you're on the ground, you're ready to go on the weekend? What does it look like to kind of pick up the puppies and transport them? And how do you kind of do that logistically? 

Mike Young  10:45  
Well, that's a very big operation. In fact, I'm in the process of doing one right now for flight this coming Saturday, the better question as to ask is, what is the preparation needed? So that some of the key things I have to do I have to get a flight crew, somebody to be on my plane because we do not create the puppies. That's how I can get dozens of puppies in my plane, because they're on the laps of the flight crew. Find pilots, that's the hard part texting, please reply right away, because they know whether they need to go down my list or not. And sometimes they don't reply right away, and I gotta read, send another text message. So I get my flight. And I have to on the map, determine where the pilots are coming from, what were they going to pick up and you're going to pick this one up and drop it off here, blah, blah, blah, very complicated. That takes a lot of work. And then the next thing I do, I got to recruit a ground crew for enterprise so that when the pilot show up, they take care of the puppies. But then I also have to get a ground crew. In my hangar, I have a hangar and I have the lot next to my hangar where we set the puppies up there to feed them. And we have a ground crew there. So all of this has to get done and work like clockwork, the pilots got to be there when they need to be there, the ground crew needs to be there ahead to set the the things up to receive the puppies. It's a very complicated operation. But we've got it down to a science because we've been doing hundreds of these, we know what works, what doesn't work, oh, we need to do this. And so we've honed it so that it works very efficiently. Now, now that you know the background, so then what happens is for me this from my point of view, when I when I'm done on Friday, and I feel certainly everything set I know who's driving who's flying, the times they need to be there. I've got the ground crew publicized on Facebook and other places than Saturday morning, we get up we go to my airplane in the hangar in Orlando popc Airport, we get the plane ready the baggage area radio we cover with cardboard, and a big comforter and back and we bring towels and we do all the necessary preparation, refuel the plane, take off flight enterprise. In the meantime, while I'm flying down the price, this is the scary part. I have no communication, no text messages, no emails, no voice because in a cell phone, you lose cell phone conductivity somewhere around three to 5000 feet. If there's a problem that happens after I take off. I can't do anything about it. So Rebecca Harshman, the president of Alabama rescue relay, say call her and then she will pull the strings and change things around. And that doesn't happen too much. Thank goodness. Because we have all this planning. We have a saying because I'm from the military, as I mentioned, you've heard a P P P P P, we hear that na prior planning prevents piss poor performance.

Nicholas Hill  13:33  
I've only ever heard the phrase measure twice cut once, right? 

Mike Young  13:37  
Well, this is military this Milton prior planning, right. So it's all that prior planning that makes everything work. So we get to enterprise. And hopefully by that time the ground crew has gotten there and set up the pen to put them in. And sometimes they haven't been an ideal situation. We get there in plenty of time. The ground crews there we can eat and then the planes or drivers start showing up. Then we put them in a pen for at least half an hour to an hour and a half. Before we put them in the plane. Why do we do that? This is one of the secrets. These puppies are coming from all over Alabama. They've never seen each other before. And what are puppies do? They like to pee and poop. So for the half hour to an hour and a half, they'll pee and poop and I go Oh good. Another poop in the ground group. We gotta clean it up. Then we have a Clorox water spray bottle that sprays the heck out of that area where they poop. So if there's any latent germs, especially if it's diarrhea could have parvo virus in it. We saturate that ground, the Clorox water mix kills whatever virus is in there, whatever else is in there, it's dead. And so that's the technique we use. And then we also keep a lookout this puppies kind of lethargic. We know the signs of Parvo, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, we have two of them. Then we have an ill puppy and we need to keep it separate. And sad story. I actually had a fly where there was a very lethargic pop this was a couple of years ago, one of the ground crew ladies was holding it and we put in the plane, let the copilot hold it. It died in the plane right in her lap. And that was very sad. Fortunately, the girl that was in the copilot seat, she was very, she was strong, she didn't break down. But I maybe should mention that, but that does happen. But most of these fluffy flights, so they're just like, joyous. It's like, everybody has fun. I mean, can you imagine being so anyway, so getting back to the story, so they, they they pee, they poop, I'm glad when I see poop because I said good. That's not gonna happen to my plane now. We call that we call that code Brown. I haven't had a code brown on my plane. I can't remember the last time they just don't. Why? Because they haven't been fed in the morning. They haven't been fed, we tell the sending rescues do not feed them this morning. So they don't feed them. And when we get when they we get and we put a little honey in their mouth to keep their blood sugar up. So they don't get hypo hypoglycemic. If they do vomit in the plane, it's not a lot. Very few vomits. I remember we did a flight on a video that guy was in a video that day we were hit turbulence a lot. But nobody, none of the puppies vomited. So they were able to handle it. And so anyway, so in summary, given the honey, let them run so they pee and poop. And then we load them on the plane. The ground the flight crew gets and towels on her lap headset around the neck. seatbelt on and hear from the puppies they literally one after another after another after No, it's another night this pilot standing by and they say how do you get all those puppies in that plane? So it's easy. We put them in one at a time. 

