In April 2012, I left a 10-year career in veterinary medicine to embark on a new opportunity at Secure Components. My job at Secure Components allows me the opportunity to work directly with military men and women every day. As I forge new relationships with these folks, its my job to help them. Like most things I do in life, I dove into my new position with an intense passion to help make the environment I work in and those that work in it a better place. In doing so, I find myself considering their problems and concerns as I watch the sacrifice they make for our country. I am an animal lover at heart, especially dogs, and recently came across a story that I felt compelled to write about. Think about how we can support our troops as you read on.
With Memorial Day quickly approaching, this story is all the more fitting. As we all take the time to reflect and memorialize our fallen heroes on Memorial Day, there is one more aspect that you may not have considered. What happens to the pets of our fallen heroes?
If you too are a dog lover, I suggest you take a moment to read the short story about Paul Mallory and his beloved lab, Tank. To sum it up, it is a letter from a soldier who had to give up his dog before he was deployed to Iraq. Paul wrote the letter and it was only to be read by the new owner if he doesnt return.
After regaining my composure from this heart-wrenching story, my husband was kind enough to inform me that he looked the story up on Snopes.com to find it was False. (I did take satisfaction from the fact that I knew it made him cry at work, otherwise, he would not have looked it up.) Nonetheless, the storyline hit me very hard. This must be the reality of many of our men and women who bravely risk their lives for our country. What happens to their pets if they dont have a support system at home? As we wind down in Iraq and the fighting continues in Afghanistan and we endure the current sequestration, the tours can extend longer than expected. There are times that a soldier is deployed so quick that they are left with very few options to find a good home for their pet. A shelter or humane society does not have to be the answer. We all know how crowded our shelters are and often the outcome is not positive. Nor is a shelter a temporary answer. Fortunately, the options may be brighter than you think.
My research revealed two great foundations that are setup specifically for this situation. These services will assist military personal in finding safe, temporary homes for their pet. The U. S. Department of Defense recommends Operation Noble Foster www.facebook.com/operationnoblefoster or Military Pets Foster Project." https://www.netpets.org/netp/foster.php
Operation Noble Foster is a cat-based non-profit organization that has been around since 2001. This is a free service for anyone in the military that needs to find a temporary home for their cat. Arrangements will be negotiated between the foster family and the owner, as far as expenses. All cats are required to be neutered and are recommended that they come with a resume. As cats tend to be on the shy side, this will aide in the foster family knowing the likes and dislikes of your feline friend.
Military Pets Foster Project on the other hand is a non-profit organization for all animals. Dogs, cats, horses, birdsyou name it they will help. Again, the fostering is free but expenses will be discussed between the foster family and the owner. They too recommend a resume about your pet to help the foster family learn your pets personality. This organization was started September 19, 2001 by Veterinarian Steve Albin and has fostered over 8,000 pets.
Both organizations have a screening process of their foster homes and have signed agreements between both parties that this is truly a temporary home. Please pass the word on about the organizations. This is a great option to a bad situation. We need to be responsible and keep our pets out of shelters.
When you think of the selfless souls who sacrifice their happiness for our security, you realize how much you have to be grateful for. To all of our men and women who protect and serve, thank you. The least we can do is protect and love your pets while you serve our country. This is a great way to show our support for our military.
I hope my passion to write about this subject has sparked some interest from others, and I am hopeful we can work together to make a difference in the world, as we all do our part. In the meantime, if you find yourself in need of some basic pet advice, or need help with a hard to find NSN# you need me to track down; I will be here to help. Have a great Memorial Day.
It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle. Norman Schwarzkopf