On Wings Of Care is a US registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of wildlife, wild habitat, and natural ecosystems; to the sustainable coexistence of them with humans and domestic animals; and to the humane care of domestic animals. (Tax ID# 27-2476681)
We provide information, education, and services for public benefit by performing and coordinating searches, rescues, transports, surveys, rehabilitation, medical and veterinary treatment, and scientific research -- in flight, at sea, and on land.
We use and support a network of experienced pilots, boat captains, scientists, veterinarians, wildlife specialists, animal rescuers, photographers, and videographers.
(These photos represent just a very few of our many memorable missions, each with great stories.)
-- Rescue and transport of domestic animals and wildlife throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. More than 120 significant transport efforts and several hundred animals (dogs, cats, farm animals, pelicans, turtles, etc.) rescued since 2002.
-- Aerial, ground, and at-sea searching and tracking of wildlife over oceans and wilderness. More than 1000 flight-tracking hours since 2004 in the Gulf of Mexico, Pacific Ocean coast and islands from Baja, Mexico to British Columbia, Atlantic Ocean coastal areas from New England to Florida, inland wilderness areas throughout the western U.S. and -- yes, from South Africa to well below the southern tip of Australia!
-- Aerial, sea, and ground environmental-use surveys throughout the U.S.
-- Aerial & ground reconnaissance to document and help stop illegal activities involving abuse of animals, wildlife, or ecosystems.
- Aerial and ground evacuations and relocations of wild and domestic animals caused by fire, floods, accident, or illness.
-- Aerial transport of equipment and personnel to support wildlife studies on islands in the Pacific (great white sharks, elephant seals, island birds and mammals).
-- Support for rescue, rehab, and release of wildlife into native habitat.
-- Transport and placement of animals and nesting materials and support for or replanting of native foliage after major forest fires, floods, and other disasters
-- Rescue, evacuation, and supply flights to emergency and disaster areas (tornados, hurricanes, earthquake, fire)
We have a few.
-- Pilots who fly as Pilot-In-Command for us must have at least 250 hours in make and model. For flights over 250 miles, we request that pilots have instrument ratings.
-- Aircraft used for On Wings Of Care missions must have proof of current annual and other FAA-required inspections and maintenance, be capable of safe use in all flight conditions expected for the mission, and provide a comfortable, quiet, safe environment for animals and cargo to be carried.
-- Recipients of animals from OWOC transports or rescues will sometimes be asked to sign a form stating that if circumstances arise where those animals cannot remain in the safe custody of the intended foster or adopter and are at risk for death, illness, or abandonment, that OWOC will be notified and given the opportunity to retrieve the animal. We may not require these agreements if the animals are already being transported with agreements from other rescue organizations or shelters. We at OWOC feel very strongly that adoption of an animal should be viewed as a commitment for the full natural lifetime of that animal. We offer our rescue and transport services in order to facilitate the uniting of animals and humans as "forever families."
-- Rescue organizations or individuals who solicit our help with fostering or transporting must supply complete paperwork required for the animals' destinations and meet any other requirements-- e.g., international health certificates and over eight months of age for Canada. We request honest assessments of the animals' sociability with other dogs and cats, their temperament and behavior in cars or around people, and so on. We need this information in order to plan which animals can be transported together and over what distances. We optimize our transports so that all animals can be comfortable, preferably not in crates and not muzzled, just leashed loosely to tiedowns so that they cannot come forward enough to interfere with any flight controls.
Mission costs are not determined according to the number of animals or amount of equipment we transport, their weight, or their size. If they fit our weight and volume and capabilities, they go. Costs depend more on logistical factors such as distance, terrain, weather, and schedule. Requests for animal transport or tracking services must include information such as size, weight, behavioral characteristics and needs for the animals or equipment to be carried and any special requirements.
