Long Island parents, be aware that the adage “When pigs fly” no longer applies.
Florida-based Pet Airways landed its first pig, Bosley, Thursday night on the runway at Republic Airport in East Farmingdale. The 8-year-old, 49-pound miniature potbelly pig is on the way to his “forever home” in Sag Harbor, where he will live with his adoptive family, who requested anonymity for privacy reasons.
After his arrival, the Pet Airways terminal buzzed with the cooing of staffers and the click-clack of Bosley’s hooves on the lounge’s hardwood floor. Pet Airways staff steered Bosley around the lounge with the lure of dog biscuits and Cheerios.
“Now pigs can fly, and for me it’s so exciting and so fun,” said Alysa Binder, chief development officer of Pet Airways. She and her husband, Dan Wiesel, co-founded the airline to cater to the needs of animals in flight after their Jack Russell terrier, Zoey, was psychologically traumatized while in the cargo hold during a commercial flight. Pet Airways has terminals servicing 10 major cities in the United States; all of its New York business goes through Republic.
“This is allowing pets to move to different places for different reasons and know they are going to get there in a safe manner,” Binder added.
Bosley was originally adopted as a piglet by a Florida family, according to information Binder received from the Tri-County Humane Society in Boca Raton, which placed him with the Sag Harbor family. Over time, Bosley grew too large for his home, so he was turned in to the humane society. He was placed with a foster family in Palm Beach until a permanent home was found.
The plane, which originated in Palm Beach, had layovers in Atlanta and Baltimore before reaching New York. That allowed the flight crew to take the animals off the plane and walk them, reducing their stress levels, according to Binder.
Bosley appeared content when he deplaned onto the tarmac at Republic. He began to eat immediately.
“It’s all about our ‘Pawsengers,’ as we call them,” Binder said. “I guess now we’ll have to call them ‘Hoofengers.’”