Flight to freedom: Rescue dog flies in private plane to Tehachapi

It was an unusual combination in the cockpit. A flight to Kern County on Friday brought an instructor, a student pilot, and a rescued dog together.
Flying high above the Tehachapi mountains, a small plane soared past hundreds of windmills before it landed at Tehachapi Municipal Airport.

"What better way to make an entrance," said Zach Skow, Founder of Marley's Mutts Dog Rescue. An unlikely passenger sat inside the Cessna 126.  "Lucky girl for sure," he continued.

Diamond is a two-year-old pit bull. For the past year, Diamond has been living out of a car in Long Beach. She's had a rough life and it shows.

"She's got an auto-immune disease which is potentially life-threatening. She's also got mange, which is a skin condition," explained Skow.

A woman recently took Diamond in and plotted her escape. Skow said Los Angeles-based rescues are bursting at the seams. The woman arranged for Diamond to be taken in by Skow in Bear Valley Springs.

"I thought Diamond would have been coming by vehicle, and then we were told she was coming by helicopter," he said.

Cody Pierce is the owner of a flight school in Long Beach. He has a soft spot for rescue dogs because he has one at home.

"She spent half the time looking out the window and half the time trying to sit in the front seat," said Pierce.

Pierce donated his time and plane to fly Diamond 140 miles from Long Beach to Tehachapi.

"We would have been coming up doing a flight like this anyhow, so it was convenient for everybody," he continued.

The high-flying rescue made for a unique day of flight school for Nigel Tam, a student from Australia.

"I thought it was a great experience, learning how to adjust to a new type of passenger," said Tam.

Pierce, Tam, and Diamond touched down in Tehachapi Friday morning and met Skow at the airport.

"Hopefully, it's a 'rags to riches' story and she will find a permanent home," said Pierce.

Without her unlikely team of rescuers, Diamond could have been another dog at an overcrowded shelter, put to sleep and forgotten by now.

But, Diamond's story is different. Her story is just beginning. Diamond will spend time learning how to be a dog again at Marley's Mutts before she's adopted out to a loving home.

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