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Dying man gets his final wish to see his dog

P8010053_thumb By Tamara | March 15, 2012 | Comments (13)

Robert Calvert, his wife Debbie and Bailey

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.

Bailey on way to dying owner

"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.

Bailey with one of the pilots

Within hours, Bailey was once again by Calvert's side, lying next to him on his bed and with Debbie, Calvert's wife.

created on: 2012-03-15"(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

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Comments on this Article

So sorry for your loss. Kudos to Pilots n Paws for making sure that Bailey got there in time to be by his side. RIP Roger.
So sad but I am happy for the comfort he experienced when bailey was with him... and many thanks to Pilots and Paws, God bless them.
What a sad story. I am so glad that Bailey & Roger were reunited before Roger left. A huge thank you to Pilots N Paws, an awesome organization. RIP Roger
God Bless to all involved in making Roger's request happen.
So sad but I am happy for the comfort he experienced when bailey was with him... and many thanks to Pilots and Paws :)
Wonderful true and sad story..Dogs are truly man best friend...! Regards to all dogs lover who has read the true story above.
What a lovely story. Kudo's to all who make things like this happen. We all need our best friends when we are in our darkest hours. Love the picture of Bailey looking out the plane window!!
This story made me cry like a baby! Soo much love. Praying for all three of you roger
i am so glad that he got to see his dog before his last hours. we have a yellow lab a year old she is a wonderful dog and so loving. made me cry it is so sad but at least he got to see him
This story makes me happy and causes my heart to hurt at the same time. I know I want my precious dogs by my side as I leave this world. I too am glad Debbie and Bailey will have each other because they will be able to comfort each other. I spend much of my time advocating for the rescue and adoption of shelter pets all over the country. There are so many amazing groups like Pilots N Paws who transport adopted shelter pets to their forever homes wherever those homes are. I am so grateful for the presence of such caring people in this world.
I'm so glad to hear that everything fell into place to get Bailey to Roger's side before he passed away. I would want the same kind of comfort in my last hours. And it's good that Bailey was there for Debbie, too, since she will need Bailey even more at this time. What a beautiful dog Bailey is.
it's so hard when someone has to go before his loyal pets, I have to cry because my heart that hurts so much. but for the animals it is a nightmare they are like children.It is so sad :0(
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