JOHNS ISLAND -- Bosco, an 8-year-old Labrador retriever, showed no sign of trauma on Sunday when he got off a single-engine plane after a flight from Atlanta's DeKalb-Peachtree airport.
The dog acted like any rambunctious Lab -- half his age -- as he excitedly ran around, greeting an entourage of people waiting for him at Charleston Executive Airport on Johns Island.
Yet Bosco's story could have been like thousands of sad endings that take place weekly in the United States.
Bosco, his owner and his caretakers have been through a lot in the past two years.
His owner, Cameron Murphy, has been fighting in remote regions of Afghanistan. Murphy entrusted his dog to his parents, Laurie and Tony Brown.
Like so many Americans, the Browns, who live in Atlanta, got caught in the economic crisis that has plagued the nation since 2008. Both lost higher-paying jobs. They found lower-paying jobs, but haven't been able to keep up with the bills. A leak that caused $6,000 worth of damage broke the camel's back.
They are on the verge of foreclosure.
"I never thought this would happen to us," said Laurie Brown, who used to work in finance, adding that they have to find another place to live.
Those housing options, she said, won't allow them to keep Bosco, so they had to find a home for him. They talked the situation over with Murphy and he requested that they not take Bosco to a conventional animal shelter for fear they he would be killed.
"I did everything I could to place
Bosco, but between his size and his age, nobody wanted him," she said.
Melissa Gray, founder of locally-based Daisy's Place, has been working in animal rescue for years. She agrees with Brown that people don't want older dogs and that many shelters won't even put them up for adoption. For that reason, Gray founded Daisy's Place as a rescue for retrievers that are age 6 and older. She named it after a 10-year-old retriever that she adopted.
Gray found out about Bosco when the Georgia-based SOS Lab Rescue contacted her, and arranged to transport the dog via plane with Jeff Schlueter, a marketing executive who is part of the Pilots N Paws program.
The program connects pilots with rescue efforts. Bosco was the third dog that Schlueter has flown to Charleston to be placed with Daisy's Place.
"Pilots are always looking for a good reason to fly and I'm a big dog lover," said Schlueter.
The flight between Atlanta and Johns Island takes about an hour and half in good weather conditions, Schlueter said. Weather can delay a delivery.
Bosco was originally set to arrive Aug. 21, but a series of storms along the route cancelled it.
"When you fly a single-engine plane, you don't challenge the weather," Schlueter said.
After his arrival, Bosco headed to the home of his foster owners and awaits a permanent home in Charleston.