Taking dogs to a second chance

Dr. John Lee flies dogs to a better life.

Lee, a Marietta anesthesiologist, is a pilot who transports unwanted dogs to loving homes. His rescue missions are part of Pilots N Paws, a nonprofit group of more than 3,000 volunteer pilots.

Lee has been volunteering his time to help animals through the program for about six years and has recorded more than 100 flights.

Some of the dogs (he also has flown one cat) need emergency medical care. Others are taken from overcrowded animal shelters to rescue operations and then to new homes.

On longer trips, Lee will be part of a relay flight, with pilots flying a leg of the journey.

Two years ago, Lee, 54, was part of a relay from Florida to Pittsburgh. Fulfilling a seriously ill man’s wish, Lee helped to fly a dog to the man’s bedside.

Lee also helped to fly dogs that a serviceman had found in a cave in Afghanistan to Texas.

Most recently, Lee was part of a flight relay that took an injured dog from Kentucky to Maryland for medical treatment.

“About 99.9 percent of the dogs are fantastic on the flights,” Lee told me. “They realize they are getting out of a bad situation. When the engine starts, they sit back.”

Some of the dogs are transported in a cage, while others sit in the front or back seat of Lee’s airplane.

On one flight, Lee transported 14 dogs. “I couldn’t turn away saving any of them,” he said.

“It is very gratifying to give an animal a better life,” Lee said.

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A kind act is mushrooming at the Smoot Theatre. This past fall, Jim McGinnis and Chris Hall donated money for materials and labor to refinish the 10 mahogany front doors at the Smoot and the adjoining Wakley Hall. McGinnis said he was walking by the Smoot on Fifth Street when he noticed the doors looked discolored and weathered. Klaus Pelowski of Parkersburg refinished the six theater doors, while Smoot director Felice Jorgeson refinished the four Wakley Hall doors. After Jorgeson thanked Hall and McGinnis for their donation at a Smoot performance, a woman told Jorgeson she, too, wanted to make a donation to the historic downtown theater. The details of the woman’s gift are still being worked out but it will apparently involve the theater’s lighting. Donations of all amounts are welcome at the Smoot Theatre, Jorgeson said.

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Christian recording artist Anthony Mossburg, formerly of Parkersburg and a 2005 graduate of Frontier High School, is having his third CD release concert at 7 p.m. Feb. 6 at the Smoot Theatre. The title of the award-winning singer/songwriter’s CD is “Anthony Mossburg.” The acoustic artist lives in Columbus.

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Chase Anderson, 7, a second-grader at Mineral Wells Elementary School, will be appearing in the Investigation Discovery’s television series “A Crime to Remember” at noon Monday on Channel 79. In the episode “Time Bomb,” Chase is seen in an airport lobby with his “mom.” The show is about the bombing of United Airlines Flight 629 in the sky over Colorado on Nov. 1, 1955. Chase also had a small role in the independent film “Produce” filmed in Louisville, Ky., in November, said his mother, Kristy Anderson.

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Hank Poole, 8, a third-grader at Vienna Elementary School, is scheduled to perform six songs as a young Elvis Presley tribute artist at the Shake Rattle & Soul Fest at Robarts Arena in Sarasota, Fla., Feb.7-9. Poole was invited to perform by Meigs County native Dwight Icenhower, three-time world champion Elvis Presley tribute artist, said Bill Poole, Hank’s father. Hank will be backed by the Change of Habit tribute band from Chicago. Other tribute artists will perform as James Brown, Roy Orbison and Rod Stewart, along with Icenhower concerts, at the Florida fest.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com