Costs for a typical flight mission include actual fuel costs plus amortized unavoidable costs for safety maintenance, repairs, and inspections. Other expenses -- pilots and captains and drivers, labor, animal care -- are donated by our volunteers. Our workhorse aircraft -- single-engine piston-engine Cessnas -- typically cost us $150-$200/hr to operate at a minimum. Missions involving ground vehicles or boats are costed similarly, except that we often are able to use vessels or ground vehicles that are donated and we pay only fuel.
When a mission is proposed, a plan is developed for how to accomplish it, costs are estimated, and the Board of Directors approves or disapproves it. If it is approved, we set about raising funds to cover it. If we raise them, we proceed. If we don't -- well, we need to start declining. To date, we've tapped our savings further than we can continue to do, so we'll either learn to solicit donations more successfully, or we'll learn to say no.
Donations to On Wings Of Care
All donations to On Wings Of Care are fully tax-deductible, and receipts for tax purposes are always provided to donors. Our tax returns and annual reports are available publicly and on request.
Donations are solicited only to cover actual mission costs -- fuel and mission-specific maintenance for aircraft or vehicles used, veterinary and other professional services, food and boarding for animals, equipment for research, documentation, or field work, and any related shipping and handling costs. We do not use donations to pay for time or services provided by On Wings Of Care volunteers, including our pilots. We receive no salaries and do not use donations to cover overhead expenses.
General donations are used to help missions where the people, animals, or objective cannot provide their own funds. General donations can go to specific missions or to specific categories of missions -- e.g., wildlife tracking, ecosystem protection, domestic animal rescue, and so on. Just specify what you'd like to support, and when that mission is being organized, you'll receive a request for your final approval for how the funds will be spent.
All of us with On Wings Of Care are lifelong nature-lovers and enthusiastic supporters of animals, wildlife, oceans, and the planet's ecosystems. We range from pilots and boat captains and truck drivers to scientists and mechanics and secretaries -- and a lot of stuff between. Every one of us is responsive and tenacious when it comes to finding ways to protecting animals and what they need in order to live well. And we are more than willing to get our hands dirty and work hard.
The majority of our work is not glamorous. We seldom get to fly leisurely across the country in beautiful weather. Our transport flights or drives usually involve long hours and tight schedules, demanding winds and weather, and darkness. We squeeze these transports in between our own responsibilities at home and work, so rarely do they get combined with any sort of leisurely vacations. (Do any animal rescuers remember what those are?) But no complaints. There are few joys greater than seeing innocent animals change from pictures of despair on death row to grateful delight in the arms of people who love and want them! Although we appreciate all of your generous offers to have us stay a while with you and visit, please forgive us if all we do is accept a brief napping place and then leave for our next mission.
We do plenty of the non-glamorous preparations and cleanup associated with animal rescue -- cleaning cages and vehicles, networking by internet and telephone, finding release sites, getting permits, nursing sick animals all night, etc. We drive and hike for hours into the back country lugging heavy crates filled with wild animals being released into the wild. We also rise before dawn and drive for hours in order to crawl on our bellies in narrow spaces under houses to retrieve trapped, injured, or barely alive animals of all sorts -- raccoons, opossums, squirrels, rabbits, foxes, bobcats, domestics, to name a few sorts we've met under such unusual circumstances.
We're not the best at photographing or videotaping most of what we do, but we have vowed to improve on that, so that all of you can follow better what we do and help us do more good. And by the way, we can always use new volunteers!
Special thanks go to the many people who help OWOC all the time but prefer to remain behind the scenes:
-- Pilots and aircraft owners who fly with us or for us and even let us fill their airplanes with rescue animals or humanitarian relief supplies;
-- Aircraft mechanics who take our calls at all hours and drop everything to help us keep our flight schedules;
-- Veterinarians and vet techs who come to us in difficult places at inconvenient times in bad weather to do tricky emergency surgeries in makeshift hospital rooms;
-- Wildlife rehabbers and domestic animal fosters who say "Sure, bring 'em over" when we call them with five or fifteen tiny cold dehydrated almost-dead babies who need to be bottle-fed with eyedroppers every two hours;
-- Friends and family members who keep smiling and tolerate our varying schedules, unexpected overnight guests of varying species, missed appointments, and last-minute plan changes.
