The doctors had given her the unfortunate news that her time on this earth was limited. As a result, the pilot made arrangements for her to travel 400 miles to be reunited with her loving adoptive family. Their goal was to provide her with all the love and attention she needed during the remaining days of her life.
Ashlyn, an elderly dog who was residing in a shelter in North Carolina, was going through a tough phase. She had lost a lot of weight and was diagnosed with sarcomas – a type of cancer that forms malignant tumors under the skin. But things took a turn for the better when the New England Humane Society (NEHS) found a perfect home for her to spend her remaining days in comfort. To make Ashlyn’s journey to her new home as comfortable as possible, Paul Steklenski, the founder of Flying Fur Animal Rescue (FFAR), decided to fly her on his plane.
As Steklenski soared through the skies with Ashlyn by his side, a feeling of melancholy crept over him. He couldn’t shake off the thought that this may be Ashlyn’s final flight. Although he was no novice to ferrying puppies to shelters for adoption, an undertaking he regularly performs with a troop of 15 to 30 canines, it was the older dogs that tugged at his heartstrings. In his opinion, senior dogs needed extra consideration due to the difficulties they faced while in transit.
Ashlyn was feeling uneasy about the upcoming two-hour journey. Steklenski observed that she appeared a little hesitant at first, but eventually became more at ease and comfortable with him. To help her relax, he offered her some dog treats, which she happily accepted and even extended her paws to him in gratitude.
According to Steklenski, his furry friend would often lay her head on his lap, and this small act of affection held immense significance for him. He viewed it as the greatest form of appreciation. It all started in 2013 when he decided to take up flying as a pastime and also welcomed his four-legged buddy into his life. Initially unrelated, these two elements gradually grew together to become an unbreakable bond.
Steklenski discovered a significant difference between pet stores and animal shelters after visiting them. He was taken aback by the large number of animals in need at the shelters and decided to use his new hobby to help. Ashlyn, a rescued dog, wouldn’t have been able to recover as well without his assistance. Initially, she was believed to require hospitalization, but thanks to her successful recovery, her rescuers now believe she has more time than previously anticipated. Lander, a seasoned dog foster parent who already owned three dogs, was heartbroken to see Ashlyn’s condition when she arrived from the airport. She had lost 39 pounds, and her ideal weight ranged from 65 to 70 pounds. When Lander removed Ashlyn’s sweater, she could see each of her ribs.
Lander took on the task of helping Ashlyn with her weight gain and various health issues by feeding her thrice a day and providing her with vitamins. Gradually, Ashlyn started to become more active and improved her eating habits. She even started cuddling with Angel and got the attention of Xander, who licked her. Although they weren’t sure how long Ashlyn would stay when she first arrived in January, the Landers now see her as a reminder to live in the moment and appreciate each day. Most importantly, Ashlyn is aware that she is cherished by the Landers. Steklenski’s kind deed of transporting Ashlyn to her new home transformed her from a shelter dog into a member of a loving family. He continues to aid animals in need to this day.
Steklenski shared how he never thought he would discover something so incredible and satisfying, which now holds the spotlight in his life.