Scruffy and Roscoe on live-saving mission

 

Pilot Brian Mulrooney, a volunteer with the animal rescue organization Pilots n Paws, sits behind the controls of his M20-J aircraft with his travelling companion Roscoe before leaving an airport in Bloomington, Ill. Thursday morning for Princeton. Photo provided

Pilot Brian Mulrooney, a volunteer with the animal rescue organization Pilots n Paws, sits behind the controls of his M20-J aircraft with his travelling companion Roscoe before leaving an airport in Bloomington, Ill. Thursday morning for Princeton.
Photo provided

By Jeffrey Hage
Town & Country

The wet nose of Roscoe was pressed against the glass of Brian Mulrooney’s 1981 M20-J aircraft as it landed Thursday afternoon at the Princeton airport.

Roscoe jumped into the seat of the small plane earlier Thursday morning at an airport in Bloomington, Ill.

In a carrier in the back of the plane was Scruffy, a terrier too

Three-year-old terrier Scruffy appeared to be in a happy disposition at the Princeton Municipal Airport Thursday, June 27, after arriving in Princeton from an overcrowded shelter in kentucky. Jeffrey Hage / Town & Country

Three-year-old terrier Scruffy appeared to be in a happy disposition at the Princeton Municipal Airport Thursday, June 27, after arriving in Princeton from an overcrowded shelter in Kentucky.
Jeffrey Hage / Town & Country

small and excited to be loose in Mulrooney’s plane during the flight to Princeton.

The flight was the first leg of a journey toward better lives for Roscoe and Scruffy, who earlier in the day were housed in an over-crowded animal shelter in Kentucky.

It was a good flight, Mulrooney said, with Scruffy resting peacefully in his carrier and Roscoe looking out the window of the plane from high up in the sky.

“He was looking out the window trying to figure out what those big white things were,” Mulrooney said, referring to the clouds.

The dogs began their day at the Taylor County Animal Shelter in Campbellsville, Ky. Volunteer drivers picked up the dogs and drove them from Campbellsville to the airport in Bloomington, Ill., said Azure Davis, president of Princeton-based Ruff Start Rescue.

The animal shelter has long been the target of an investigation into severe animal abuse, the brutal killing of dogs and cats, botched euthanasia and animals being buried alive, according to WAVE television news in Campbellsville. In April, the animal shelter was closed to the public and became a holding shelter where animals are kept only until they are transferred out to shelters or animal rescue groups.

The Taylor County shelter is now under new management, but that the facility is overflowing with animals, Davis said.

“This leaves only one option for the confused and scared animals being held there: one by one, they are euthanized for space to make room for more,” Davis said.

Volunteers at the Taylor County shelter reached out to Ruff Start Rescue for help in placing some of their dogs. That’s how Roscoe and Scruffy came to Princeton.

The Kentucky shelter enlisted the help of volunteer pilots from the organization Pilots n Paws to help get the two dogs to Princeton. That’s where Mulrooney and his 1981 Mooney J (M20-J) come into the picture.

Mulrooney, of Wayzata, is a pilot for Delta Airlines. He owns the M20-J and calls the Crystal Airport his home base.

Mulrooney just recently began flying for Pilots n Paws. Thursday’s flight with Roscoe and Scruffy was his fifth rescue flight. His goal is to run a rescue mission about once a month.

Upon landing at the Princeton Municipal Airport, Mulrooney took Roscoe from his seat and handed the carrier in the back to Davis. Scruffy, 3 years old, was then removed from his carrier and given to a Ruff Start volunteer.

The two dogs were immediately taken for a walk and given some water. They then waited at the airport with the Ruff Start staff, waiting for foster families to arrive to take the dogs off to their new homes.

In all, seven dogs, including Roscoe and Scruffy, are coming to Princeton and Ruff Start Rescue from Campbellsville, Davis said.

Terriers Gremlin and Fuzzi arrived by ground transportation from Campbellsville on Sunday, June 23. Bunny and Turtle, 5-month-old brother and sister beagles, are set to arrive next week along with a 6-month-old female blue heeler named Jilly.