Two weeks ago, Roger Calvert was getting a routine check up in Pittsburgh when it was discovered the cancer he had 5 years ago had returned and he only had a few days to live.
In an instant, Roger's life had turned and he was moved to hospice care. He had travelled to Pittsburgh from Florida, where he was now living with his family.
On hearing the news, Calvert said his dying wish was to have his beautiful 7-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever by his side as he took his final journey.
Nick Petti, of Family Hospice and Palliative Care, got to work right away to figure out how to get Bailey from Florida to Pittsburgh to be with Roger. He called around right away and soon learned of a group called Pilots N Paws. The group organizes transport flights for animals to be rescued from shelters across the country.
Upon receiving Petti's request and hearing Calvert's story, Pilots N Paws volunteer Liz Bondarek immediately sent out emails asking if there was anyone who could help. Within a few hours she heard back from several pilots that were willing to help fly Bailey and fulfill the dying man's request. After some quick-thinking coordination, Bailey was on his way, flying on three separate private planes to get to Pittsburgh to be with his family.
"The project coordinator had emailed me saying things just lined up - that she had a pilot in Florida, and he saw the email and immediately responded to it," Petti said.
Within hours, Bailey was once again by Calvert's side, lying next to him on his bed and with Debbie, Calvert's wife.
"(Calvert) was visibly relieved when Bailey was there with him. This huge burden seemed to be off his shoulders, and he was more calm and comfortable that she had arrived and was there with him," Petti said.
Bailey is, in fact, Roger's wife Debbie's service dog, as Debbie suffers from MS. In thanking the Pilots N Paws group, Roger and Debbie Calvert wrote a note saying "My husband and I can't thank you enough for bringing us our baby girl, Bailey. She will help my husband and I through this difficult time. People like you are true treasures. Thank you so very much."
Roger passed away on Wednesday night.
Photos courtesy of Pilots N Paws