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Five-year-old Woody the Great Pyrenees was found wandering the streets of North Carolina and was placed in a local shelter. The pretty boy had nothing but concrete walls to look at and had to get rid of after a vet examination revealed he had scabies, heartworms and other problems that required expensive medical attention.

But LaMancha Animal Rescue heard about Woody, put him down, and got him out in time. The only problem was that the rescue was located hundreds of miles away in Unionville, Pennsylvania.

At that time, Army veteran and network engineer Paul Steklinsky intervened with a plan and a plane. As founder of Flying Fur Animal Rescue, Paul has transported more than 1,000 animals in need from overcrowded shelters in North Carolina to rescue operations in the Northeast. He was inspired to start the association after adopting his dog, Tessa.

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Paul arrives at the airport and begins figuring out how to put the crates of Woody and four other dogs to keep the plane balanced. Woody, who weighs 84 pounds, made distributing the weight evenly this time around more difficult.

Woody became a comfortable place between the boxes and the wall, and he seemed very happy there.

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But then the plane left the ground, and that’s when Woody left his seat. He was no longer satisfied with being a tourist traveler and wanted to be up front with Paul! The dog appeared on the bench and couldn’t help but smile.

Woody wanted nothing more than to befriend his rescuer and the plane photographer.

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“He was great, he just wanted to be with us, and that amazes me,” Paul told The Dodo. “Here’s this dog, he’s got all these problems, but he doesn’t care, he just wants to be next to another being.”

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Woody didn’t care about the world because he enjoyed his trip to freedom. The dog’s cheerful demeanor helped Paul stay positive as he flew through harsh weather on his way to their stop in Pennsylvania.

Woody became so relaxed and satisfied that he went for a nap with his paws on the chair and his nose with Paul.

After a week at LaMancha Animal Rescue, Woody’s fur is white and fluffy! He gains weight while on a special diet and antibiotics and enjoys life as he runs around the rescue farmland. He was even able to snuggle up on his first real sofa.

Paul will soon visit Woody to see how far the dog has come. He knows that once Woody is healthy again, he will make his family the perfect pet.

“We don’t deserve dogs, they’re the best,” Paul added. “I don’t really know how to describe it any other way.” h/t Dodo

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