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Air Buds take flight

Wake Forest couple flies rescue dogs to new homes

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WAKE FOREST — Anne Zeneski and her husband Andrew are passionate about helping pups in need. Together, they live out that passion in the air.

The Wake Forest couple spends many weekends flying rescue dogs to new homes as members of Pilots N Paws, which is an organization of volunteer pilots that work together to transport thousands of dogs each year to safety across the country.

Andrew owns a pilot’s license, and Anne says the pair flies their private plane many weekends, depending on the weather, to aid rescues. There is a lot of coordination involved with planning the flights, as the volunteers sometimes have to meet other pilots halfway due to distance. They travel up and down the east coast of the U.S. to transport the dogs.

“Most of our flights involve other pilots because it’s such a long distance and you have to coordinate,” Zeneski said. “You have to coordinate getting other pilots, say from New York, they have to come down and meet you in Maryland, or if you’re going to Vermont you would need another pilot.”

The couple began flying for Pilots N Paws in 2014, and they have two rescues of their own — Abigail, a Yorkshire terrier, and Scarlett, a lab.

The two pups fly with Anne and Andrew on their rescue trips and Anne says they often act as calming companions to the dogs they transport because they’re used to air travel.

“Those dogs, some of them, you can tell they’re scared and nervous,” Zeneski said. “It’s really neat, Abigail will be (in the back of the plane) playing, talking and napping and their whole attitude transforms from the time we pick them up. It’s almost like they know they’re going to safety.”

In addition to their flying adventures, Anne and Andrew are also involved in dog fashion. The pair will host a Spring Doggie Fashion Show on Saturday during downtown Wake Forest’s Dirt Day event. The fashion show, which will feature rescue dogs, is slated for 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Cotton Company, S. White St., Wake Forest.

“I wanted to get as many rescue dogs as I could to model, because that’s what our focus is,” Zeneski said. “Everything is going back into rescuing more dogs.”

To check out the couple’s dog boutique website, visit gatenineboutique.com. For more information about Pilots N Paws, visit pilotsnpaws.org.

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