This past week was an absolute game-changer for Pilots To The Rescue. On Tuesday, August 23rd, PTTR Top Dog Michael Schneider appeared on NBC’s “Today” show, where he shared his passion for animal rescue as well as the advantages of flying homeless pets to safety with a national audience.

Three weeks prior, Michael and volunteer pilot Victor Girgenti had been accompanied by NBC News Now anchor Joe Fryer on a life-saving mission to the American south. Before they took off, Joe sat down with Michael for an informative and deeply emotional interview at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, New York.

During the interview, Michael explained that transporting pets to more spacious facilities as quickly as possible significantly increases their likelihood of adoption. He also reminded Joe that the unconditional love provided by animals undoubtedly makes their lives worth saving.

“One thing I’ve realized is that lot of times, the animals save us,” Michael said with a smile.

When asked about his motivation for starting Pilots To The Rescue in 2015, Michael revealed that he was searching for a stronger sense of purpose and fulfillment in his work. His dedication to PTTR expanded dramatically during the rise of COVID-19, which put his day job on hold and gave him more time to do what he loves.

“It took me 45 years to realize what I wanted to do when I grow up,” Michael remarked.

Joe also had a word with Victor, who echoed Michael’s sentiment about the personal fulfillment that comes with saving innocent lives.

“Until you do an animal rescue, you have no idea how much better it is to give than to receive,” Victor said.

Once PTTR and the NBC crew touched down in Beaumont, Texas, they were greeted by 3 dogs and 23 puppies, the majority of which were just a few weeks old. During the flight back to the east coast, Joe observed that the new passengers were sound asleep on the flight and even seemed to understand that “they were flying towards a better life.”

To close out the segment, Joe was elated to tell Hoda Kotb, Al Roker and the rest of his colleagues at the “Today” show that some of the dogs from the mission had already found their forever homes. Before commencing his daily weather report, Al showed his appreciation for PTTR with a bit of his signature humor mixed in:

“Gotta give that group ‘props,’ (short for ‘propellers’), they’re doing a really nice thing.”

Since Michael’s appearance on the iconic “Today” show, PTTR has received an massive outpour of support from animal lovers all over the country. This means the world to us because one of our central goals at PTTR is to spread awareness about the importance of animal rescue and the harrowing number of pets who are euthanized each year, solely because of a lack of space.

On behalf of the entire team at PTTR, we thank Joe Fryer and the “Today” show for helping us promote our cause on the biggest stage imaginable. You can watch the full segment in the video below:

 

MAJOR AIRLINES Alaska Airlines – Pet in cabin – $100.00 USD each way Pet in baggage – $100.00 USD each way. Animal doesn’t have to be owned the traveler and can be a rescue pet. • The pet carrier counts toward your carry-on bag allotment. You may bring either a pet carrier and a personal item, or a pet carrier and a standard size carry-on bag. You may not board the aircraft with a pet carrier, a standard size carry-on, and a personal item. • A customer may travel with a maximum of 2 pet carriers in the main cabin, only when the adjacent seat is purchased by the same customer. • Pets allowed in the passenger cabin are dogs, cats, rabbits, and household birds. Dogs and cats must be at least 8 weeks old and must have been fully weaned. • Up to 2 pets of the same species and similar size may travel in the same carrier, provided no body parts protrude from the carrier and the animals are not in distress. Brachycephalic or “short-nosed” dogs and cats are not accepted for travel in the cargo compartment on Alaska Airlines flights (including flights operated by Horizon, SkyWest, or PenAir). Dogs: boston terrier, boxer (all breeds), bull dog (all breeds), bull terrier, brussels griffon, chow chow, english toy spaniel, japanese spaniel/japanese chin, mastiff (all breeds), pekingese, pit bull (all breeds), pug (all breeds), shih tzu, staffordshire terrier. Cats: Burmese, Exotic Shorthair, Himalayan, Persian. All pets traveling in the cargo compartment on Alaska Airlines (including flights operated by Horizon, SkyWest and PenAir) must have a health certificate dated within 10 days of initial travel and 30 days of return travel, when the return flight is booked in the same record. Pets traveling on a return flight booked in a separate record are required to have a health certificate dated within 10 days of that flight. A health certificate is not required for pets traveling in the cabin with their passenger; however, many states have specific importation health and vaccination requirements.
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