No Dog Left Behind

Mission Statement:

What We Do:

What began as one dog on an airplane several years ago has evolved into an organization that has rescued over 14,000 animals in the air and on the land while also providing educational and equipment grants to spread our mission to enhance the lives of people by empowering them to help animals

Since 2006 we have been on the front lines helping give a second chance to animals. Through this experience we have learned first hand of the challenges of starting a non-profit organization, creating best practices, and building something that is sustainable. 

As we look towards the future we recognize that our experiences should be used to help fuel a new generation of like minded individuals. Our mission has evolved to help foster more Transports through grants, create more potential rescue pilots through scholarships, and continue our core mission to safely fly and drive at-risk animals to a second chance. 

Today thousands of animals every year are given a second chance thanks to grassroots organizations like ours who find a way to make a difference.  Over the last few years the number of animals euthanized has dropped significantly due to ordinary people jumping in to help transport animals from danger to safety. Leveraging our experiences to plant the seeds of hope is the next chapter for No Dog Left Behind. 

How It All Began

The seeds were planted in 2006 when best friends Jonathan Plesset and Brad Childs needed to find a creative way to use the skills they learned earning their pilots licenses. The duo began seeking out charitable missions that would benefit from the use of an airplane. A phone call from a friend about a 90 pound bulldog named Monte that needed transport to a “furever” home was the inspiration that started it all.  

Each weekend the two friends would set out to rescue animals in their tiny airplane. Missions would last a few hours and the guys would be lucky to squeeze 6 animals in their plane. As time went on Jonathan and Brad recognized that they could really make an impact if they formalized their weekend operation into an actual non-profit. 

Formally Becoming A Non-Profit

In 2012, after learning the ins and outs of the rescue world, and experiencing some of the pitfalls, the guys saw an opportunity to create a new kind of animal welfare organization. Thousands of animals in neighboring states were being euthanized because no one could afford to transport these animals. The two pilots started offering free air transport to qualified non- profit shelters for any animal whose time was running out. In order to grow this concept and continue to offer their service for free they needed to be able to bring in funding from outside sources. Brad and Jonathan, along with their wives, Linda and Megan, decided to formally apply for 501(c)(3) status. A little over a year later they were granted their non-profit status and the guys began the process of building the organization under the name Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team which was later renamed No Dog Left Behind in 2021. 

The team started out picking up animals from nearby shelters and delivering them to their new homes. Soon they were transporting 10 to 15 animals at a time with multiple airplanes. In order to make the trips more efficient they would pack the empty planes with food and supplies and deliver them to these same shelters that were desperate for help. Through the use of social media, No Dog Left Behind began getting requests from all over the country to transport rescued animals. They have flown thousands of animals since their inception, the majority are dogs, but the team also rescue cats, sea turtles, and the occasional pig or python.

(Linda Childs, Brad Childs, Megan Plesset, Jonathan Plesset)

The Need To Help

According to the ASPCA 1.5 million animals (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats) are euthanized each year in shelters all over the United States. 6.5 Million animals enter US shelters each year and approximately 3.2 million animals are adopted. The reasons for such dire numbers have a lot to do with our culture and the limited resources available to help animals. To help alleviate some of these numbers organizations all over the world have taken multiple approaches including promoting spay and neuter, better education, and more allocating more capital for expanding shelter space.

No Dog Left Behind was created to help on the solve some of these issues hands on and on the front lines. Everyday shelters are brining in animals in numbers sometimes higher than they are adopting them out. This can be due to a situations where the shelter is in a low population density area or the shelter is simply too small to handle the incoming pet population. Shelters faced with this crisis have two options, find other shelters with space and try and transfer the animals there or euthanize the animals. Unfortunately the cost to euthanize is much lower than the cost to transport.

No Dog Left Behind was created to give shelters a new option, free transport of the animals scheduled to be euthanized. Our team is contacted and we arrange to try and empty the shelter and bring these animals into a no-kill shelter in an higher population area where these animals can be adopted. This has a doubling effect since the space we open in that shelter prolongs the time other animals have to be adopted and opens up space to bring animals in from the streets. Each year we help thousands of animals make this journey from danger to safety.

