Caring for Pets of Military Families

Military Pet

Story at-a-glance -

  • Many deployed members of the U.S. armed forces have pets at home, and often these pets are relinquished to shelters if there is no one available to take over care of the animal while the soldier is away.
  • The good news is there are organizations available to help military families find temporary homes for their animals so that pet and pet owner can be reunited when the serviceman or woman returns home.
  • Pet relinquishment among military personnel is a significant problem these organizations and others like them are attempting to address for the benefit of both pets and their owners.

By Dr. Becker

Many deployed American armed forces personnel leave pets back home. And if they don’t have friends or family willing to care for the animal during their absence, often they feel they have no choice but to relinquish their furry friend to an animal shelter.

Fortunately, there are organizations willing to help care for the pets of military personnel serving our country overseas. Three of those are Dogs on Deployment, Guardian Angels for Soldiers’ Pets, and Dog Vacay.

DogVacay is a system that brings together people willing to provide vacation or temporary homes for other people’s dogs, with pet owners who are planning a vacation or some other activity – like deployment – that requires they leave their pet behind.

DogVacay invites anyone who is interested to apply for a listing to host ‘vacationing’ dogs in their homes. Hosts set their own prices, availability and other preferences such as what types of dogs they are willing to take.

Dog owners can search for hosts in their area, ask questions of potential hosts, request a meeting, and make reservations and payments directly through the website. The site takes a 5 to 10 percent fee from the host’s earnings depending on the amount of activity he or she generates.

According to the website, soldiers in need of long term dog board should contact the DogVacay concierge team at (855) DOG-VACAY or send an email to [email protected]

Guardian Angels for Soldiers’ Pets

Guardian Angels for Soldiers' Pets is a 501(c)(3) organization that helps find temporary foster homes for pets of active duty single and dual military couples that receive deployment orders.

In addition, Guardian Angels assists with pets of wounded warriors and honorable and general discharged veterans who are temporarily homeless or undergoing treatment in a medical facility. They also provide help to families of deployed military who for medical reasons find they cannot care for a pet, as well as military families with a permanent change of station (PCS) who cannot immediately bring their pet to their new location.

The organization also provides temporary foster homes for pets of military families whose loved one has been killed in action or by suicide.

Dogs on Deployment

Dogs on Deployment is also a 501(c)(3) national non-profit which provides an online database for military service members to search for individuals or families who are willing to care for a pet for the length of the owner's deployment.

Among the organization’s goals is to have boarding homes identified near every major military base in the U.S. so that military members can find a boarder within 50 miles, no matter what base they are stationed at or deployed from.

The organization also hopes to petition for annual military-wide pet responsibility training to deal with the problem of pet relinquishment by military members. The group hopes at some point pets will be viewed by military regulations as part of the family, not disposable property.

Another goal of the organization is to help qualified military members with pet care expenses before and during deployments in order to promote responsible pet ownership.

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