Nicholas Hill  16:43  
Yeah, because you because you don't have crates in the plane. 

Mike Young  16:45  
Right. So you're you're basically using the volunteers are helping to kind of corral the puppies and corral is not the right word. They don't have to they don't go anywhere they sleep. But the thing is that when they're created, they get stressed out, they feel cramped, and they start crying or barking. But when they're on a lap with other puppies with being held, or they're in the baggage area, they can roam around, there's no real, that roaming is not the right word. There's not a lot of place to move. But what happens is, now that we're loaded in the airplane, we take off, there's this no barking, there's no barking. Or if there is one, he barks, barks, barks as we start the engine, then we don't hear it again. And so when they're in the plane, they're comfortable, because puppies just want to be held. In fact, sometimes a dog in the back baggage area between the two seats, will try and make his way up into the backseat because he wants to be with the people. Occasionally, a dog that's on the backseat and wants to go in the back with the other dogs. The interesting thing about dogs, I'll say as an aside, is the personality they show as a puppy will be the personality they have when they're adult. And so that's something that I tell people. But anyway, so we're on the plane, and most of the time they sleep and they usually start waking up as I'm descending and I will always think how do they know where to go? How do they know where descending well, then it dawned on me, 

Nicholas Hill  18:09  
our ears. 

Mike Young  18:10  
Air pressure. Yeah. And then sometimes there's an interesting thing sometimes ATC keeping up too high. I'm coming from the north, I got a tail wind from the north. And I got to descend at more than 500 feet per minute. Now airliners they have cabin pressure they can just do they can climb at 2000 feet a minute the Senate 2000 feet a minute, but the cabin doesn't do that the cabin does it gradually. You don't even notice it. But when you have an unpressurized airplane like mine, going from 9000 feet to sea level, and you're doing five 600 feet a minute my brain starts noticing and then sometimes they just don't let me down low enough. And I have to do it almost 1000 feet a minute for a minute or so. And that's when my ears hurt. So I can only imagine the puppies. So anyway, when we land now there's the ground crew, which looks very similar to the crew up at enterprise. We got a big puppy pan on the ground, but now they're hungry. They're hungry. So what the ground crew then does in if they have food set up in bowls, we put them into the pan and we have a checklist. We have a checklist to make sure all the puppies are here. The number of ground truth people we need is generally about the number of puppies used to be everybody come we'd have 50 people there with 20 Puppies and it was not one flight we did this I guess a couple months ago. We had 38 puppies in the plane 38 And we had 29 Back in June and 29 is a lot of puppies. But 38 They were small like five and six pounders. It was like unloading a clown car Nother one and another one and another one. Another one is more in the baggage area. Go get them and there's another one and another one. Even even when we have 25 Like normal For me, it's somewhere between 22 and 26. And I'm telling you this particular flight on Saturday is only going to be 14. Why is there only 14 Not because there aren't puppies that have to get rescued. But receiving rescues here are full, they don't go to shelters here they go to fosters. And when they run out of foster homes, because adoptions are low, then they can't take puppies from anywhere. 

Nicholas Hill  20:26  
So the bottleneck isn't the transport or the availability, it's the receiving foster availability. 