The Organization Spreads Its Wings

In 2022 No Dog Left Behind embarked on its most exciting chapter by expanding  into an organization that helps those wishing to follow in its footsteps.  When the organization started there were little to no resources available to help transport organizations. NDLB had to invent a lot of the practices since others were unable to help. In order to create a better path for tomorrow’s rescuers NDLB expanded to offer assistance to shelters, prospective animal rescue pilots, and people like ourselves who are starting out trying to help animals and are in need of funding.

No Dog Left Behind provides this assistance in three different ways. 

Rescue Operations

Our team of drivers and pilots help safely transport thousands of animals each year. Between the air and the land our teams deploy on the front lines to assist animals in need. 

Transport Equipment Grants

NDLB offers 501(c)(3) organizations grants for the purchase of transport vehicles to help move adoptable animals from high risk areas to low risk ones. 

Pilot Education Scholarships

At the heart of where we came from lies a Pilot. Helping people with a desire to help animals and a passion to become a pilot is at the forefront of our desires to pay it forward. NDLB offers prospective pilots with educational scholarships to learn to fly in exchange for a commitment to support rescue efforts in the future.

NDLB Transport Grants

Since we started transporting animals from danger to safety the needs of animals and shelters have changed. The distances involved and the complexity of the transports have grown. One organization can only do so much when the needs spread beyond drivable and flyable distances. To help bridge the distances, NDLB is ready to empower shelters and small transport teams by providing help with the resources they need to safely and economically transport animals in the geographic footprint they serve. By doing so we can expand our footprint by creating new teams in geographically ideal locations throughout the country.

The NDLB transport grant is intended to help with the initial costs of deploying a rescue vehicle. This seed money can be used for the down payment on a rescue vehicle, equipping the vehicle for transport, and getting the program started. In many cases this initial commitment can be used as a fundraising catalyst to help cover the rest of the costs of creating a transport team.

Primary Transport Grant Requirements For Existing Shelters & Groups

  • Must be a 501(c)(3) entity in good standing with an up to date letter of determination.
  • Must be in an area of our focus, primarily over 500 miles south of Pittsburgh, PA. 
  • Demonstrate the financial health to support the ongoing maintenance and insurance of the transport vehicle
  • Adhere to and adopt the NDLB Safe Transport guidelines and procedures.
  • Explain in detail how your organization is going to help transport at-risk animals
  • Provide to the committee examples of other shelters or groups for which you have relationships with that can either receive or send animals.

Click here to apply for the NDLB Transport Grant

NDLB Education Grants

Creating the next generation of pilots who can use their skills to help animals is near and dear to our heart. It’s in our DNA as an organization. Over the next decade the need for pilots is going to be at an all time high. Helping offset the costs of pursuing this as a career while creating compassionate pilots is our goal. Applicants for the NDLB Education Grant must demonstrate the desire to use their pilot skills in the future to help not only animals, but others who need the unique help that someone who can fly possesses. 

In conjunction with flight school, aviation colleges, and flying clubs our goal is to provide underserved communities help in offsetting the costs of advancing beyond your private pilot license. As a part of that help we require that the applicant demonstrate to us a willingness to give back my helping their community. This help is encouraged to be through shelter work, helping with animals in some way, or even fostering one of the animals we bring in on a mission.

Aviation Education Grant Requirements

  • Must be 17 years of age or older
  • Hold a Private Pilot License
  • Hold a current FAA Second Class Medical
  • Already accepted into an aviation program, enrolled at a flight school, or already under the instruction of a CFI with a commitment to pursuing your Commercial, Instrument, or Multi-Engine Rating
  • Secured some of the financing needed to complete the aviation license you are working towards
  • Demonstrated a willingness to help animals through volunteer work, adoption of a shelter animal, or the care for a pet
  • Completed 10 hours of volunteer work for a local shelter, assist in an animal rescue, or equivalent animal welfare work.
  • A commitment to “pay it forward” by donating flight time in the future to help your community. (animal rescue flights, compassion flights, ect)

If you have questions about the grants or the process please email

Click here to apply for the NDLB Education Grant

Tax Information

Thank you for you interest in No Dog Left Behind! We strive to be as transparent as possible with our donors and the public. Your support has been instrumental in helping us save thousands of animals. When we originally filed to be a non-profit there was a typo in our name. We corrected the issue back in 2013 but still see the issue pop up from time to time. Our official name is No Dog Left Behind. Occasionally though we are displayed on forms as Pittsburgh Animal Aviation Rescue Team. While we would love to see animals aviate it is just not possible…yet Please note that these two names are the same entity, us!

