In one-of-a-kind milestones the world has reached, dogs have learned to fly planes!
A New Zealand animal trainer and zoologist Mark Vette coached three dogs for four months and made them learn to fly planes and do a figure 8 in the sky for the final episode of Dogs Might Fly aired on Sky 1 in UK.
Vette chose 12 dogs from a British rescue shelter to train them for the program, but only three - Reggie, Shadow, and Alfie, were chosen to fly the plane after extensive training through simulators.
The dogs under him had previously learned how to drive a car, but flying the plane was altogether a different endeavor, Vette said.
The Dogs Might Fly series also explored the cognition of dogs, and while they could not steer by looking outside, they were trained to respond to colored lights. The blue light signaled the canines to turn left, red light told them to turn right, and white light flashed to make them go straight.
Vette said that the chosen dogs enjoyed the training, and that animal welfare was their top priority.
"We built a deep connection to the dogs we were training...the crucial element was communication," he said. "Most importantly, this exercise has proven that shelter dogs are not secondhand goods."
"They are smart dogs that deserve a chance at life. Anyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about dog welfare and rescue, and I feel that's the entire point of what we did - to bring attention to the fact that there are thousands of dogs abandoned every year that are good dogs that need to find good homes," he added.
Though the dogs did not take off or land the plane, they did a full figure-8 in Cessna 172, which is a four seater, while filming in London.
"It's a two way trust because you're in a potentially dangerous environment. It can be all over, you've got to be careful," he told news.com.au.
"It takes a lot of training and a lot of work and integration to build that collaboration but it's amazing, the more I've flown with the dogs the more intuitive they get," he said.