Young Pilot Volunteers to Fly Soon-to-Be Service Puppies in Training From NorCal to Carlsbad

The future service puppies will be transported from Santa Rosa to Carlsbad, thanks to volunteer pilot Owen Leipelt

Left: Service puppies in training who are part of Canine Companions' program. Right: 21-year-old San Jose pilot, Owen Leipelt.
Canine Companions

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the lives of everyone and with no stone unturned in the virus’ unforgiving path, even the lives of future service puppies were impacted.

Due to the pandemic limiting commercial flights, non-profit organization Canine Companions, which is dedicated to providing service dogs to people who have disabilities, faced challenges in transporting their puppies to their volunteer trainers.

That’s when private pilots stepped up to the plate to help the organization and puppies, themselves.

Among those volunteer pilots will be 21-year-old San Jose resident Owen Leipelt, who will transport the adorable canine cargo to Carlsbad on Saturday. No stranger to service dogs, Leipelt’s parents have been involved with Canine Companions as puppy raisers since 1997 and he, himself, has helped train the puppies for their future service.

Leipelt is scheduled to arrive at the Carlsbad Jet Center at approximately 3 p.m. from the Sonoma Jet Center in Santa Rosa. After their arrival, the puppies will be united with their volunteer raisers who will train them on the necessary skills they’ll need to be a service dog.

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