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Sun, July 21

Flying Paws: heroes to animals and animal-lovers alike

Chino Valley Review

"He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals."

- Immanuel Kant

Marilyn Butler of Chino Valley has lived in Arizona most of her life. She has always been an animal lover.

"I have always had animals in my life," Marilyn said.

In 2002 Marilyn received a call about an abused dog in the Heber area, a small community in the White Mountains near Show Low. Since she had been a pilot since 1989, she made arrangements to fly up to rescue the dog, which she did. The dog (Goldie) was only 8 months old and was extremely abused. People had been using her as a living target and she still carries the bullets in her body. Goldie now lives quite happily with Marilyn and her husband Jim Subach along with seven other rescued, unadoptable dogs.

Rescuing Goldie was the beginning of "Flying Paws," Marilyn said.

Flying Paws is a non-profit corporation that exists specifically to help animals in need. The animals are all physically abused, starved or have other serious medical problems such as diabetes or epilepsy.

"We are all volunteer pilots who donate our time, our planes and our expertise to save these animals," Marilyn explained. "Most of the animals are special-needs dogs and cats, but we have transported reptiles, birds and even wolves."

Marilyn stressed that the corporation needs more volunteers, not only pilots and planes but emergency foster homes for the animals. People can reach Flying Paws at www.flyingpaws.org or 602-673-6674. Helping the animals makes their volunteer time worth it.

"My pilots know most of the sad stories about these rescued animals we transport and that is what keeps them going. Transporting the animals allows me to do the two things I love most, being with the animals, and flying," Marilyn smiled.

Marilyn and her pilots only fly in the continental United States and on the average transport about 150 to 200 animals a year.

"In this throw-away society, I feel it is important for people to know that when you take on the commitment of a pet it is a lifetime commitment. They become part of your family and shouldn't be thrown out in the yard on a chain, and should also be provided for should something happen to you," said Marilyn.

"When I know I've saved the life of an animal, it's watching the face of the animal and the new care giver that gives me the feeling that I've been part of something very special!"

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