When dogs fly: Toronto animal rescue looking for Winnipeg travellers to volunteer as flight companions

Flying to Toronto anytime soon?

An animal rescue in that city is looking for Winnipeggers to lend a helping paw.

The Animal Guardian Society is asking for passengers flying to Toronto with WestJet to become a flight companion for a rescue dog.

The society’s intake coordinator, Caroline Jewson, told 680 CJOB they’re are always looking for volunteer flight companions – a no-cost gig that doesn’t ‘ruff’ up your airport routine.

“Starting in November 2017, we started bringing in dogs from Manitoba, in the more remote communities in the north of Manitoba,” said Jewson.

“There’s a number of front line rescuers in Winnipeg who work with Indigenous communities to help dogs and the overpopulation problems in those communities.

“They bring them into Winnipeg, quarantine them, and then there’s a group of rescuers here in (Ontario) that get them ready to be adopted.

Jewson said all the flight companions have to do is volunteer, and the Animal Guardian Society does the rest. They call the airline, book the kennels on the volunteer’s ticket, and pay for everything. Companions will meet rescue workers at the airport, fill out a form, and that’s it.

The cost of shipping a dog with a flight companion, said Jewson, can often be three times cheaper than having the animal flown as cargo.

“It’s super easy, with no cost, and it really does help the dogs, for sure, and us as a rescue … the savings are immense for a small non-profit like ourselves.”

Since the program began two years ago, Jewson said close to 150 dogs have made the trip from Manitoba to Ontario – ranging in age from three weeks to five years – after being quarantined and vaccinated in Winnipeg.

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