Panda’s Flight

by Sasha Bell

For the past few months, the Central California SPCA’s Adoption Team has been involved with a special boarding case.

On March 5, 2013, a 5-year-old female Australian Shepherd Mix dog was brought to the CCSPCA and with her came a very unique story. The owner of this dog was moving out of state to Missouri. As she was checking onto the plane she was informed that her dog, Panda, would not be able to board because specific airline rules for transporting live animals had not been followed. The owner had another dog with her that was small enough to be transported as a carry-on, but Panda would not be allowed to board. The owner had no choice but to leave Panda with a stranger at the airport because she absolutely had to get on the plane. She left her name and contact information with the stranger and reluctantly headed for Missouri.


Not knowing what to do with Panda, the stranger immediately brought her to the CCSPCA. Our staff assured the stranger that we would take care of Panda and would try to safely return her to her owner in Missouri. We then contacted the owner and assured her that we would find a way to get Panda home.

Panda soon became a part of the CCSPCA family. Staff members, Kimberly and Jennifer, kept watch over her daily, making sure she got plenty of exercise and love (and the occasional french fry…shhhh!). Panda frequently wandered around the Adoption Team’s office and on some weekends, she even got to have sleep overs at the homes of some of the staff.

The Adoption Team called Panda’s owner frequently, often exchanging photos via text and email. In the meantime, the team worked on coordinating her homecoming with another organization, Pilots N Paws. This group of private pilots donate their time and services to transport rescue, shelter, and foster animals all over the country. After several weeks of planning, Panda’s flight was scheduled.


Panda left the CCSPCA on May 15, 2013, and arrived safely to her owner on May 17, 2013. Thank you to all of the pilots willing to donate their time, service, and planes to transport Panda! We will all miss her, but we are so happy to have been able to get her back home where she belongs.