Our First Rescue

Pilots To The Rescue founder and Top Dog Michael Schneider embarked on his first animal rescue mission in the summer of 2014. The proud papa of two rescue pets, he found out through the animal rescue community about a group of puppies that had been abandoned in a ditch in rural North Carolina. These poor souls along with a brand-new litter of puppies had been scheduled for euthanasia just because there was no space for them at their current shelter.

Michael was both shocked and saddened to learn that this shelter was so overcrowded that the dogs had no chance of being adopted. They had to be euthanized in a matter of days. Michael knew of several local shelters that had plenty of space, there was just no way for staff members to get to the dogs in time.

That’s when Michael and his longtime friend and fellow pilot Brian Orter sprang into action, flying down to North Carolina in just over an hour. After picking up the dogs, they flew back up to the East Coast, where the dogs were given the help and healing, they needed to find happy, loving homes. 

Ditch puppies from North Carolina taking their first (and hopefully last) flight!

Skeeter working the trim wheel!

This one literally got away running across an active taxiway!

Michael with Nitro, a sweet black lab mix!

Michael & Brian 10 rescues on the very first mission!

PTTR Foundations

PTTR Origins

Completing his first animal rescue mission gave Michael a sense of fulfillment he had never felt before. He began to think of how many more lives he could save with his piloting skills. So, less than a year after completing his first mission, Michael combined his two greatest passions - aviation and animal welfare - to form Pilots To The Rescue! Determined to get his new venture off the ground, Michael channeled the power of crowdfunding to raise more than $12,000 in less than 48 hours!

Over the next five years, Michael continued saving lives with PTTR while simultaneously working as a corporate events manager. Harnessing his aviation network, Michael gradually amassed a crew of selfless volunteer pilots who shared his love for animals. After all, rescue animals have touched the lives of so many people, pilots included! It wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that Michael decided to leave his corporate career behind and follow his dreams of focusing on PTTR full-time.

PTTR’s Mission

PTTR’s Mission

Pilots To The Rescue (PTTR) is a non-profit, volunteer-driven, 501c3 public benefit aviation organization. Our mission is to prevent homeless pets from being euthanized and give them the best possible chance at a better life.

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