Wags to Riches

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Lynn Dix leads Zeus to board the plane that will take him and other rescues to new homes in the Hamptons. Volunteer pilots make the trek to rehome the animals. Photo by Nathan Wilson

Natchitoches pooches embark on flight to the Hamptons
Nathan Wilson | Reporter

Led by Juanita Murphy, the Natchitoches Humane Society chartered a flight for five lucky dogs to travel to East Hampton New York for adoption. She, two pilots and other volunteers prepared the dogs for a trip aboard a Beechcraft Bonanza in the morning hours of March 15.

This article published in the March 17, 2022, print edition

Pilots Jan Brentjens and Charles Canavan discussed weather conditions and their flight plan prior to loading their passengers aboard the plane. Both are flying their canine charges as volunteers; Brentjens is a flight instructor and Canavan is a pilot for Delta’s regional airline service. After refueling and performing preflight checks, they loaded the pups aboard the aircraft while asking other volunteers for the weight of each dog.
Prior to embarkation, volunteers walked the dogs around the taxiway to work off the excitement they had picked up from their human companions. Describing Zeus as the trip’s “hero”, Murphy related his story. Zeus was a test dog for two years in Northwestern State University’s vet tech program. While he wasn’t mistreated, his life at NSU consisted of living in a kennel until a student there reached out to Murphy to find him a new home. She noted that as the last aboard, Zeus would count as the 33rd dog to board a plane flown by Brentjens and Canavan, but that cities like East Hampton had arranged to take many more in the past.
Calm and dignified, Zeus’s demeanor stood in stark contrast to the excitement of the volunteers and the other dogs prior to the flight. Murphy slipped photos of his girlfriend, Nina, in among his paperwork. In Murphy’s early photos, Nina was emaciated, having been rescued from the edge of starvation. Murphy hoped that a third photo of Nina healthy and strong would entice an offer to find a home for her too. “You never know what they’ll do, ‘Well we want her next.” she said.