(NewsNation Now) — Little did U.S. Army veteran Paul Steklenski know his decision to adopt Tessa, a rescue dog, in 2013 would change his life forever.
It was through the adoption process that he learned about a network of people who volunteer their time and money getting dogs out of kill shelters — where an animal is put down once the shelter is full or after a certain period of time.
After learning there are states on the East Coast that do not allow shelters to kill animals, Steklenski committed himself to a new mission: flying animal rescues.
“I saw this need,” Steklenski said of his decision during an appearance on “Morning in America.” “Transportation is sometimes the defining factor whether or not they live or die.”
As a pilot, Steklenski realized he had the ability to transport animals “for the cost of going out to dinner or a pair of sneakers to fly an airplane for an hour.”
“It just snowballed from there,” he said.
Typically transporting animals two times a month, Steklenski’s efforts have successfully rescued over 2,000 animals.
Now with an airplane, a bus and a custom third ground vehicle, “it is however we can get it done,” Steklenski said.
When asked if he considers animal rescue his calling, “I do,” he says. “I tell people, I didn’t choose this path, it was chosen for me.”
All thanks to Tessa.
You can find more information on the website: flyingfuranimalrescue.org