Pilot Flies Dog Across The Country to Reunite with Owner

When a neighbor accidently let his dog loose, Derrick Maxwell wondered whether he would ever see him again. He searched all around the area near his home and further afield but there was no sign of the dog anywhere. He got his friends and family involved in the search, but nobody had any luck finding Kodak. The search went on for weeks but it seemed as if Kodak had just vanished. Derrick had adopted Kodak about a year previously from a shelter in Indianapolis. He is a pit bull mix that weighs 61lbs. He quickly became part of the family and so they were all concerned when he went missing. Derrick was especially worried because they had only recently moved to Southern California, and so the dog would have not been that familiar with the local area. If he had gotten too far away from the house, then he might not have been able to find his way back home. He told KTLA that Kodak was originally adopted as a support animal to help him deal with his health issues. Derrick was missing Kodak anyway, but he also missed the support that he gave him on a daily basis.

Derrick had just been about to give up hope of ever seeing Kodak again when he received an email from an animal shelter in Indiana that was almost two hours away, telling him that they had found his dog. The news was even more welcome because it came on his birthday. Kodak was taken to the shelter was he found in the streets, but nobody knows how he managed to get from California to Indiana. He did not appear to be injured in any way and so it seems that he couldn’t have walked all that way as his paws would have been hurt. It may never be known how Kodak got to Indiana but luckily he was spotted and taken to an animal shelter. The shelter scanned him for a microchip and this allowed them to access Derrick’s contact details. However, there was still the question of how Kodak and Derrick would be reunited after they had ended up so far apart.

Kodak was eventually reunited with Derrick after he was flown back to Hawthorne by Pet Rescue Pilots. According to their website, the organization mainly finds homes for pets that are currently in overcrowded shelters with kill policies. They have a network of foster homes that they use so that the pets that they rescue have a second chance at finding a loving home. California has one of the highest pet euthanasia rates in the country and so Pet Rescue Pilots will fly them to homes in other states. When they heard that it would be difficult for Derrick to get Kodak home, they decided to step in and help as they could use their plane to get him from Indiana to California.

It is still not known how Kodak managed to travel all that distance by himself. Derrick would have found it very difficult to be able to get to the shelter was Kodak was being held. Airlines were also reluctant to fly Kodak without a chaperone because he is a pit bull mix and this is considered to be an aggressive breed of dog. It would have also been very expensive and Derrick and his partner were facing financial difficulties. There is no doubt that Derrick would have tried everything he could to have raised the money somehow, but luckily Pet Rescue Pilots were able to step in.

The cost of the flight back to Hawthorne would have cost more than $4000. Pet Rescue Pilots would have struggled to be able to afford this themselves and so they joined forces with the ASPCA who had also heard about Kodak being unable to get home. Nobody wanted Kodak to have to remain in the shelter when he had a loving home to go back to. Both organizations didn’t believe that Derrick and Kodak should be kept apart just because of Derrick’s financial situation. This must have been a huge relief for Derrick and he was incredibly grateful for the effort that these organizations went to.

The story could have been very different if Kodak had not had a microchip. When he arrived at the animal shelter, the first thing they would have done was scan for a chip. As the information on the chip was up to date, then the shelter were able to contact Derrick immediately and let him know that Kodak was safe and well. Pets become lost more often than you may realize and a microchip gives them the best chance of being returned to their owner.

The ASPCA believe that an implanted microchip combined with a collar with a visible ID tag is the most reliable way of identifying a pet that has been lost, as they explain on their website. They also want to adopt a standardized chip so that they can be read by all shelters and veterinary clinics in North America. The International Standards Organization (ISO) has specifications for standardized chips and readers that are widely used in many other countries. They are committed to helping create a co-ordinated response around the country in order to adopt these chips.

One of the main reasons why owners can’t be traced even if a pet does have a microchip is that they have not kept their details up to date. If any of your contact details change, then you need to let the microchip company know as soon as possible. This is something that Derrick did when he moved across the country and this enabled him and Kodak to be reunited. When the reunion happened it was clear to see that Derrick and Kodak were thrilled to see each other again. There have been things put in place to ensure that Kodak can’t accidentally be let out again. Everyone that was involved in the rescue and the reunion were just glad to see that the story had a happy ending.



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