When I commented on how calm the dogs were, one of the volunteers said greyhounds are known as “45-mile-an-hour couch potatoes,” explaining that, although they do like to run at times, for the most part they’re calm, affectionate and laid-back dogs. The dogs and volunteers who were driving to the State College area left soon after I arrived at the airport, but I did get to spend some time with the three dogs going to Personalized Greyhound foster homes. They were all very friendly. Lois, a brindle greyhound, was what some in dog circles call a “leaner.” She would lean into my legs as I was petting her, or even when I was just standing next to her, as if she just wanted contact with someone. Money, a black female with a bit of white around her muzzle, seemed a bit more shy but was friendly. Kimbrel, a fawn-colored male greyhound, was very good at “posing” for photos. (I think he knows how handsome he is.) The pilot, Jason Hilt, stayed and talked with the volunteers and answered questions about his organization, The Brave Tide Foundation. He is an adjunct graduate school instructor at Cabrini College in Philadelphia, but makes several trips a month to fly greyhounds to adoption groups. Brave Tide also flies other dogs and cats to safety, as well as supplies and volunteers for emergency situations, but Hilt said right now it’s mostly greyhounds.
The plane is a 1970 single-engine Piper Cherokee Six, meaning it’s a six-seater, although the seats had been removed to create a large, padded area for the dogs. There is a crate on the plane, in case one of the dogs needs to be crated, but for the most part, the dogs are muzzled and can move around freely. There is a barrier between the pilot’s area and the dogs’ area, to ensure the dogs don’t decide to “help” to fly the plane.
Hilt said the plane goes about 180 miles an hour, “with a bit of a tailwind,” and can haul 1300 pounds. It was purchased with the help of a Petco Foundation grant.
“I fly most of the missions. My father (Dan Hilt) is also a pilot and assists on many flights,” Hilt said. “We also have other local pilots who volunteer their time to assist with missions when necessary.”
Hilt said the most animals in one Brave Tide flight was seven greyhounds. The longest flight was from Pottstown, PA, to Houston, TX, to transport one displaced borzoi.
“Since March 14, 2014, we have transported 42 dogs, covering a distance of over 13,000 nautical miles,” he said. “2014 total to date is 48 dogs and 14,800 miles traveled.”
As we were leaving the fenced-in area, we had to go through a gate made of black metal bars, and the dogs’ energy level seemed to increase. Lois was really pulling against her leash. As soon as they were through the gate and into the parking area, the dogs went back to being mellow again. I wonder if the gate reminded them of something at the racetrack?
ABOUT BRAVE TIDE:
The Brave Tide Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2012 providing humanitarian services including animal rescue and relocation, emergency preparedness, and educational programs.
The foundation coordinates with adoption agencies, humane societies, and rescue shelters to transport animals for rehoming, fostering and relocation. Animal transports are conducted based upon need and are funded through donations and grants. The average distance travelled is 500 to 1,000 miles, at a cost of $200 for large dogs and $100 for small dogs and cats. Overall, travel by air is more expensive than driving for trips greater than 500 miles, because of the higher cost of aviation fuel. But advantages include significantly less travel time resulting in less stress on the animals; more control over environmental conditions in the aircraft cabin vs. van or hauler; and the ability to deliver animals to multiple states in one day.
Brave Tide also transports volunteers and supplies to communities impacted by natural disasters and provides financial aid to high school seniors entering the fields of education, aviation, and veterinary medicine.
The foundation relies on volunteers for mission planning and coordination, fundraising and community outreach programs. If you’d like to help, send an email with contact information and a brief narrative about why you are interested in volunteering to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations toward transport costs are welcomed. You can donate $5, $10, or more to Brave Tide via PayPal or by check to:
Brave Tide Foundation Inc.
PO Box 735
Boyertown, PA 19512
For $100, donors can sponsor the transport of a specific greyhound and receive a boarding pass and sponsorship certificate with the dog’s photo, bio, and travel information. Check bravetide.org to see photos and info on animals needing transport sponsors. You can also get updates on Brave Tide’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/bravetide.
ABOUT PERSONALIZED GREYHOUNDSPersonalized Greyhounds Inc. is a Pennsylvania 501(C)3) nonprofit providing greyhound adoption services in the Harrisburg area and in other parts of Central Pennsylvania, suburban Philadelphia and northern Maryland. Staff consists entirely of volunteers. Personalized Greyhounds was founded in January 1995 by Peggy Levin.
Camp Hill, Dover and Dillsburg:
Janice Matthews, president
717-249-2914 or 717-243-5121
Personalized Greyhounds usually has around 10 foster homes, four or five of which foster continuously.
For more information, visit www.pgreys.org.
UPCOMING PG EVENTS:
- Greyhound Walkabouts are held at 2 p.m. on the last Sunday of each month at at various area parks. It’s a nice way to spend an hour or so with other adopters and for the hounds to say hello to one another too. David Miller organizes the walks and sends out an email to the Yahoo group listing the monthly location. All are welcome to stroll along.
- Greyhounds in Gettysburg takes place April 24 to 27 at the Allstar Expo Center/Eisenhower Hotel in Gettysburg. This event has become the largest greyhound reunion in the country and 2014 will be the 16th year for this educational, social, and ]shopping event. For details, visit www.greyhoundsingettysburg.org.
- Personalized Greyhounds will be featured as the Community Organization of the Game for the Senators baseball game on Thursday, May 1, at Metro Bank Park in Harrisburg. PG volunteers will be introducing greyhounds to the public on the “Boardwalk,” and will be on the “big screen” for a pre-game on-field interview and on the radio for an interview between innings.
- The 19th annual Personalized Greyhounds picnic and fundraiser will be May 31. The event will include food, Chinese and silent auctions, a 50/50 drawing and a drawing for a $200 Bon-Ton gift certificate. Vendors will include Veronica King, Balance Photography and the PG Houndware Store. K9 Pearly Whites will provide anesthesia-free dental cleaning services for the hounds in their mobile clinic. Cleanings are by appointment only and can be scheduled online at www.k9pearlywhites.com.
- The Grapehound Wine Tour Virginia will be May 9 to 11 about 12 miles south of Leesburg, Virginia. This year the host winery is Quattro Gombas Winery. Quattro Gombas has a tasting room, a basement social area, a large barn social area where they bake pizzas, and acres of field parking. Vendors will be open on Saturday and Sunday, May 10 and 11, and Personalized Greyhounds will be there with the Houndware Store. There will also be a social tent for visiting and relaxing. Visit www.grapehounds.com for details. There will also be a Grapehound Wine Tour July 24 to 27 in Seneca Lake, New York.
- Personalized Greyhounds holds meet-and-greets at various times and locations. For details, visit www.pgreys.org/meet_and_greets.htm.