Mike Young  20:33  
Correct. And that's directly related to how many puppies they get adopted. And so I make the transport sheet up that has, who's sending them their names, their weights, and for each of sending shelter, and who's getting them, they know the total weight of the puppies, which by the way, is the limiting factor on how many puppies I can take. So it's about 270 pounds is what I can take is the weight because when I take off, even though my plane holds 105 gallons, I only put 40 gallons in because that's what it needs to get down to Florida. And the reserve that I need, in case there's bad weather or whatever. 

Nicholas Hill  21:10  
When you think about the ones who are on the flight with you, how are they chosen? 

Mike Young  21:16  
hand picked

Nicholas Hill  21:17  
Hand picked? 

Mike Young  21:18  
Yes. So there are really two they fall into two categories, pilots and non pilots. Let's see, one way I do it is on the ground. Anybody can come with the ground crew as long as your age 16 and up. Oh, can I bring my seven year old boy he loves puppies? No, ma'am. You can't do that. We used to let kids come and there was a disaster, they drop puppies, they'd pull on their tails puck would get away, it just doesn't work 816 And up. So I look around and go. Here's a young lady, I generally prefer young ladies are women because they're better with puppies, puppies seem to naturally come at them. And guys are usually 150 to 250 pounds. That's the other thing. So the other thing I do is I see a young lady who's a pilot or studying to be pilots going for flight training. And they get to sit in a high performance, technically advanced their plane and get the log that flight time and learn how to fly through, not through but around thunderstorms and how to handle bad weather. When you do training trainings, okay, you're gonna do this, right? You got to do that. You got to go through maneuvers, you got to shoot approaches, you're going to do better. But when you fly cross country, it's a whole different story. Now you have to deal with weather winds aloft. And in Florida, summertime thunderstorms are there every single day. And so sometimes my flight paths have very zigzag drinking drinking chain, we don't use the weather radar to negotiate around the big storms, because it could be five to 20 minutes old. Because if the storms only 40 or 30 or 40 miles an hour, in a couple of minutes, it's not going to be where it was where the radar rent picked it up. So what we do is we use our mark one calibrated eyeballs, and we go, that's too dark. We're not going there. We're going there where it's light gray, and I can see a little blue behind it. And that corroborates and there have been times where read the weather radar shall be right in the middle of red. But I'm not in red, the storms five miles over to my left, because it's a quick moving storm. And so flying at night is really tough. And I really don't fly at night much anymore. In fact, I haven't flown at night for years. Because you can't see the cells you can't see the darkness. But here I head for the I head for the lighter colored gray. And I know the gray that we can fly through and they're seeing from a real life experience, how you handle the storms. But I've got completely digress. So finishing the story after we feed the pups, then the ground crew at my hangar plays the pups, they have a ball, they can take them out of the pen and run around with them, provided they can run faster than the pump. And so that's why I look at people who say, you know, you know, you're in flip flops, and you're kind of heavy, but they don't say that part. I said, Maybe you should stay in the pen. Oh, look, young lady or young guy. They got sneakers on. Yeah, let them run around. And when the puppies run around, they like play with each other because there's a grass slot right next to my hanger that they can run around. And then what happens is the receiving restaurant comes about an hour or so later they pick them up, put them in crates and take them to their foster homes. And that's that's pretty much what a day looks like. 

Nicholas Hill  24:30  
That is incredible. Thank you for walking me through that. I think we actually answered a couple of questions that I wanted to talk about there. So it's really great to kind of see how it works. There's so many dependencies. Just thinking about how it all starts with the pilots that have to get them to the central location. You've got the ground crew, you've got your team. It sounds like that can be a real challenge. 

Mike Young  24:56  
As and that is the hardest part of this. It's not flying through the thunderstorm. As far as I can handle that the hardest part is getting everybody signed up to do the job.

Nicholas Hill  25:07  
 Let me ask you with, you know, you've flown 1000s and 1000s of these puppies. I'm sure there's been a temptation to, to adopt one. Have you yourself adopted any of the puppies and same for your ground crew. Have you seen any adoptions there?

