Category Archives: DoD Successes and Reunions

Success stories for Dogs on Deployment’s Pets in Need


SUMMER ROUND UP II – Reunions, Virtual 5K & Abigail

 

PCS & Pet Reunion Success Stories / A Virtual 5K Race to Benefit Dogs on Deployment’s Pet Chit Financial Assistance Program. …PLUS AN UPDATE ON “BONNETS FOR ABIGAIL!”

PET CHIT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Dogs on Deployment understands that pets do a great deal to enhance and complete our lives in numerous ways. We aim to promote responsible, lifelong pet ownership within the military-pet community. Dogs on Deployment’s military-pet foster network reunites as many military families with their pets as possible, and the Pet Chit Financial Assistance Program helps with the financial costs.

Pet Chit Success Stories Keep Military Members & Pets Together

“Captain Jones”

“Captain” Jones, at your service.

Caitlin Jones, an E-3 in the US Marine Corps, served and lived with her family in Okinawa, Japan. They have enjoyed the love and company of their Great Dane, “Captain,” since he was a puppy. “He is a huge part of our family, no pun intended,” said Caitlin. The Jones family was expecting their next PCS in 2018, but when Caitlain’s spouse needed to be medically discharged from service, they were left financially unprepared for the cost of suddenly flying Captain back to the United States as unaccompanied cargo. A Pet Chit was granted to the Jones family to help with expenses.

 

After Captain safely returned to his family, Caitlin said, “thank you Dogs on Deployment – we appreciate your consideration and help with Captain’s flight!”

 

 

 “Smeagles” Scherrer

After seven years of service in Okinawa, Japan, Joshua Scherrer, E-6, US Coast Guard, received orders to PCS to Frederick, Maryland this summer. Josh and his wife prepared to travel back to the states with their three rescue pets – a dog and two cats. Their military chartered flight back home allowed for the two cats to return with the Scherrer family, but there was no space left for their dog, “Smeagles.”

The adorable Smeagles is once again a happy camper.

It was a stressful time said Josh, noting that “when we got to Seattle, WA, we had to purchase a car so we could drive cross country for our new PCS. Then I was informed that we would need to purchase new housing appliances upon arrival in Maryland. Almost Home Pet Transportation recommended that I reach out to Dogs on Deployment to apply for help with the cost of Smeagles’ transport.” A Pet Chit was granted to the Scherrer family to help with the expense.

 

After Smeagles was reunited with the rest of the family, Josh told us “all went well with the pets! Thank you to the organization, and we’re happy to be featured in the Dogs on Deployment blog – sharing our story is the least we can do for you all. We are all very grateful!”

 

Stella Thornborrow

“Stella!” How cute is she?!

Alexander Thornborrow, E-4, US Army, received orders to PCS to Germany, and with his wife, Kelly, planned to bring their rescue dog, Stella with them. Said Alex previously, “Stella has been through a lot, and is a huge member of our family. But my wife’s student loans and other expenses made the cost of shipping our dog a hardship.” The Thornborrow family applied for financial assistance and were granted a Pet Chit.

Stella finally arrives in Germany to reunite with dad, Alex.

 

Kelly Thornborrow told Dogs on Deployment, “Stella made it to Germany despite some paperwork confusion. She was happily reunited with us and has settled into life in Germany. We are so grateful for the Pet Chit, it helped us all begin our new life here together as a family! Being with our dog again has made our transition in a new country so much easier – we will always hold a special place in our hearts for Dogs on Deployment. Thanks again!!”

 

Willow Mata

Sunnie Mata, E-5, US Air Force, received orders to PCS to Germany, and was looking forward to making the move with her son and their dog, Willow. In preparation for their new life, Sunnie began saving all she could in the hopes of buying a house off base with a big yard for Willow.

 

The Mata Family

 

“Willow is not just a dog, she is a family member,” said Sunnie. “I am a single parent to a five-year old boy, and we searched for the perfect dog to join our family. When we first saw Willow, it was instant love – she fits in so well with us!”

 

 

 

Best buddies.

 

Who is photo-bombing who in this picture?

Willow’s size exceeded the weight limit for the military flight to Germany, so the Mata family had to make other arrangements. Dogs on Deployment granted Sunnie a Pet Chit so that Willow could join them in Germany and keep a smile on her son’s face. Afterwards, Sunnie told Dogs on Deployment, “Everything is going as planned so far. We couldn’t have done it without your help, and are so grateful. Thank you!”