Our Directors and Advisors
We presently have four Directors and several Advisors. Our group of Advisors is growing, for as we've expanded into more significant roles in both wildlife preservation and domestic animal rescue, we've begun working with many more professionals.
Bonny Schumaker (President and Founder) works from both southern California and the Gulf Coast. She has been rescuing and rehabbing both domestic and wildlife for the past four decades. She is also an airline transport and commercial pilot, a long-standing gold-seal FAA flight instructor, and an avid outdoors person. She worked with NASA / JPL as a Ph.D. physicist for 22 years to help support the kinds of activities that On Wings Of Care and like-minded organizations carry out. If she had two more lives to live she would just be doing more of the same, except she'd put music and dance back into one of them.
Deb Castellana (Board Director) works from both the Bay area of California and the Gulf Coast. She brings a wealth of experience in marine science and is also an accomplished dive master, diving instructor, and boat captain. An animal-lover to the max, she brings not just considerable knowledge and endless enthusiasm for the oceans but also an excellent head for business and management. She is a steadying voice between our desire to say "Yes!" to every rescue and the reality of our savings accounts. Her beloved rescue border collie Sophie is excellent practice for Deb in dealing with us as we continually bring her new proposed activities on a daily basis!
Dave Couch (Board Director) works both from his home in the southern Sierra Nevada and from southern California. Retired from a long career in professional ground transport, an avid outdoorsman and mountaineer, and a very handy guy with endless compassion for animals and humans, he has been a godsend for our more tricky, last-minute animal rescues and transports. His vast network of friends in the environmental world has brought us some very fruitful connections and collaborations. Dave's warm heart and massage-therapist skills have also been put to tremendous use, as he himself has adopted four of our most challenging rescue animals -- two cats and two dogs, whom other humans had abused or abandoned. The cats have changed from skittish ghosts to mellow marshmallows, and the two dogs are so sure they've landed in heaven that they now live for the sound of Dave's voice! But then, they actually are in heaven, going for hikes in the Sierras all the time and then hanging out with Dave and his friends.
Glen E. Grandy (Board Director) works from his homes in southern California and the central California foothills. He is an accomplished pilot and aircraft owner, as well as a lifelong animal rescuer himself. Retired, he and his wife Emily have been critical help in fostering and transporting both wild and domestic animals over the past decade. On more than one occasion, Glen has kept rescue transports on schedule by flying, driving, or letting us use his airplane and fostering animals prior to their transports. His advice on both aircraft and animal matters has often been invaluable.
J. Brayton Matthews (Advisor) works from the Gulf Coast and his home in New Orleans, LA. He is a professional aviator and aviation business manager, and since he joined On Wings Of Care after seeing us work in the Gulf after the spring 2010 BP oil spill, he has been one of our most staunch supporters. He and Deb keep our business feet on the ground, and his familiarity with aircraft and flying has made him a very valuable addition both to our flight and ground crews. His great love for animals is obvious to all, and he is usually accompanied by his own rescue dog "Piper" -- a Siberian Husky who has become the airport's adored mascot.
Larry Buchanan (Advisor) is our airplane mechanic, co-pilot, networker, inventor, and friend extraordinaire. (His phone number on some of our cell phones is listed under "911" because he's often the one we call for help!) He lives and works in southern California, can build or repair or re-invent just about anything mechanical, and is a gentle natural "Alpha" who has tended many a full plane of dogs with us as we've flown over the mountains.
(More to come!)
"The Story of Pellie Lou - a Pelican who survived the Gulf of Mexico oil spill"
by Bonny L. Schumaker, Ph.D.
With 46 photos from the Gulf of Mexico.
ALL proceeds go to benefit Gulf wildlife!
Order your autographed hard copies or an electronic copy here!
Read about our rescues under Rescue Tails!
