Flying Puppies All Over the Country? How This Flight Nanny Found the Best Job Ever
We love puppies and travel, but we never thought we could combine them into a dream job!
Jennifer Kopczynski, part-time doggy flight nanny and viral TikToker, did just that. When the breeder she purchased her own toy poodle from asked her to fly a different toy poodle puppy to their new family in Washington with the costs covered, Kopczynski was happy to help out—especially considering the family had just lost their beloved family pet and couldn't wait to meet their newest addition.
"It took about half a day, and it was the most heartwarming thing I've ever done," Kopczynski tells Daily Paws. "Delivering that puppy to a family looking to fill the void of losing a loved one was one of the most special moments I've ever felt."
The resulting moment had such an impact that Kopczynski didn't hesitate when the breeder asked if she'd like to help out again in the future. That's when she realized exactly how involved it is being a flight nanny. Just like any other business, Kopczynski had some legwork to do up front, including registering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and getting a business license. And though the perks are undeniable—lots of cuddle time with puppies and the opportunity to travel with flight expenses covered—there's plenty of other work involved, too.
"You can't just become a flight nanny tomorrow," she says. "And it can be hard!"
Based in Seattle, Kopczynski's days as a flight nanny begin early, with wake-up calls sometimes as early as 3 a.m. Once she has the puppy in hand, she has a variety of hoops to jump through at the airport: a special check in, paperwork that varies by location, a crate inspection, and more. Before boarding, Kopczynski spends her time giving the traveling pups some pre-flight cuddles and soothing their nerves.
"Usually the dogs are anxious up until the moment of take off," she says. So Kopczynski puts in the time to bond with the dog and build up trust before they board, a key to a smooth flight for them both. In her experience—she's chaperoned roughly 30 animals since starting her business—the payoff for putting in the time to build this bond leads to relatively easy trips. The process is often so smooth that her seatmates sometimes don't even know there's a dog on board.
The ultra-cute journeys have earned plenty of views on TikTok, including 1.8 million for toy poodle Peanut's journey.
After disembarking comes the best—and toughest—part: bringing the dogs to their owners.
"My favorite part, and also the saddest part, is definitely saying goodbye and giving the dog to the person at the end of the trip," she says. "Whether that's someone getting a puppy for the first time or someone who has moved across the world and is just seeing their dog for the first time in weeks ... there's always a story behind each of my deliveries, and it's so heartwarming."
Luckily, Kopczynski keeps in touch with many of the families she works with and often follows them on social media so she can watch her fluffy charges grow up. And those heartwarming moments aren't in short supply: Kopczynski works with quite a few breeders, pet owners, and handlers, so her next trip is never too far off.