Amarillo ER doctor and pilot saves animals being euthanized by flying them across the country

Updated: Jan. 22, 2021 at 10:34 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - One Amarillo doctor is not only saving lives in the emergency room, but he is also helping keep dogs in the Texas Panhandle alive.

Dr. Frederick Poage has been doubling as an ER doctor and a pilot.

Last year, he began flying patients to doctors appointments for free.

Now he is using his time, money and plane flying animals across the country.

“It’s just so much fun. You know you get to fly around the country and give back at the same time, do a little good in the world. Yeah, it’s a lot of fun,” said Dr. Frederick Poage, emergency room doctor at Northwest Texas freestanding emergency rooms and a pilot.

The Texas panhandle has an issue with an abundance of cats and dogs.

So bad, that some are euthanized when there is no room at area shelters.

“I wish that every shelter and animal in the panhandle could find a home but quite frankly that just doesn’t happen and thousands and thousands are euthanized every year just because they’re unwanted,” said Brenda Walsh, rescue and transport coordinator, Friends of Texas Panhandle Shelter Pets.

To help, Dr. Poage volunteers for free to fly animals to different parts of the county that either have room in shelters or have a family looking to adopted.

“Most of the time, it’s from a shelter to a shelter, what I’ve been doing. I’ve taken a lot of dogs from Hereford and the surrounding shelter areas,” said Dr. Poage.

Walsh says states in the north don’t have the same problem of overpopulation like Texas does.

“A lot of other states, especially in the north, they have a little different view point on animals. Even if they don’t have spay and neuter laws, a lot of them will do that anyway and prevent their pets from over populating,” said Walsh.

On top of being an emergency room doctor in the middle of a pandemic, Dr. Poage says flying these animals at risk is a nice break from reality.

“I worked yesterday and saw 41 patients in 11 hours, 24 of them were in the last six of those hours and yeah it gets pretty crazy. Aside from being with my family this is my favorite thing to do. What better way than to carry some dogs and people around,” said Dr. Poage.

The Friends of Texas Panhandle Shelter Pets says they are looking for volunteers to help fly and drive animals to different shelters and veterinary appointments.

Information on how to volunteer or donate can be found on the Facebook page of Friends of Texas Panhandle Shelter Pets.

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