Service members everywhere deal with problems during their military careers. One problem they might encounter is worrying what to do with their family pet when it comes time to deploy.
Having experienced this, 2nd Lt. Alisa Sieber-Johnson, a flight student with Marine Aviation Training Support Group 21 in Pensacola, Fl., wanted to help others who found themselves in a similar situation.
I had orders to Quantico, Va. where I had to attend military training for six months, my husband was deployed, and we needed a place for our dog to stay while we were away, Johnson said.
“Luckily, we had family we could rely on to take care of our dog,” she said. “We realized that other service members may not have family near them who will be willing to board their pets while they are away.”
Dogs on Deployment is a national non-profit networking site which promotes responsible pet-ownership and is a resource for military members to search for a volunteer willing to board their pets during deployments, training or hardships.
“Our website is open to all active duty, reserve service members and veterans currently employed with the government,” said Johnson. “We have sign-ups for military members needing help and volunteers to take care of service members’ pets.”
Throughout the year, DoD has helped nearly 80 military pets find homes in their owner’s absence and has a network of more than 600 boarders nationwide.
“DoD has helped me a lot on this previous deployment,” said Lance Cpl. Jonathan Contreras, an infantryman with 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force. “I was worried about having to put (Diego) down, but as soon as I heard the great news of someone willing to take in Diego, that made my job overseas much easier and less stressful.”
DoD has resources available for assisting military families who are deployed or stationed overseas with finding a place for their pet while they are away and also offer other services.
“There aren’t a lot of military organizations that provide help to service members with pets,” said Johnson, owner of two miniature Australian Shepherds and a Caique parrot. “We strive to provide assistance to military members with pets who are in need of help.”
For more information about Dogs on Deployment, visit http://www.dogsondeployment.org/.