By Jay Schultz, Correspondent
Richard J. Traunero, owner of the Traunero Funeral Home in Tiffin and a local pilot, has joined with Pilots N Paws, a national organization dedicated to the fostering and transporting of pets to permanent homes - pets who would otherwise be euthanized.
Pilots N Paws' Web site, pilotsnpaws.org, is where pilots and pet holders can arrange and schedule flights to pick up and transport pets to new homes. Each pilot has a profile in which they can state their limitations on how far they are willing to go and when they can fly. The Web site also has a system that can graphically trace a route to a pet's new home and show which pilots' areas are along that route.
According to the site, Traunero is one of 18 pilots in Ohio. Traunero says he has flown two missions thus far for Pilots N Paws. A release from the organization notes Traunero has been a licensed pilot since 1992 and has accumulated more than 800 hours of flight time all over the United States.
Traunero's first two missions were within a short time. A flight was needed for a dog to go from New Jersey to a home in Illinois. At the time, no pilots were willing to undergo the journey. Traunero says he offered to fly the dog part of the way if another pilot made the rest of the journey. Eventually, the holder of the dog in New Jersey said they would drive the dog to an airport in Pennsylvania for Traunero to pick up, and the new owners of the dog would be willing to drive to Indiana to receive the dog.
So Traunero flew to Pennsylvania to take the dog to Indiana. Once in Indiana, Traunero picked up another dog for yet another mission. Traunero fostered that dog while waiting for another pilot to pick it up - another service of Pilots N Paws for which pilots can volunteer.
"As long as I am able to help, I will. It is very rewarding," says Traunero.
Traunero learned of Pilots N Paws while on another organization's Web site, Angel Flight, another humanitarian piloting group for which Traunero flies. Angel Flight helps connect pilots with financially needy human patients who need to be flown to distant locations for medical diagnosis or treatment.