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Military And Pets - Can they do it?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Military And Pets
Can they live together as a forever family?

"Why do military people even have pets?  If you're in the military, you shouldn't own any."  I read that in a comment for a Facebook post seeking a home for a surrendered dog.  The owner had to deploy and gave his dog up to the local humane society.  My first instinct was to get defensive.  How dare someone judge a military member's abilities to care for their pet!  Then I sat and thought about it for a moment.  I went through the Craigslist Pets section and sure enough there were PLENTY of pets being rehomed due to deployments or new assignments.  My heart sank.

Bruce has moved with me, been boarded during temporary duties away from home, and even comes to work with me when I work late nights.  I couldn't give him up- I made a promise to him that this family is his last.  What goes through the minds of military members who end up giving up their dogs?

We're PCS'ing and can't take our dog.
Yes you can.  The priest who took in Bentley had his last cat for 14 years and he was stationed at a new place every 2-3 years.  That includes overseas locations.  That cat went with him every time.  A friend of mine has been in the military for 15 years and had his Labrador with him since he was a pup at my friend's first base.  He has travelled all over the country, overseas, and has been deployed several times.  The dog has never been rehomed. 

Exceptions:  Pit Bulls are banned in some locations.  In that case, you may have to rehome.  If this is the reason, though, rehome kindly and wisely.  Always have a back up plan for your pet.  Make dog-lover friends.  Not social enough?  Get social enough-- your dog depends on you.

My husband's deploying and I'm taking the kids to live with my mom.
I see this reason SO MUCH on Craigslist and Facebook.  First, as a single mom I understand wanting to be closer to family when you're the only parent in the home.  But I would never live with anyone who wouldn't allow my dog to come with me.  Sorry.  There's just no reason to make such a permanent decision for a temporary situation.  However, if you really MUST go live with your mom while your husband's deployed, why not find a foster home for your dog?

Our new place doesn't allow dogs (or dogs that are as big as mine).
Then why did you choose to move there?  Before I left my last base I did so much research for a home that would allow my 90lb dog.  It was hard!  But I didn't give up and I found a nice place.  I wasn't going to move to a new place knowing they didn't allow my dog.  It's not an option for me.  My dog is a part of my family-- he stays with me wherever I go as if he were my child.

Moving from a house to an apartment?  Bruce was an outside dog before I adopted him.  He didn't live in a home.  And now we're in an apartment that is under 900 square feet.  He doesn't have a yard to run in.  So we're forced to go outside on nature walks.  We love it.

My dog would be too stressed during the travel.
Don't you think he'd be less stressed moving WITH YOU than being dumped into a shelter or a new home?  Dogs are loyal animals.  They may be stressed during the trip or even adjusting to a new place, but here are a few questions:  Don't you stress during travels?  Don't you have to adjust to a new home?  Don't your kids?  Why is his stress more a reason to dump him than it is a normal part of life?

It's too expensive.
Dogs are NOT cheap!  But didn't you know that before you brought him into your family?  Just like humans, dogs require medical care, food, shelter, etc.  Humane societies and other outreach programs are dedicated to helping dog owners KEEP their dogs.  Turn to them for help that may be less expensive than other places.

Bottom Line
Military members CAN have dogs and be a great forever family-- If the military member is willing to be as dedicated to the dog as the dog is dedicated to its family.  Do onto others.  It's as simple as that.  There are so many wonderful military families who are wonderful dog-owners.  It is not impossible.

When military members keep their dogs throughout their dogs' lives, despite their military duties and the sacrifices that are made, they experience a love that can only exist between mankind and their dogs.

Nobody to keep your dog while you're gone?
There are people out there who WANT to help you!
Dogs On Deployment
Dogs on Deployment is a 501(c)(3) non-profit providing a central database for military members to find families and individuals who are willing to board their pets while they are deployed. No pet should ever be surrendered due to a military commitment. DoD exists to help military members keep their pets by alleviating the need for pet relinquishment from military members due to the hardships of deployments.
Military members, did you know that Sittercity offers you a free membership?
Apply with your DEERS information and you will have the ability to search for child AND pet care in your local area.  Sittercity offers reviews of caregivers as well as whether or not the provider has a current background check.
I use Sittercity and found my foster home for my dog to care for him while I was deployed!
Heartwarming Video
Oldie but goodie.  Enjoy!
Thank you for reading!
 I write not for myself but for my dog and others like him who
waited behind cage bars for someone to take them
Please send your input to me at Justkeepthedog@gmail.com!

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