A television show in the UK is bringing rescue dogs to new heights. Twelve pups will take to the sky in the upcoming show, Dogs Might Fly. Sky 1 intends to put the canines through a series of tests to determine their “communication, empathy, memory and reasoning” skills and see whether a dog can fly a plane.
Jamie Theakston will present the program, which features a dozen finalist dogs selected from rescue shelters across the country. The best in show (hehe) will continue on to flying school.
The top 12 will spend 10 weeks in a Sussex countryside mansion training with specialists, including an animal psychologist and a Hungarian professor of ethology.
The doggie dozen features the usual reality show players: the “joker,” a two-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier named Shadow; the “high-energy” contestant, Honey; and an 18-month-old Belgian shepherd named Tess, who is “a boisterous puppy that has now come into her own.” So basically it’s coming-of-age story meets The Real World, but with dogs…in a plane. Guys, DOGS ON A PLANE.
Episodes include the pups watching a cricket match, playing musical instruments, riding a high-rise elevator in London and riding a speedboat down the Thames. (Winning London, anyone?)
The premise is to expose the dogs to different stimuli and sensations to help the judges pick the most appropriate pooch to get behind the modified controls of a small aircraft.
Details of exactly how the dogs will “fly” a plane remains to be specified until the show airs. Carole Hawkson from Oxford Scientific Films notes the series tested intelligent dogs controlling aircrafts in a “safe and controlled way.”
Vancouver’s University of British Columbia canine psychology professor, Stanley Coren, has his doubts. “Given that we would not expect a human three-year-old to be able to fly a plane, I would not expect that a dog could do so either,” he tells The Independent.
All we know is we’ll be tuning in to Sky 1 on Sunday, February 28th see the dogs in action.
A happy SPOILER ALERT: All of the rescue dogs find new homes by the show’s end.