Border collie headed to his foster home in Minnesota

WINTERSVILLE – Left homeless when his owner died, Bradley, a border collie, will board a private jet today for the second leg of a journey that will take him to a foster home in Minnesota.

“He’ll stay at the foster home until they can find him a ‘forever’ home,” said Cassandra Howell, manager of the Jefferson County Animal Shelter. “But a lot of times the foster home becomes a forever home.”

The New Jersey-based “Bridges to Safety” animal rescue group worked with the shelter to find a home for Bradley, then arranged for the all-volunteer “Pilots ‘N Paws” group to fly him there.

Akron resident and pilot Mark Ohlinger landed his small plane at the Jefferson County Airpark on Monday and flew Bradley to Columbus, where he spent the night with a volunteer host before boarding the jet for the flight to Minneapolis.

Howell said Bradley was Pilots ‘N Paws first Jefferson County rescue, though the service “has been used all over the state.”

Ohlinger said he does “one or two” animal relocations a month.

“I came just for him, to take him to a new home and get him out of the shelter,” said Ohlinger, a dog owner himself. “I feel sorry for dogs – they’re domesticated, but there are a lot of irresponsible people out there. I think we have a responsibility to them.”

Jefferson County’s shelter has a non-kill policy, she said. Bradley, a loveable, docile dog the veterinarian figures is 3- or 4-years-old, was brought to the shelter after his owner died unexpectedly a few months ago.

“He’d laid by his side until someone found them,” she said. “He’s been at the shelter ever since, no one in the family wanted to claim him.”

When he was rescued Bradley suffered from a “really bad” flea allergy, she said. “He had hardly any fur. The vet gave him prednisone, which is a steroid, and we gave him flea baths, flea medicine and a lot of TLC.”

Bradley and his coat were healthy when Ohlinger strapped him into his seat Monday for the flight to Columbus.

“It’s a very happy ending,” Howell said. “That’s what our goal is.”