Earlier this month, local pilot and flight instructor Charles Caravan and Brian LaBelle, an East Hampton Police Officer and pilot, flew down to Camden, South Carolina to pick up some very important passengers – 15 puppies from Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons (ARF) rescue partner, Fostering Foster Animal Rescue. LaBelle and Caravan transported the precious cargo back to the East Hampton Airport where they were greeted by ARF staff.
“We were thinking along the lines of COVID protocols and we know that ARF pretty frequently drives quite a ways to go pick up animals that are in need of rescuing,” Caravan said of the innovative idea. “In which case, that would be a multiple day trip for them, they would have to quarantine and wouldn’t be able to go right back out should they need to pick up more animals. We thought if we were able to fly, that would make things a lot easier and quicker for everyone.”
The flight not only served as a rescue mission, but it also allowed LaBelle to complete his flight review. “Every two years, he [LaBelle] has to have what’s called a flight review, in order to be current. His was coming up within a few months, so he and I did the flight review together on our way down,” Caravan noted. “The initial plan was for me to fly with multiple planes with multiple students that already have their certification. But, Brian offered up his plane, which is bigger and faster, to use this time.”
The first rescue was no doubt a success. “It was very well,” Caravan shared. “It took a couple of weeks worth of planning and the plan changed a bunch of different times. But once we actually got down there, it went very smoothly.”
He hopes to utilize his expertise for monthly rescue missions. “We’re planning on doing this again,” he said. “But the truth is they never really know how frequently these rescues will be or exactly when. For this one, we didn’t know when we would do it until a couple of days prior.”
Caravan has a very special connection to Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons. “I have two dogs and I adopted them both from ARF. They’re one of the best parts of my life. I love them very much and I wanted to help anyway I could,” he reflected.
After being medically cleared by ARF veterinarians, the about 2-month-old lab mixes and hound mixes will be put up for adoption.
“I’d like to thank ARF for fostering them and the foster people in South Carolina. The East Hampton Community Alliance was a big part of this – because another big part of doing this was to help keep the East Hampton Airport alive and doing positive things like this,” Caravan concluded. “I’d also like to give a shout out to Michael Norbeck and Hannah Jungeck for helping organize this.”
Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons is located at 124 Daniels Hole Road in East Hampton. For more information, visit arfhamptons.org.