Anipals, Pet Aviators and the secret adventures of the pet underground

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Gabby DogSomething about being trapped in the house after a blizzard — and, oh yes, that follow-up “small” snow storm — made me want to do something exciting, like barrel over Niagara Falls.

The Gabby Dog took on the Falls challenge last summer and received a cautionary letter from New York’s governor, who mentioned something about jail and better ways to have fun in the Empire State.

OK, to be clear, Gabby took a virtual ride during a Twitter mission with #TheAviators, the club for anipals and pet lovers. It happened after she downed several barrels of virtual beer, on the advice of an experienced pilot Miss Lucky (@lucky_GSD on Twitter).

The Gabby Dog is still a bit of a novice in the air, thanks to her human’s keyboaScreen Shot 2015-02-04 at 5.02.06 PMrding deficits, but the club is offering another free flying basics class on Feb. 7. Wanna sign up? Just send a tweet to @TheAviatorsClub.

Anipals – as you probably already know and I only recently found out – are characters based on real animals or teddy bears. Miss Lucky is based on a German shepherd rescue; and despite her sad past, she’s best described – in keeping with the barrel theme – as a barrel of fun.

The Lucy Bowl: Cats vs. Dogs, as seen in the Anapal Times.
The Lucy Bowl: Cats vs. Dogs, as seen in the Anapal Times.

The anipals have their own news publication – The Anipal Times – which chronicles weddings, social events, space missions and other stuff. Yep, they’re on Facebook and Twitter and probably other digital outlets, too.

Some anipals – like Boris Kitty and Captain Lil’Bit from Pawfleet – dabble in philanthropy and throw charity events for pets with medical needs. Asia, the immortal tabby, signed up for the Pawfleet club and attended law school to become their first Judge Advocate General.

Gabby belongs to #TheAviators club, which meets at airports to eat virtual bacon sandwiches and fly adventures together.

You see how personality shines through in the Twittersphere.

The Aviators do also have a serious side. Once every three months, the pilots organize a tribute flight to honor pets at the Rainbow Bridge. You can ask to have a pet remembered even if you don’t belong to the club.

Bj1txxSIEAAWteQI found out about the club and asked if Gabby could join. That’s how I met Toddy Furrington, the steampunk teddy bear.

Toddy messaged me back with all the details and offered to help pick out a plane. Gabby now flies a Hawk t1 fighter, decked out in Royal Air Force red and blue colors, which set off her classic look — black and white – with little spots.

In my brief experience with the club, I’ve seen anipals fly missions in everything but a kite – and that might happen someday, too – but the Hawk t1 is a simplified jet and good for training.

Toddy also outfitted my intrepid Peke-a-Poo with a pair of aviator goggles and made her avatar, which you have seen every week running as the logo with this column.

Toddy Furrington
Toddy Furrington

Now there are a few rules, I found out, but the club members help. For instance, during a mission, you have to put #TheAviators in your tweet or nobody will see your message.

This can be a problem, if your message is “Help!” But fortunately, Taz and Daisy will keep an eye on the newbies.

Since the club has members on five – at least five  – continents, it’s truly an exercise in international cooperation.

Here’s the schedule for the next few weeks:

  • Feb. 7—Flying School Basics
  • Feb. 21 –Advanced Flying School
  • March 7 – Adventure Flight
  • April 4 – Tribute Flight
  • May 2 — Flying School Basics
  • May 23 — –Advanced Flying School

Toddy is teaching Barnstorming at the advanced class on Feb. 21. Northern mission takes off at 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Early birds can hop up at 4 a.m. for the Southern mission, or see The Aviators Club for the other time zones.

Have a tip or story idea? E-mail Margo Ann Sullivan at and
Follow The_Gabby_Dog on Twitter.

Margo Ann Sullivan
Margo Ann Sullivan

Margo Ann Sullivan is a pet columnist who has written for ZooToo, and numerous publications in New York and in New England. She’s had pets all her life, starting with a rescue collie named Lollypop. The Gabby Dog column chases the news that helps pets and people. It also chronicles the adventures of Gabby, the peke-a-poo, and Asia, the tabby cat, and their many pals, hitting the high spots between Providence, RI, and Manchester, NH.


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Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!