Linda Rohdin and Mick take a walk at Harbour Quay

Air Angel: Alberni woman assists rescue dogs

Alberni's Linda Rohdin to start a non-profit organization called Air Angels, which organizes air transportation for rescue dogs.

It all started with Mick, a dog Linda Rohdin had never set eyes on.

Rohdin and her husband Eric had settled in Port Alberni for retirement, bringing their mastiff Finn along with them. When Finn died, Rohdin started looking for a rescue dog. She felt she had the time, funds and heart to help a dog that might not have a good chance of adoption.

She started searching on the Internet for Canadian dog rescue sites and hit it off with the owner of one place in Battleford, Sask. Since Eric was visiting the area at the time, she made the decision to take Mick—who was suffering from a shoulder injury and hip dysplasia. She asked Eric to bring the dog home before either of them had even met him.

That experience led Rohdin to start a non-profit organization called Air Angels, which organizes air transportation for rescue dogs.

“The rescues come in and I have to ensure the people dropping (the dog) off and picking it up are going to be there in time,” she says.

“The need for it is to encourage people right across Canada to take a rescue dog. And it works.”

In order to get the dogs from airport to airport, Rohdin relies on WestJet employees who fly on their days off, and use their staff discounts to arrange for the dogs’ transportation (the rescue societies pay these fees, never the WestJetters, she stressed).

Last year, Rohdin helped transport 171 dogs on 101 flights with nine WestJetters. In three weeks in January 2013, she helped transport 28 dogs from all over Canada and even the United States to new lives.

There have been a handful of high-profile transfers, too. Chewy, a Samoyed cross from Barrhead, Alta., headed to Hollywood to work as a stand-in in a Disney production. There have also been transfers from Bermuda and even Bangkok.

It’s no easy task: Rohdin started with a handful of volunteer WestJet staffers, and that number has exploded to 60. She receives nearly a dozen requests every day.

Rohdin credits the popularity of the program to Jane Russett, WestJet’s new ambassador with Air Angels.

Russett, a flight attendant, has also flown numerous rescue dogs to their destinations, at first with Hulls Haven Border Collie Rescue and now with Air Angels.

She was introduced to Rohdin a year and a half ago, and now assists Rohdin in flight bookings.

“She’s quite passionate,” Russett says of Rohdin.

Russett has always had rescue dogs in her family. “On my rescue we’ve got two dogs that we couldn’t let go,” she admitted. One is from northern Alberta and one is from Kentucky.

Her philosophy is simple: “I believe every dog needs an owner. It’s unconditional love.”

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Twitter.com/AlberniNews

Just Posted

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Alberni wrestler heads to University of the Fraser Valley to compete

Ravi Manhas is one of 10 recruits signed to the Cascades for 2018-19

Taxing Vancouver Island

Big Read: find out which communities are paying the lowest and highest taxes on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Construction on Hwy. 4 halted after tree crashes into traffic

Trees are being cleared along the highway between Port Alberni and the Tofino-Ucluelet junction.

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

Man shot dead in Surrey ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

Serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec: victim’s family

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of six counts of second degree murder

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

Amalgamation fails in North Cowichan and Duncan

North Cowichan says yes, but Duncan says no

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Most Read