Here are some samples:
A Dog Named Pepper Doesn't Give up Easily on Life!
20130428 - This 15-yr-old deaf, blind, arthritic senior held out in a hot, dry, desert parking lot until love finally found him!
CHAZ - No Ordinary Extraordinary Cur!
20130422 - Left to die but instead, this super-intelligent deep-hearted dog discovered love, family, and even fun -- from the most unlikely mentors!
Turbulent Trails for Tails from TX-20130413
Six rescue dogs from east Texas find forever homes in Nevada and California!
Who was rescued, and who was the rescuer? Anyone who has known this kind of bond has felt something so deep, so real, so ancient, that it cannot be described with words. These bonds ground us and free us from pettiness in our lives. Thank you Sheba. Rest in peace.
A Letter From Your Admirers! 20121231
This was a last-minute challenge that seemed beyond even our own grandest heroic imaginings. But it turned out not to be beyond the devoted hearts and energies of about 30 rescuers, shelter staff, volunteers, and families working together. Forty-three (yes, 43!) dogs in one day, from dead-ends in a Porterville shelter to homes and real lives with real humans who love and want them. Rescuers ROCK!
Orphaned very young, left alone and hungry til her fur fell out and her skin was covered with mange. Thanks to some big-hearted Texas rescuers, not only did she recover, she found the family who wanted to love her forever. How glad we were to be able to give this little pup with the big paws the ride to the rest of her life!
20121205-Blackie Goes Home at Last, and Taylor Turns Texan!
Four long months since Blackie's lifelong human companion and partner Tammy suffered a serious injury from a passing truck and disappeared from his life. Suddenly Blackie was in a shelter kennel, and Tammy fought for her life as she dreamed of her beloved dog. Thanks to many people, both of these souls survived to find each other again! This was a rescue and a reunion we'll never forget.
The same rains that made us work "On WHEELS Of Care" this week kept us grounded for this trip, which serendipitously combined the transport of Skip northward and the joyful and miraculous reunion of Miss T'Chen, who had been rescued and taken to Illinois after Hurricane Isaac, with her family in Baton Rouge!
This flight went almost as planned, and our plane was filled to over-flowing on every leg. And we met some wonderful new cat and dog rescues in Idaho and Oregon!
20 Lucky rescued dogs flown to homes in Canada!
2012 Sep 22
It turned out to a journey full of unexpected challenges, but these 20 lucky lovable canines who had been through the worst of times in California were just the best through it all, and now they are warming the hearts and laps and lives of some very lucky Canadian families!
Spindletop Scandal and the Search for Scarlett
2012 July 17 - present
With pitbull-like tenacity, we wouldn't take "NO" for an answer. Out of 21 dogs we sought, we have closure on all but two. Alas, one of those two is our Scarlett.
Tale of seven cities, six cats, and five goats!
2012 July 16
Who knows if the pleas for help brought the plane, or vice-versa.
But when serendipity puts this much together, there's no saying no!
Homeless Mom and Pups no More!
2012 July 08
Sometimes rescuers find the IDEAL person to adopt that animal in need ...
themselves! And in the process, a hole gets filled for the entire family.
This lucky mom now lives with Bear, Sheba, and Dave!
From Empty Nest to Love Fest!
2012 May 11
That last urgent plea came for the five orphaned pups ...
but what about the two large senior boys who would probably never get adopted?
Some people are just angels, meant to be who they are and where they are.
Check out these two and their new happy pack!
JEREMIAH has come home to us!
UPDATE 2012 July 7!
2012 January 13
His adopter called to say she had become ill, and could we care for Jeremiah? You bet we could. We rented a plane and flew to Arizona and retrieved him immediately. Jeremiah was indeed a true friend, and we aim to be his true friends, too. He has been eating like crazy and slept his stress away for the first few days, and now he's acting like a young dog again. Read more here!
CHAMP found at the airport!
