All it took was two plane rides for a neglected dog to find a new forever home in East Tennessee.
Kodak, an almost 2-year-old Belgian Malinois can rest easy after flying from Florida to Knoxville Tuesday evening.
Morristown is his new home thanks to a team of volunteers dedicated to saving dogs, no matter where they need to travel to be safe.
Kodak’s rescue is a special one. It’s a reunion for the families involved, whose friendship started with another dog flown in to Joe Bane.
Bane, an Afghanistan veteran, was reunited with his army dog, Inca, five years ago.
It was thanks to a non-profit called Pilots n Paws that flies dogs anywhere to give them a better life.
When Bane heard about a dog like Inca in distress, he had to do something.
“There he is right there,” Bane said, pointing to a small blue airplane. “C’mon Inca.”
Inca the war dog and her owners stepped on to the tarmac at TAC Air in Knoxville for a reunion she wasn't expecting.
There stood Ryan Fiorini, the pilot who reunited Inca with her army partner back in 2013.
He was back with another dog for the Bane family.
"I've stayed in touch with Joe over the years and told him if there was ever another Inca that needs to be moved, just give me a call and we'll make sure it happens,” said Fiorini.
Bane now works as a dog trainer, and with Tuesday’s new addition, owns five adopted Belgian Malinois, a breed similar to a German Sheppard.
“These dogs are seen as high-drive, ferocious animals,” said Bane. “They're not. They can be, but it's just like a kid. It's all in the matter of how you raise it."
An army pal of his told him about Kodak, a young Malinois in Florida that was starved, neglected and facing an unknown future.
Bane had to save Kodak, so he called Fiorini.
“Without Pilots n Paws, neither of these dogs would be here," said Bane.
Private pilots volunteer for the non-profit, flying dogs in distress across the country to take them to loving homes and get a second chance at life.
Kodak is now home with a family who knows how to care for his breed, all under the watchful eye of his new Pilots n Paws sibling, Inca.
“As long as Inca gets her way, as long as she has a spot on the floor, she's good,” said Bane.
Pilots n Paws formed in 2008, and has since transported more than 150,000 animals via plane across the country to their new forever homes.