Jamie Dulick obtained his pilot's license as a way to overcome a fear of flying, but since earning his wings, the New Albany resident has made it his mission to rescue dogs in danger of being euthanized.
Dulick, 58, works through nonprofit organization Pilots N Paws to learn about dogs in need of transport to "forever" homes or foster homes. Pilots N Paws is intended to be an online resource to help volunteers coordinate rescue flights and other efforts, according to its website, pilotsnpaws.org.
He said he has transported 50 or more dogs on rescue flights.
"They know what's going on, and it brings me a joy that I can't find anywhere else," he said.
Dulick, who lives in New Albany with his wife, Kristin Scott, and his son, Cooper, 17, said he has always been fascinated with flight. Despite that, he described himself as an "uncomfortable flyer" who became anxious about turbulence during air travel.
He said he decided if he learned how to fly himself, he would be a bit more comfortable.
Dulick now owns an Eclipse 500, a small jet, but he began flying in 2005, starting with a Cirrus-brand aircraft.
After joining an organization for Cirrus owners and pilots in 2007, he read online discussions about pilots planning volunteer animal-rescue flights for Pilots N Paws. He said he has been performing rescue flights ever since, for roughly a decade.
His flights often take him across state lines.
A few weeks ago, Dulick worked with Adeline Syring, president and founder of Columbus-based nonprofit North American Rescue Collective, to coordinate the transportation of three dogs from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, to Akron.
Syring said her organization often works with Pilots N Paws. In this case, the goal was to find placement for a litter of puppies, she said.
Dulick's efforts saved hours of driving for those involved, Syring said. Flying also is a less stressful travel alternative for dogs, she said.
"Without these pilots, some dogs would not make it out of shelters alive, and their importance to rescue missions cannot be understated," she said.
Dulick said he has flown as far as Kansas, and he tries to coordinate rescue flights in conjunction with flights for his work. He runs a division of In Mocean Group LLC, a private-label swimwear company, and his work requires him to use the plane to travel to meetings in New York, Minneapolis and other parts of the country.
He said he tries to conduct dog rescues at least once a month, but it all depends on his work schedule.
Often a couple of months after his dog rescues, Dulick said, he receives photos from fosters or adopters so he can see how the dogs he has helped are doing.
"To get those updates just really warms your heart," he said.
Dulick has three dogs, two of which are rescues.
He said his family has had Rosie, an American bulldog, since she was about 8 weeks old, and she's now 8 1/2 years old, Dulick said.
The family adopted Gus, a French bulldog who is now 3 1/2 years old, after losing a previous French bulldog, Moose, to cancer. After contacting rescue organizations for another French bulldog, Dulick said, he learned of Gus, who was a throwaway from a puppy mill in Kansas.
Gus has had two heart operations but is doing well now, Dulick said.
The family's most recent addition, Frankie, is another French bulldog Dulick adopted when she was without a home and in danger of going to a shelter while her previous owner was dealing with serious health issues, Dulick said.
His family began fostering Frankie, who is 9 to 10 months old now, and adopted her in December, he said.
Dulick, who keeps his Eclipse 500 at Signature Flight Support at John Glenn Columbus International Airport, also uses the jet to help humans, transporting patients to hospitals and working through Veterans Airlift Command to transport wounded war veterans to the main veterans hospital, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
The Veterans Airlift Command, through volunteers, provides free transportation to post-9/11 combat-wounded veterans and their families for medical reasons and other compassionate purposes, according to its website.
Dulick said he had no military ties other than his father and grandfather. He said his father, Thomas L. Dulick, served in the U.S. Air Force, and his grandfather, Andrew A. Dulick, served in the U.S. Navy.
"Just another way that I can give back," he said.