No Dog Left Behind
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)