Doss landed his small plane at the Cleveland Municipal Airport yesterday to rescue Junior, who is in need of a new home because of his former abusive owners.
The mission was orchestrated through a nonprofit known as Pilots N Paws, a national program that networks private pilots with organizations and people who rescue, shelter or foster animals.
Doss volunteered his time and fuel to fly from Olive Branch to pick Junior up and transport him to the Mississippi Boston Terrier Rescue in Corinth, where he will be vetted and prepared for adoption.
"There's a lot of animals that need help and new homes, and it seems like transporting them is the biggest issue," said Doss. "I'm always flying, so I might as well be doing something meaningful while I'm flying."
Pilots are not compensated or reimbursed for their services, so it takes a caring individual to go out of their way to make the rescue flights, as Doss has over a dozen times.
"It makes me feel good," said Doss. "When you have an extra purpose to your flying, and you've done something good, it makes you feel special."
Junior's rescue was made possible thanks to the efforts of Evelyn Rice of Drew.
Rice has spent the past three years rescuing local dogs, as she did with Junior on Monday from the Bolivar County Humane Society.
"When I learned about Junior, I just knew that he needed to be placed in a better home," said Rice. "I have a friend at the Mississippi Boston Terrier Rescue, and they helped start the connection with Pilots N Paws."
While Rice has been associated with the nonprofit group in the past, Junior's experience was her first opportunity to meet one of the pilots.
"I think this is a great volunteer organization made up completely of volunteers," said Rice. "I encourage everyone to adopt, volunteer or donate to shelters.
"There are a lot of opportunities to help, like Pilots N Paws. Unless people get involved, they often get overlooked."
Rice said Junior had been a sweet dog since she began caring for him on Monday, and it was difficult to let him go.
"The hard part is getting him used to my home, getting him to trust me and then having to see him move on," said Rice. "But I know he's off to a good home."
Pilots N Paws was founded in 2008 by animal-lover Debi Boies and pilot Jon Wehrenberg.
The idea first took flight when Jon agreed to help Debi fly a rescued Doberman from Florida to South Carolina to save the dog’s life.
The trip was a success and the two brainstormed ways to continue rescuing other animals.
The dream quickly became a reality when the website, www.pilotsnpaws.org, was launched and networks formed between pilots and animal rescuers.
The organization has helped link 2466 pilots and 8281 volunteers who help save lives.
Each year, the volunteers of Pilots N Paws help save thousands of lives — in the form of any animal that can be transported using a plane. Dogs, cats, pigs, reptiles and rabbits are just a few examples of what has been in flight.
According to group's website, more than four million no-longer-wanted pets are euthanized each year.
While spay/neuter programs have worked to decrease domestic animal populations in some parts of the country, other areas are considered high-kill.
A staggering 70 percent of dogs that enter shelters in the southern part of the country are euthanized.
Until now, there have been few options for these innocent victims — Pilots N Paws is helping to change that.