Mike Young  25:23  
 Well, I all my three puppies, my three dogs came on my flights. And the first one was in 2011. That was Molly and gave it to the rescue and I just had you know what, I liked this dog. I liked this, this black and brown dog. So I went, we contacted the rescue, and my sister picked it up and brought it to the airport. And that was Molly, and I still have her almost 12 years old 11 and a half and she's terrific. And then I got her a dog. And she became we intended him to become her BFF so we decided to call him Beth, and they became best buddies and Biff was her wing man. And like when Molly's is She's a runner. I mean, if she gets out of the fence, she goes, and she takes beef with her and she makes sure that Biff is following her and then we Molly with Molly, we're going around Molly is the bad influence, but Biff follows her. And so Biff was on that flight in the spring of 2012. And, and then I said, You know what, I saw this cute black dog with this white chest. Beautiful white chest. And he was a great dog. I mean, he was loving and energetic. And he was one of the dogs that was in the baggage area. And I got a picture of him as a puppy. His two paws, his buddies in the baggage area, but as two paws are on the shoulder of flight crew girl, I took them home. I told the father, I told the Senate the receiving restaurant, Hey, can I foster him? says your Well, I was a failed Foster, we kept them. So now we got three dogs. That was in 2016. Now, regrettably, this past, well, almost a year now guess what I mean, you can't believe it's been a year but if passed away a 10 and a half. from natural causes. He had Lyme disease, and he had a renal failure and he passed peacefully in our house. We didn't have to take him to the vet. So come November 7, there's this cute little brown and white dog peeking between the back seats. I noticed them and he came his an interesting story came from a small rescue in Luverne, Alabama, a guy had him on the chain in the backyard. And he had ribs showing, and the guy wasn't treating him right. And the rescue said, I'm gonna take him. And she's, uh, he said, No, you're not. I said, I'm gonna take him, I'm gonna call the cops. She took them and she called them lucky. And they loved him up there. And he was on my flight. And I saw him in the pen at enterprise. And I saw him in the pen at my hangar. And I contacted the receiving rescue and said, You know what, I want to adopt them. So I picked them up. He was 23 pounds when I picked them up at the rescue, and I put them on my lap, and he wouldn't get off my lap. So I said to my wife, what are we going to call him? Well, his name was lucky, but I think he's going to be your buddy. And that's his name, buddy. And the personality he had that I saw on the pen is the same he has today. Now a year old. He was born in August. And he is my buddy. He is like wherever I am, there he is. And he's energetic, and he plays with the other dogs. He's just terrific. Just I just love him to death. And that's why I do this. For the love of my dogs. I know all these dogs will can give the same love to other owners who love them back. And there'll be dedicated to them. And I say that dogs are better than people. It was Mark Twain, I think that said, you miss a person you mix a person and a dog, you get a better person and a worse dog. 

Nicholas Hill  28:51  
You know, I have to ask I almost hate to ask this question, but we've been talking about dogs this whole time. Have you ever flown cats? Have you ever flown any other animals? How is that work? 

Mike Young  29:03  
Well, sometimes they it's just so funny. There was a flight that was from Monroeville and they were cats. In fact, I've probably flown maybe a dozen or two cats. We put them in separate crates and we put them on the head shelf in the back and the dogs will go and sniff them but these are puppy dogs, they sniff and they go through that that's interesting. So we never had any issues. But it was so funny because on the transport sheet this one flight pilot Johnny at an enterprise who was actually a helicopter instructor for the military. And it said from Monroeville cat litter six, and he said, Wait a minute, I'm transmitting. I'm transporting cat litter in my plane to enterprise. I explained No, it was a litter of cats. So they call that the cat litter. So the answer is yes. I fly cats. If I'm if I'm asked to because of what I'm I'm not going to I can take them and I got room and there's someone ready for them. I'm going to get them. That's it. I have them motto leave no dog behind the US about to ground crew adopt dogs they absolutely do. But they don't take them away from the hanger. They've got to go through the rescue so that they get spayed and neutered, make sure they're healthy. And then they would then it would get adopted. So yes, I would say every other flight or every third flight, somebody falls in love with the puppy. But here's what happens. They fall in love with the puppy they adopted and then they're not on the ground crew anymore because they've got their puppy fix. Right?

Nicholas Hill  30:30  
 Yeah, they that was there. Yeah, that's funny. 

