Meet Army Specialist Paul Steklenski he uses his skills of piloting for rescuing animals that are being housed at shelters where they are waiting to die.
While in the army Paul learned to operate a tank and went on to work in a career in IT after his discharge. Now he follows his heart and his passion for animals living on death row.
But how does he do it?
Steklenski purchased a propeller-driven Beechcraft Bonanza for $70,000 and took flying lessons. He flies to crowded kill shelters and rescues as many furry friends as he can safely bring to their forever homes.
“When I first started flying there were times when I wanted to quit because I didn’t think I could do it, but I kept going back,” he said. “Once I became certified I thought, ‘What am I going to do now?’ A lot of pilots like to fly to restaurants or nice places and that is great, but for me I had to have a different reason to go in the air.”
The original plan was to DRIVE to all the kill shelters, which were many miles for his home in Schwenksville, PA and set the animals free. However, after obtaining his pilot’s license, Steklenski decided to start Flying Fur Animal Rescue.
Total Steklenski has rescued 742 animals from euthanasia at kill shelters.
“Seeing the dogs at the shelter was heartbreaking,” he said. “It was horrible to think that there were so many animals being euthanized because they’re stuck in a certain area.”
He now has insight into the pet overpopulation trends, which he has discovered is worse in southern states.
The interior of the plane was modified to fit up to 23 animals at once. So far he hasn’t had any problems with the animals most of them just fall asleep. They must know they’re heading to a better place.
“It’s always very quiet. I have never had an issue. I have a feeling they know better things are going to happen for them. It’s extremely emotional, but I will do this for as long as I can afford to.”