No Dog Left Behind is a 501c(3) Charity. Our Tax ID is 45-5576740

Click here for our Letter of Determination

No Dog Left Behind 990 Disclosure

Click here for our 2014 990 Tax Return

Click here for our 2015 990 Tax Return

Click here for our 2016 990 Tax Return

Click here for our 2017 990 Tax Return

Click here for our 2018 990 Tax Return

Click here for our 2019 990 Tax Return

Click here for our 2020 990 Tax Return

No Dog Left Behind Community Outreach

At No Dog Left Behind, we feel strongly about animal welfare and have a responsibility to children and community members to help educate them about responsible pet ownership and some of the improper treatment that goes on. We have presented to Sunday schools and church groups as well as elementary classrooms and participants have shown enthusiasm and interest in our message.

Our program aims to inform groups about animal rescue and uses captivating photos and real-life experiences to stress the importance of giving back and caring for those that can’t take care of themselves, regardless of skin or fur color. Showing how participants can make an impact, the program can also include trips to the Allegheny County Airport to see the plane the animals are transported in or have a fundraising component to donate food and supplies or sponsor a flight.

A great example of a community member giving back to No Dog Left Behind occurred when a 7-year-old boy heard about our mission and decided to collect money for our charity in lieu of getting birthday presents. He collected a total of $575 and even made a trip out to see the plane and meet the pilots and pets!

We’re hoping to spread the word even further through our program. If we can reach one person, to save one more life, then we’re fulfilling our mission. Contact us at if you are interested in a program for your group or want to help us out.

For media inquires please email Jonathan Plesset at

Press Pics

Download High-Res Press Images


Watch the team on Inside Edition

CBS Pittsburgh Covers No Dog Left Behind

CBS Pittsburgh Covers Hurricane Florence Rescue

ABC Pittsburgh Covers Hurricane Harvey Rescue

Kids from the Western PA School For The Deaf Visit No Dog Left Behind

NBC Pittsburgh Covers Hurricane Harvey Rescue

ABC San Antonio Covers Hurricane Harvey Rescue

CBS Pittsburgh Covers Hurricane Harvey Rescue

FOX On The Point Covers a Mission

23 Sea Turtle Rescue

No Dog Left Behind Assists in Hurricane Harvey Rescue

No Dog Left Behind helps rescue 44 dogs from a Korean Meat Market

Pittsburgh Live Interview Dog Days of Summer

Pittsburgh Live Interview With Jonathan Plesset and Brad Childs

Pittsburgh Live Interview with No Dog Left Behind

No Dog Left Behind’s Quasimodo Rescue on CBS

Quasimodo’s Rescue on NBC

CBS News coverage of Jonathan and Brad

Print and Web

The Huffington Post feature article on No Dog Left Behind

The Daily Mail in the UK covers the Quasimodo story

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Covers Hurricane Harvey Rescue

AOPA Pilot Magazone Profile on No Dog Left Behind

Pittsburgh Tribune Review Covers Hurricane Harvey Rescue

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Covers a Rescue Mission

City Paper Covers No Dog Left Behind Story On No Dog Left Behind

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Covers The Dog Days of Summer Fundraiser

Tribune-Review Covers The Dog Days of Summer Fundraiser

Tribune-Review covers the team and fundraiser

Pittsburgh Magazine covers No Dog Left Behind

Whirl Magazine Cover and No Dog Left Behind Story

Care2 does a great article on the No Dog Left Behind Team

The Jewish Chronicle does a feature article on the No Dog Left Behind Team

Lancaster Online covers a multi-plane, multi-state rescue


Pet Life Radio Interview with No Dog Left Behind

Hear No Dog Left Behind on Radio Pet Lady