This Restaurant Owner Is Using The Pandemic Downtime To Fly Animals To Safety

A restaurant owner in Chicago is coping with devastating layoffs and closures brought on by the pandemic by rescuing animals at risk of being euthanized.

Eduard Seitan, a partner at One Off Hospitality is using his old plane — a military-style number that he says cost less than most cars — to transport cats and dogs to foster families and no-kill rescue organizations across the country.

The flights are coordinated by Pilots N Paws, a nonprofit that connects volunteer pilots to animals who have been abused or are in danger from natural disasters.

“Flying is my really happy place,” Seitan told Today. “Since the pandemic started, because of the extra time I had on my hands, I have been flying a lot more than usual. But now, I only fly with a purpose for Pilots N Paws.”

So far, he has flown over 40 pets to safety for the nonprofit.

Seitan, who has two rescue dogs of his own, also volunteers to care for dogs whenever possible for Chicago Animal Care and Control.

“I think it does so much to your soul when you start volunteering, in general, for anything,” he said. “But for me, because of my love for animals, it makes me feel so good and so complete and so happy at the end of the mission knowing that I helped an animal to get to a better life.”