2012 January 01
A sad, scared but dignified young Champ quickly won the hearts of everyone who met him at the New Orleans airport, and within two days we had permission from his original breeders to give him to a young couple with a younger female boxer mix, all of whom fell totally in love with him at first sight! Champ and Miss Princess are leading the good life now, and Champ's new dad finally has the fishing buddy he wanted! They tell us we made their dreams come true. We think they made Champ's come true, too.
Abby & Dinozo -- Two of a Kind!
2011 September--2012 January
Orphaned brother and sister, rescued and adored until calamity struck and they lost their family. Orphaned again, these gentle gems and perfect canine citizens found love and adventure with us until we found them their true forever home! Abby & Dinozo came with us to Washington January 7, and they were welcomed warmly and immediately into a home. Read more here!
Yo! Get a Load of Yolo!
2011 November--2012 January
Left in the cold, high in the mountains of southern California, life was over before it had barely begun for this orphan teenager.
Little did he know, his adventures had only begun! As of January 7, it's back to snow but this time with a family who adores him, and lots of fun and play in the Pacific Northwest!
Saving Scarlett -- Love Forever at Last!
Found on the streets, teats full but puppies absent, a battle-torn very hungry pitbull.
Hardly that sought-after doggie in the window.
But after we brought Miss Scarlett home to love and food, warmth and stuffed animals,
we discovered a warm heart and sweet spirit that changed us forever.
2011 July--September 29, A Joyful Reunion At Last!
Here they are during their flight with four other dogs Sep 29 (New Orleans to Oakland, CA, fuel stop in Roswell, NM).
And here's a photo from the happiest reunion ever!
More photos and updated videos here!
Sheba-Cosette - this lovely lady waited a lifetime!
Jeremiah - a true friend finds a new lease on life!
Two Giant Dogs & three cats reunited with their family on Whidbey Island, WA
Chihuahuas "Betty" & "JellyBean" fly to their rescue in Bremerton, WA!
New Year's Rescue: 33 dogs & cats are flown to rescue in the Pacific Northwest!
Hounds fending for themselves for years in Alabama fly to rescue in Arizona!
Romo & Stanley are flown to safe havens in Arizona!
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico - 2013
2013 Apr 12 - Mayflower, AR Pipeline Spill
2013 Apr 02 - Bayou Corne #6
2013 Mar 23 - IMMS Marine Mammals
2013 Mar 19 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#5
2013 Feb 15 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#4
2013 Jan 26 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#3
2012 Dec 24 - Bayou Corne Sinkhole-#2
2012 Nov 08 - Tar Sands and Texas
2012 Aug 30 - Hurricane Isaac Conquered
2012 Aug 28 - Hurricane Isaac Arrives!
2012 Aug 13 - Sinkhole in Bayou Corne, LA
2012 Jun 13-Dispersant Spraying Exercise off LA
2012 April - Chronicles of the Endeavor
2012 Dec 10 - How Dilute is Dilute Enough?
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico - 2012
Sat Nov 17 - Platform Explosion
Wed Nov 14 - Barrier Islands 1
Sat Nov 10 - OIL
Fri Nov 09 - OIL
Sat Oct 06 - Whale Sharks
Fri Oct 05 - OIL
Fri Sep 14 - OIL
Sun Sep 09 - Hurricane Isaac
Sun Aug 12 - Whale Sharks
Wed Jul 11 - Whales & More
Fri Jun 29 - Whale Sharks & More
Dominica - The Nature Island!
On Wings Of Care flies to the Eastern Caribbean for whales and sea turtles!
Read more here!
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf of Mexico - 2011
Sperm Whales & Whale Sharks:
Cape Cod, MA
Our Gift for YOU for 2011!
Click Here to Smile
from your heart, out!
Aerial Monitoring of the Gulf, 2010
Galapagos Veterinary Support
Galapagos vets do much with little,
thanks to true friends who shipped a TON of supplies and meds from the U.S. in June, 2011.
“Man can no longer live for himself alone. We must realize that all life is valuable and that we are united to all life. From this knowledge comes our spiritual relationship with the universe.”