 

Dogs on Deployment’s First Annual 5K Pet & Family Trot

Registration has begun for Dogs on Deployment’s First Annual Pet and Family Trot (PFT), a “virtual race” that will benefit our non-profit organization’s critical mission of providing a robust network for military members to find volunteers willing to care for their pets while they’re away serving our country. Register now, and run through August 31st to participate!

A virtual race is a race that can be ran at any location. You can walk, use the treadmill, run outside or participate in another race. You can run your race at your pace wherever you like, however you’d like.

Some FAQs About the First Annual (PFT)

How does a virtual race work? A virtual race can be done at any venue that you wish. You can walk, jog, skip or run the distance of your choice. You can complete your race at the gym on a treadmill, a practice run in town, a stroll in the park, or another local racing event. The Dogs on Deployment PFT believes in the honor system so no proof is required for your race, but it would be awesome if you could upload pictures and tell us about your experience on our Facebook page. All race participants, human and canine, will be about to download a race bib and will be mailed a finisher’s medal.

Why should I do a virtual race? The short answer would be because they are cool! If you need more convincing, the top 3 reasons would include:

  • The chance to add a really cool medal to your collection (and a really cool collar charm for your pup!).
  • Complete control over your schedule. Complete the race on your own time, at your own venue. No travel expenses, no hassle with parking, no waking up early (unless you want to!).
  • An opportunity to support a great cause. Proceeds from the 5K will benefit Dogs on Deployment’s Pet Chit Financial Assistant Program. These Pet Chits help to provide financial assistance to qualifying military members for help with pet care during times of need. It is no surprise that a military lifestyle can be challenging on an individual and family, and an unexpected pet expense may cause undue stress before an upcoming service commitment.

 

 

Who can participate? Everybody and anybody! There is no age limit and there are no restrictions. So run, jog, walk, crawl, run alone, run in a group, run with your pet, bike, hike, it doesn’t matter. Just get out there and get moving!

Can I complete the race with a group? Of course! You can register for the 5k as an individual or as part of a team!

Do the medals come with a ribbon? Yes! Every medal will come with a ribbon!🏅

When you register yourself and your pet for the trot/race you will both receive a finisher’s medal. Your dog can proudly wear the pet medallion on their collar.

When will my medal ship? Medals will be ready to ship on August 23rd, so they will come your way once you have completed the PFT! We will keep you posted if they will ship any sooner (fingers and paws crossed).

We can’t wait to see you hit the pavement! Lace up your 👟, grab your 🐕 leash and let’s go!🐾 Still have questions? Email us today at run@dogsondeployment.org and we will answer any questions you have.

 

Bonnets for Abigail Updates

“Bonnets for Abigail” supports the mission of Dogs on Deployment. (See link to her story by clicking here.) We told you in a recent blog post of sweet Abigail, a dog abused and left for dead, who was rescued, rehabilitated and who went on to be an international spokes-dog, helping raise awareness to end dog fighting. Abigail is a beacon of hope, and love.

 

Bonnets, bonnets. bonnets!

Abigail is nominated for the 2017 American Humane’s Emerging Hero Dog Award, and has selected Dogs on Deployment as her charity partner. She already won Round One of the competition – congratulations Abby! As a result, “Bonnets for Abigail” donated $2500.00 to Dogs on Deployment. If Abigail wins top honors and takes home the title of 2017 American Hero Dog, an additional $5,000 will be awarded to Dogs on Deployment – everybody wins!!

VOTE – VOTE – VOTE DAILY!

We need your daily votes to show your support for Abigail. Click here once every day http://herodogawards.org/dog/abigail/ now through August 30, and vote for Abigail as top dog. Help Dogs on Deployment and help Abigail to be an ambassador, teacher and hero dog for all!

 

Now life is just a walk in the park for Abigail!

Abigail has Found Fur-Ever Love!

Last but not least, we happily report that Abigail has been adopted into her fur-ever home. She recently joined her mother, father and fur-sister (also a rescued pit-mix) in their digs, and everyone has been enjoying the Florida sunshine, and one another.

The adventures of “Bonnets for Abigail” can be seen on Facebook every day (click here to check it out), where sweet Abigail now has a loyal following of about 19,000 followers. That’s one popular pooch!

Good luck Abigail – we’ll see you and your bonnets on the red carpet for the awards show!!

 

Summer Round Up: Pet Boarding, PCS & Pet Reunion Success

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People Helping One Another, One Paw at a Time

Everyone at Dogs on Deployment voluntarily gives of their time and talents as a way of saying “thank you” to the many U.S. military service men and women who temporarily part with their pets when duty calls.

