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Fido Take the Controls: Dogs Might Fly

Posted by Sarah Simonovich on

Teaching Dogs to Fly

You might be familiar with the adynaton, -when pigs fly,- but how familiar are you with the notion of flying dogs?

While Fido may not be sprouting wings any time soon, a select group of dogs in the UK have shed their limitations of four paws on the ground in exchange for a go in a plane.

Now, certainly there isn't anything particularly special about a dog in a plane; people fly their pooches all the time, and many famous animals have traveled through air, like  Gilmore the Lion. Not to mention some animals have been in space: The Soviet Union has launched several dogs into space as part of their program, and even NASA launched primates into space, such as Ham the chimpanzee.

What's so different about these dogs?

Well, for one, these canines have learned how to fly.

Perhaps a more accurate statement would be to say these dogs were trained to fly a plane, because it's hard to say whether or not the dogs themselves have the capacity to understand that they are in control of the plane, versus just being obedient little fluffs, understand?

Dogs Might Fly

Curiosity might have killed the cat, but it certainly didn't stop the folks over at Sky1, an entertainment TV channel in in the United Kingdom and Ireland, from making a TV show aptly titled Dogs Might Fly.

Mark Vette, the animal psychologist mastermind behind teaching dogs to drive, is back at it again, only this time instead of a Mini, man's BFFs get into the cockpit of a single-engine Cessna 182.

A team of expert dog trainers scoured the kennels throughout the U.K., looking for the best and the brightest (and unfortunately unwanted) dogs to train for potential flight-and stardom. They started with 12 mutts of varying mixes (no pedigrees in this lot) and tested their communication skills and empathy, as well as their tolerance for speed and heights.  From the initial dozen, 3 top dogs outshone the rest and made the cut for flight simulation training.

The three pooches in question are Alfie, a collie/lurcher mix; Reggie, a German Shepherd/Lab mix; and Shadow, a Staffordshire bull terrier/collie mix. The trio took the cockpit individually with a copilot beside them and a trainer behind. The trainer signaled the dogs with instructions to complete their challenge: a figure eight.

These successful rescue pups are doing a lot for their fellow shelter dogs by showing that just because a dog was abandoned, abused, or of unknown origins, they can rise above their situations and really take off as wonderfully intelligent and lovable companions.

By the way: in case you were wondering, all 12 dogs were adopted into loving homes. And in the case of Shadow, this show literally saved his life--because of his breed (a staffie cross), Shadow was on "death row" and would've been put down within a day, if not for his being recruited for Dogs Might Fly.

...although maybe a better tv show name would now be Dogs Can Fly!, because clearly they can.

Featured image via The Guardian
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