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About Pilot.dog « Pilot.dog


What We Are

We are a husband and wife team who formed a nonprofit group to fly and rescue dogs. We’ve made a lot of friends along the way and meet so many kind, warm, and compassionate people that we wanted to start this nonprofit organization to share their stories. We do not have additional pilots as part of Pilot.dog. It’s just us.

What We Are Not

Pilot.dog is not a transportation organization site like some other sites. We leave the transportation organization up to groups that specialize in those sorts of things. The transportation website that we think is the best for rescues, shelters, pilots, driver, and dogs is Doobert.com.


The Pilot.dog Foundation was founded in 2015 by Steve & Pam Rhode and a trusty IFR certified 1974 Cessna 182. It’s a cool mission with a cool plane.

Pam Rhode – Pam has loved dogs for as long as she can remember. Pam has always had a dog in her home. In her former life (corporate) Pam was the Director of Why and How for a large non-profit organization. That is why she’s perfect as our Logistics Coordinator. Pam’s attention to detail in every aspect of our flights are crucial to the success of saving as many dogs as we possibly can with as little stress for the dogs and us. She is 100% focused on caring for the dogs inflight and passing out oodles of love and hugs.

Steve Rhode – Steve is an instrument rated pilot and has been involved in compassionate care in one form or another his entire life. He’s been a medical professional, medical author, founded and was the Chairman of a large national 501(c)3 national non-profit organization, consumer financial expert, personal finance author and has been interviewed by the media like crazy. Oh yes, and he loves dogs. That could explain the three dogs Pam and Steve have at home.


What began as a simple act of love to save dogs in trouble, later became a registered nonprofit foundation and a recognized IRS 501(c)(3) charity.

We Take Flying Seriously

Public Benefit Flying

And we are a proud member of the Air Care Alliance, an association of charitable aviation groups who fly for compassion and community service.


But then where would we be without our amazing and trusty aircraft. Our fleet consists of just one plane named “Dude” after our beloved dog who has now passed. And while the plane may not be brand new, he’s tried and true. The aircraft is equipped with modern instrumentation and meets all FAA inspection requirements. Both the pilots and our beloved canine passengers find her comfortable, reliable, and a critical member of the team.

The trusty Pilot.dog airplane taxing in from another successful dog rescue flight.

The trusty Pilot.dog airplane taxing in from another successful dog rescue flight.

Board of Directors

Jenny Bennett, D.V.M.

Jenny Bennett, D.V.M.

Dr. Jenny Bennett is one of the most caring and compassionate veterinarians you will ever meet. In fact we know her well since she has lovingly cared for our three dogs, through thick and thin. Dr. Bennett is on staff at the Wake Forest Animal Hospital and is a dog lover, but has a soft spot in her heart for cats as well. Dr. Bennett donates her time to our cause by being a director but also being on-call whenever we need the advice of a skilled veterinarian for one of our transports.

Dr. Shawn Phelan

Dr. Shawn Phelan

Dr. Shawn Phelan is an animal lover at heart. By his own admission, if he won the largest lottery ever he would buy all the land he could to home animals facing death in shelters with no capacity. When our own dog was having spinal issues, Dr. Phelan helped with excellent advice and guidance. Our dog Dude is walking again. Just goes to show you what an amazing doctor he is at Wake Forest Chiropractic.

Fire Chief Ron Early

Fire Chief Ron Early

Ron Early is the fire chief of the rapidly expanding Wake Forest Fire Department and is an exceptional leader of professional rescue and lifesaving services. Under his leadership the Wake Forest Fire Department. The Wake Forest Firefighters consistently demonstrate a personal commitment to protect the quality of life and to protect property in both Wake Forest. Chief Early is also very interested in aviation, a passion he shares with his son. Chief Early is also a member of the Civil Air Patrol.

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Howard Dvorkin has been honored by many organizations and has been named a Laureate in the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame, which honors community leaders who have achieved business excellence, vision and innovation while inspiring courageous leadership and community responsibility. Howard was appointed to the Executive Board of the United Way of Broward County due to his philanthropic contributions to the South Florida community. He was formerly the Chairman Elect for the Board of Directors of the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida, and a founding member of the South Florida American Heart Association Board of Directors.

Gerry Arner, CPPS

Gerry Arner, CPPS

Gerry Arner is a dog care professional and co-owner of Pet ‘n Nanny, a totally awesome certified pet care company. Gerry volunteers with the Franklin County Humane Society, Wake County SPCA, North Carolina Special Olympics and Safe Haven for Cats. Pet ‘n Nanny recently partnered with the Coalition to Unchain Dogs as their dedicated non-profit for 2015 for fundraising as well as volunteer efforts. Gerry lives in Downtown Wake Forest with his wife, Shannon, and his two dogs Pharrell and Betty White, and cat Wilson. Checkout his cool Instagram account.

Watch Pilot.dog TV

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