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Pilot Takes To The Skies On A Mission To Help Animals

By Anita Oh

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (CBS) -- To Paul Steklenski, this isn't just any flight. It's a one-man rescue operation.

"It changes you."

A year and a half ago, Steklenski took his passion as a pilot to new heights.

"It's a small impact, but it's something."

After adopting his Labrador mix, Tessa, he realized the overwhelming need to save pets from high-kill shelters.

"A few days made the difference of whether they lived or they didn't."

So, he started Flying Fur Animal Rescue. A non-profit that flies animals from overcrowded shelters to ones that can help place them in permanent homes in our region.

Since May 2015, Paul has made dozens of trips along the east coast and so far, he's saved 377 pets.

And while the cost of biweekly trips can quickly soar, "I pay about $1000 a month out of my own pocket to do this."

He says it's worth every cent, and every second, in the cockpit.

"Peter was found tied up and abandoned in New York. He only lived for three days after that, just knowing we made a difference in his life, spent a few days with a family and other pets, it makes a difference."

The goal is to buy a plane dedicated to this cause, so far he's raised a fifth of the cost.

"It can hold twice the amount of animals and fly faster."

But most of all, he looks forward to the future.

"The best day that could ever come is when we don't have to do this anymore."

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