Tail Winds Animal Transport Co

Submitted into Contest #43 in response to: Write a story about an average day turned upside down by an unexpected visitor.... view prompt



Tail Winds Animal Transport Co

Captain Andrew was a retired commercial airline pilot who had put in his years in the cockpit and had looked forward to retirement just like everyone else does at that time. After a year of playing golf, hanging out with all of the other retirees, and even eating at home fairly regularly, he was bored. He missed the action of being out and about and the freedom of flying.

One of his pilot friends had a small plane just sitting in his hangar and not getting flown as much as he had hoped. Once he heard Andrews story, he told him he could go fly anytime he wanted, and he just had to pay for the gas.

Well, needless to say,  this thrilled Captain Andrew and it wasn’t long before he and Captain Frank met at the local municipal airport for an introductory flight. It was a short trip from Phoenix to Sedona, also known as the hundred-dollar hamburger flight. Everything went well and before he knew it,  he was making plans for future adventures.

One day he got a call from the local Humane Society saying that they needed a rescued golden retriever transported quickly from Phoenix to Sacramento.

 They couldn’t pay him for the trip, but it did allow for him to take the expenses off of his taxes as a charitable flight. Well this was just the icing on the cake as far as the Captain was concerned. 


The rescue coordinator had found a couple in Sacramento who had seen the golden online and immediately fell in love with him. It happens that way with Goldens and their famous smiles. They made the arrangements and paid everything up front, even the flight.

On the morning of the flight, Andrew was getting his plane prepped, fueled up, and flight plan filed when he accidentally bumped his head on a cabinet door he left open.

“Damn, that hurt!!” Noticed a little bump and went on with his plans without another thought about it.

A few hours later, the Humane Society met him at the airport with his four-legged passenger. He was a two-year-old Golden Retriever named Clancy, who had been given up because his owner could no longer take care of him. He had recently been admitted to a nursing home facility and they didn’t allow big dogs there.


In typical Golden fashion, he greeted Captain Andrew with a lot of tail wagging, a big smile, and even raised his paw to shake the Captains hand. Once he got settled in, the coordinator gave Clancy a little sedative to make the trip easier on him.

The Captain was now ready to go and fired up the Piper Malibu and taxied out on to the runway. Once he got tower clearance, he was up and away on his first solo flight in a very long time. Once he got to cruising altitude, he was thankful for the pressurized cabin and the air conditioning. His passengers, four legged or two legged would also appreciate that.

“So, nice plane you got here, it's pretty smooth back here too.”

The Captain looked around because he thought he heard someone talking.

“You aren’t believing what you are hearing are ya?”, said Clancy.

Andrew decided to play along, still skeptical and thinking he would have his hearing checked once he got back to Phoenix.

“Okay, I’ll bite, what’s your name?” says the Captain.

“My name is Clancy. I am not sure how it is that we can understand each other right now, but I’ll bet we have a great chat.”



Now Andrew wasn’t the religious type, however, he was spiritual and believed that this opportunity was presented to him for a reason. For that, who was he to ignore it? Who hasn’t wanted to hear what a dog or any other animal had to say?

“So, Clancy, tell me about your previous owner.”

“I am going to miss him a lot. He’s had me since I was a pup. He was so much fun to be around. We went everywhere together. When I was old enough, he even took me fishing on his boat. Sitting at the front of the boat splashing through the waves was fantastic. Once in a while, I would help him get a hold of a fish or two.”

He went on to talk about what had happened.

“I noticed a change in him long before anyone else did. I didn’t know what it was called, but it wasn’t good. I only wish that I could have told his family sooner, it was really tough to watch him get steadily worse. It was later that I heard the humans talking and they said it was Alzheimer’s. While this may sound a little harsh, I am glad that he went more quickly than others I had heard about.”

They continued to chat for a little while longer, until Clancy fell asleep again. About an hour before touchdown, Clancy woke up again with a big yawn.


“Ya know, I would be really sad, but I heard that I am going to a young family. My owner would be proud of them for taking me in.”

Once they landed at the airport, the new family was there to greet him and their new best friend. The family invited him to stay overnight at their home after the long flight and have dinner with them. The Captain gladly accepted for it had been a while since he had had a good home cooked meal. Their little boy was about 5 years old with boundless energy and curious about everything. Clancy, being only two years old, had plenty of energy to keep up with the young fella.

Back in Phoenix, the Captain called up his buddy and invited him to lunch. From the look on Andrews face, Frank could tell that he had discovered the secret.

“So, they talk to you too, huh?” With a big grin on his face.

“Holy Crap Frank, you should have told me. It damn near caused me to have a spell up there.”

“Well, I thought about it, but declined just in case you couldn’t talk to them and then you would think I was nuts. From what I can tell, it only works on the plane and nowhere else. I tried.”

So, Andrew told him of the flight and what they had talked about. Frank wasn’t sure if it worked with cats yet, as he hasn’t flown with them. He will be curious to see if they talk as well.

Over the next year, Captain Andrew became the pilot of choice for his local Humane Society and has had many conversations with the animals he has transported. This includes dogs, cats, birds, and even a python. He was afraid that once the bump went away, so would his power. He was thrilled when that wasn’t the case.

May 22, 2020 19:19

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