Our nationwide network of volunteers includes pet boarders and foster pet parents whose participation is critical to Dogs on Deployment’s success. This community of people continues to grow and open their homes and hearts to temporarily care for pets – like dogs, cats, rabbits, etc. The result is peace of mind for the military pet owner. We are grateful to them all, and always happy to share good news and success stories when they are brought to our attention!

Pet Boarding: Leppla Family Saves the Day for a Very Grateful Mark Howard

The care and cooperation of boarders Kevin and Margaret Leppla left Mark Howards very grateful. He wanted to recognize and thank them publicly. The Leppla family recently cared for both of Mark’s dogs, one being a Labrador Retriever and the other, a Jack Russell Terrier.

 

DoD volunteer boarder, Kevin Leppla relaxes with Capone, a 2 ½-year-old, male Jack Russell Terrier, and Nip, a 2 ½-year-old, female Labrador Retriever.

Mark Howard, of the U.S. Army, told Dogs on Deployment, “initially, I had loads of inquiries for my Lab, but only three for my Jack Russell because of the patience and care it can sometimes take to look after this high-energy breed. This was my first time using the organization and I was a little hesitant, especially since I was unable to properly meet with the boarders.” Potential Dogs on Deployment boarders and their pets usually meet face-to-face with military members and their pets before the deal is sealed. Sometimes, like in Mark’s case, time constraints or other deployment factors get in the way of “proper” introductions.

Since Mark was unable to go through the typical interviews before boarding his dogs, he said, “I was a little nervous and worried about how both dogs would be, but agreed to it. “As it turns out, Kevin and Margaret Leppla, from Yelm, Washington stepped up, and were both extremely amazing taking care of both of dogs while I was deployed! They even included them in family reunions and activities. I believe the Leppla family went above and beyond, treating my dogs as if they were their own, and feel they deserve to be recognized.”

 

Capone and Nip explore, lakeside with Kevin.

“It was a perfect match from the beginning,” said Mark. While boarding with the Leppla family on a small farm, Mark’s dogs Capone and Nip got to enjoy the beautiful property, with lots of room and space to run and play. “Kevin and Margaret were wonderful. They treated my dogs like family and it shows. The dogs have gone along on family BBQ outings in the wood lines, lakes…, just about anywhere you could think of. And they always kept me informed on everything going on, sending pictures and videos all the time!”

 

Pet Chit Financial Assistance Program – Less Stress for PCS

Dogs on Deployment understands that pets do a great deal to enhance and complete our lives in numerous ways. DoD aims to promote responsible, lifelong pet ownership within the military-pet community. Dogs on Deployment’s military-pet foster network reunites as many military families with their pets as possible, and the Pet Chit Financial Assistance Program helps with the financial costs.

“Thank you so much,” said Jonathan Kamer, U.S.M.C., E-5, and wife Mae, after they were reunited with their dogs. Jonathan recently received a 3-year PCS to Okinawa, Japan.

The Kamer family reunites.

“Our two dogs are not just pets, they are our family. We have always committed to staying together, no matter what difficult circumstances we were going through.” That’s why the Kamers were so disappointed when financial constraints initially kept them separated from their dogs. Dogs Chevy and Saver were only temporarily able to stay with family in the U.S., and that’s when Jonathan reached out to the Dogs on Deployment Pet Chit Financial Assistance Program. He and his wife patiently waited for a Pet Chit to be granted, but every day it became a little more heartbreaking while they watched other families enjoying their own dogs. “It was unimaginable to think we could be apart from our dogs for three years,” said Jonathan. “You never know what could happen within that period.”

The adorable Chevy and Saver Kamer.

The Kamers’ prayers were answered when they were granted a Pet Chit for $2200. It helped cover transportation expenses for dogs Saver, a male tan boxer, and Chevy, a female boxer-mix to be flown to Okinawa. The dogs arrived safely and the entire Kamer family was reunited.

Jonathan Kamer relaxes with the help of dogs, Saver and Chevy.

 

 

“We feel so blessed by Dogs on Deployment. It is a wonderful and helpful organization that has enabled us all to be together as a family once again,” added Jonathan. “Thank you so much!”