Mike Young  30:34  
So we have a private page. So if people want and now Orlando want to join it's Puppy Rescue flights. Orlando. Yep. So so limited to to Florida. I would imagine, though, that someone listening might be able to help out the Alabama rescue relay. Oh, absolutely. Yes. I don't take donations. I'm in a financial situation where I don't take or want donations. But Alabama relay rescue could definitely take it. And I gotta tell you a story and I'll tell you how to contact them. So this February, I got an email. No, a phone call. This woman calls me and she says that she is with the Master Chief. Chi hai. I think that's the way pronounce it. And she's so impressed with what I do with my Puppy Rescue flight. She wants to donate money. Oh, okay. Yeah, I heard that story before. How much money do I need to give you before you donate me money? Right. And I just the thing looked like it smelt it didn't smell right. But it turns out, it was right. They were actually then sent a film crew to my hangar to videotape or make a little presentation and I have that I can send you a link to it. Of of that flight. And I'm not kidding. She donated $10,000 I said I don't want that money, make it out to Alabama rescue really. So she cashed the check $10,000 cleared. And I said Rebecca Osman here's what you're gonna do, you're gonna give $500 to the needy rescues. She's so she gave that. And then she uses it for what do they use it for? They use it to buy food, because they're not properly funded. They use it for food and medical expenses for people who are fostering dogs in order to get them healthy waiting for them to get transported either up north or down to Florida. And so what she does, and I trust her implicitly, she gives the money to where it's needed. So Alabama rescue relay, whatever money they get, they say who needs it, and they give it to him. And that's and that and I can tell you that it's legit. So here's the website that you can go to to donate learn more about Alabama rescue relay and watch the videos that were put together about what goes on in the flight what goes on and enterprise what goes on in my hangar, you ready to get your pencil out a r r dot life. What I got that website for them and I looked and I went, there's a dot life extension, you're kidding me? Easy. So AR dot life go there. If you feel like you want to donate 20 bucks or something like that, I could guarantee you, it's going to go where it's needed, no one's going to put that in their pocket. And then also you can see watch the videos, there's some really good videos that show what goes on in the enterprise area, what goes on with the in the flight, which is really funny. And then what goes on in my hangar. And then also what goes on at the adoption events. I actually did the video at the adoption events, I recorded it to show the sending rescues, here's where the puppies go. And they're like 100 people waiting 100 people more than that waiting to look for puppies to adopt them out. And I want to show them that this is where they're going that they're being well taken care of. And so but my part of this is I'm just doing the coordination for the transport doing a flight, but there's so many other people involved. There's the fosters the sending rescues, there's the pilots who are flying from you know, all over down to enterprise and, and drivers who do to the drive. Sometimes I don't get enough pilots, we got to do a ground transport. And the volunteers there and the volunteers at my hangar and the receiving fosters and the receiving rescues. I mean, I'm just one piece and this big it takes it takes a village to get it done. You need to understand this is an immense operation, any flight it's probably got like 50 to 100 People usually involved in just transporting a couple of dozen puppies and all working together and over long periods of time to save 1000s and 1000s of puppies. 

Nicholas Hill  34:44  
It's really incredible. 

Mike Young  34:46  
Yes, I think so too. I and I'm so glad to be able to be in a position to do that. And by the way, I'm technically retired but I'm working on an engineering project for my former partner, the partner that had when I sold my share in that business I'm designing attacking an antenna system for use by the military, which is incredibly complicated. And so I'm working on that now. And I've got some part time people working on it with me. So, so 

Nicholas Hill  35:11  
So basically just hanging out, you know, not much, right.

Mike Young  35:15  
 Yeah, yeah. Right. 

Nicholas Hill  35:16  
Well, Mike, I just want to say thank you for your time today for volunteering to talk with us. And also just for everything that you and the teams and the volunteers and the pilots and the crews are all doing to work together for these puppies. It's incredibly impactful. And I know that I'm excited to continue to follow you and see what you do. 

Mike Young  35:42  
That sounds great. And thank you for your listeners and those who are contemplating giving a few bucks to Alabama rescue relay, I can assure you it's going to a good course.

Nicholas Hill  36:04  
Today's show was directed and produced by me with music from Alex Grohl special thanks to our guests for their time and insight. If you liked today's episode, please follow us wherever you listen to podcasts, and consider leaving a review, as it will help us to spread the word about the show. You can view more information about today's episode online at acts of Thank you for listening