Service members have a lot on their plates sorting out their personal lives and responsibilities before being deployed. They often have to see to getting their belongings stored and any financial obligations still pending back home arranged. It isn’t as if they can just don a uniform and leave. And if they have pets to worry about and no family or friends that can commit to sheltering them while they are away, they are frequently faced with having to surrender their furry or feathered friends.
Having someone to come home to after serving can be priceless. That’s where Dogs on Deployment comes in. Dogs on Deployment supports pets of all types that belong to active duty, reservists, National Guard, honorably discharged veterans, first responders, and government service employees and their families.
Military Vets with Pets
Dogs on Deployment is a national nonprofit founded by Shawn and Alisa Johnson in June 2011. Shawn served in the U.S. Navy as an MH-60S helicopter pilot to become a Lieutenant Commander, and Alisa served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a KC-130J transport pilot earning the rank of Captain. Their current mission is to provide service members peace of mind during their military commitments by providing them with the ability to find people and resources able to help them free of charge.
Responsible Pet Ownership
The organization promotes responsible, life-long pet ownership. Caring for a pet provides structure and purpose. It’s a reason for getting up in the morning. Many veterans feel lost without the discipline and routine associated with military life. More than a quarter of them have reported difficulty in re-entering the civilian world. For a lot of them, pets provide the routine and discipline they experienced in the armed forces but find lacking once they’re back home.
Just as important, a pet is someone to talk to who always listens, always loves you, never judges, and never divulges your secrets. Veterans who have difficulty sharing their military experiences with even those closest to them are often able to talk to their pets. Pets also help ease the impacts of PTSD, depression, and anxiety.
Advocacy for Vets
The group advocates for service member pet-owner rights on military installations, providing educational resources for veterans regarding responsible pet ownership, granting financial assistance for help with their pet’s care during emergencies, promoting healthy pet lifestyles, including spay and neuter, insurance options, microchips, and vaccinations. They also connect with community organizations to ensure Dogs on Deployment resources are available to military families.
Volunteer Pet Foster Parents
Dogs on Deployment’s goal is to have boarders located near all major military installations in the United States. They believe military members should be able to locate a Dogs on Deployment boarder located within 50 miles, regardless of the base they’re stationed at or deploying from. But they need the public’s help to make it happen.
A worthy cause, if you’re willing to or interested in becoming a pet fosterer for a veteran while they’re deployed, go to dogsondeployment.org for more information, and lighten the load of our servicemen and women today.Whizzco