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A Dog’s Best Friend: Alumnus Uses Flying Skills to Help Rescue Dogs throughout America
February 21, 2012
The bumper sticker that proudly adorns Ted DuPuis' Piper Aztec
plane -- "Dog Is My Co-Pilot" -- says everything you need to know
about the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology alumnus and his
humanitarian flights to find new homes for abandoned animals at
shelters throughout North America.
||Finding New Homes For Pets: Ted
DuPuis, a 2006 Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology mechanical
engineering alumnus, founded Cloud Nine Rescue Flights to fly
abandoned animals across the country to new homes. Most of
the flights involve dogs and cats.
DuPuis' nonprofit organization, Cloud Nine Rescue Flights, is
dedicated to providing charitable flights to transport more animals
more efficiently and more reliably over longer distances. In
its first 30 months in the air, the 2006 mechanical engineering
graduate has flown more than a thousand pets, mostly dogs, to
"If we don't move the pets we move, they die," DuPuis recently
told Boston.com. "It's that simple."
An avid animal lover, the New York native started in animal
rescue by volunteering at a local animal shelter. Earning his
pilot's certificate shortly after leaving Rose-Hulman, DuPuis
helped as a volunteer pilot to rescue animals for new homes,
originally in small, single-engine planes.
Seeing that larger numbers of homeless pets needed to be
transported further and more reliably than the current
organizations at the time were able to provide, he founded Cloud
Nine, and now serves as its' president and chief pilot. The
organization operates two aircraft -- a Piper Aztec and a Cessna
310 -- both are "all-weather" piston twins that are capable of
operating just about anywhere and in most weather conditions.
He has flown as far as Los Angeles to New York City in one day, as
far south as Cozumel, Mexico, and to remote regions of Northern
Canada that are only accessible by aircraft (and flown there in the
winter). After last year's Joplin, Mo. tornado, he flew 52
cats to new homes in Seattle, a mission performed in partnership
with the ASPCA.
DuPuis' mission takes dogs facing euthanasia at overcrowded
shelters to welcoming homes in another region of the country.
A typical flight, costing $2,500 (covering fuel and maintenance),
saves 15 to 20 dogs. The frequency of flights has increased
since Pennsylvania-based Cloud Nine started in 2007.
|Humanitarian Effort: Ted DuPuiis realized that as a pilot,
he could make a difference by moving animals to shelters that could
accommodate them. He also owns and manages DuPuis
DuPuis realized the severity of the pet overpopulation problem
after he adopted his first dog, Duke. The Rottweiler had
spent half his life in a local animal shelter.
"He just needed someone to love him," he says.
As a volunteer as a dog trainer at a shelter, DuPuis learned the
facts about euthanasia. "Although I knew it was routine for
pets to get put down at shelters, what I didn't realize was that
the numbers were in the millions per year," he told
Boston.com. "I didn't realize there were individual shelters
putting down 300 pets per week, nor did I realize the disparity
between regions that had tremendous overpopulation problems, and
regions that didn't have enough healthy, adoptable dogs to meet
DuPuis realized that as a pilot, he could make a difference by
moving the animals to shelters that could accommodate them.
Karen Kukla, operator of Upstate New York's Helping Hounds
Rescue, told the Syracuse Post-Standard: "The great thing about
Ted's transport is that it's quick. With ground transport,
dogs can be in transit for 14 hours or more."
By day, DuPuis, 27, owns and manages DuPuis Aviation (http://dupuisaviation.com/)
in the Williamsport, Pa., area. He provides engineering,
flight instruction, and aircraft charter/management services.
He runs his nonprofit by night and on the weekends, assisted by a
group of 10 dedicated volunteers.
"Cloud Nine absorbs all my free time but it is the most
rewarding thing I do," DuPuis told The Bark.com.
If You Wish to Help
Learn about Cloud Nine Rescue Flights online at www.cloudninerescueflights.org
or contact Ted DuPuis at Cloud Nine Rescue Flights, 259 Irion
Drive, Montoursville, PA 17754; 812-243-2585.