 

 

 

 

 

Recent Reunions

While voluntarily serving a one-year tour in South Korea without his family, Steve Zavala, U.S. Army, E-6 of Alaska, adopted a cat from the on-base pet shelter. He eventually learned he and his family would have to PCS to England, and wanted to keep his family and his newest companion Jack the cat all together. The Zavala family received a Pet Chit to help transport Jack, and are extremely grateful.

Jack cuddles with his big brother and sister from the Zavala family.

 

 

Richard Hager III, U.S.M.C., E-5 of North Carolina, received PCS to Japan. He and his wife and children consider their pets a part of the family. “Our dogs, Maggie and Marley are very good with our children and have helped them grow into the pet lovers that they are today,” said Richard. “The dogs have been in our family for the past 9 and 7 years respectively.”

The family received a Pet Chit to help transport the dogs.

The Hager family baby shown sharing a special moment with Maggie the dog.

 

 

Joshua Broadie, U.S.A.F., E-4 of Oklahoma, received PCS to Germany. He and his wife previously got an emotional support dog for their 7-year-old daughter to help with her panic attacks. Space limitations originally prohibited the dog from traveling overseas to be with his family. Said Joshua, “Our dog is important to my daughter and to us. I could not and would not leave her behind.”

The family was grateful to Dogs on Deployment when they received a Pet Chit to help transport the dog for a family reunion.

Shown here is the Broadie’s daughter, together again with her therapy dog, Ruder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grayson Bright, U.S.C.G, E-5 of Kentucky, previously received PCS to Japan and at first, left his cat, Marshmallow in the loving care of temporary DoD boarder, Mary Mortenson. After patiently waiting, Grayson will soon be happily reunited with his cat, since he received a Pet Chit to help transport her overseas.

This stunning cat, Marshmallow will soon be reunited with owner, Grayson Bright.

 

Pet Chits Can Help with Emergency Veterinary Treatment & Care

Dogs on Deployment understands the financial burden of pet care can take a large financial toll on a military family when other unexpected life events arise. Pet Chits are also granted to military members to help offset the costs associated with emergency or routine veterinary pet care, including spay and neuter, which Dogs on Deployment is a strong advocate of.

 

Mark Daniels, U.S.M.C. E-6, of CA and his wife Jessica received financial assistance for the spay of their beautiful kitty Phasma, who was helped through the Pet Chit program. They were very thankful to Dogs on Deployment!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Hattan, U.S. Army E-6, of LA told us that his dog, sweet Hazel “has become family to me!” He adopted her after she was abandoned by her owners, and only wants to do the right thing by her. Robert received financial assistance to help with costs of Hazel’s vaccinations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Craddock, U.S.M.C. E-5, of CA and his family recognize the importance of spaying and neutering pets. “We want to be responsible pet owners and take care of Jaxson’s neutering so he isn’t able to procreate with any of the nearby dogs.”

 

Dogs on Deployment lent a hand/paw with the costs of the dog’s procedure. Adorable Jaxson smiled for the camera after finding out he would benefit from the Pet Chit program.

 

 

 

 

Life-Saving Spay/Neuter Programs & Pet Chit Updates

 

Military Members Receive DoD Pet Chits & Support when Seeking Veterinary Care

 

Dogs on Deployment understands that pets do a great deal to enhance and complete our lives in numerous ways. DoD aims to promote responsible, lifelong pet ownership within the military-pet community. Dogs on Deployment’s military-pet foster network reunites as many military families with their pets as possible, and the Pet Chit Financial Assistance Program helps with the financial costs.

Dogs on Deployment Pet Chits have helped military members with veterinary expenses, including the costs of spaying and neutering. It’s part of our responsibility to emphasize the importance of these procedures, particularly now as the Humane Society of the United States prepares to celebrate World Spay Day on February 28, 2017. (See http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/spay_day/?referrer=https://www.google.com/ for details).

Veterinarians have determined:

  • Spaying our female pets and neutering our male pets helps us to prevent further pet overpopulation. Overpopulation in shelters leads to senseless euthanasia every single day.
  • Spaying females helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors – which are malignant or cancerous in roughly 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying female pets before their first heat (when they become reproductive) will offer them the best protection from these diseases.
  • Neutering our male pets prevents diseases like testicular cancer and some prostrate problems. It can also help eliminate behavioral issues like urinating to “mark,” or designate a spot.

 

SNAP to It

To help educate and assist military pet owners in spaying and neutering their companion animals, Dogs on Deployment has partnered in San Diego, CA with the Spay Neuter Action Project (SNAP). The efforts of Rich Setzer, DoD Coordinator in San Diego, made this possible. He takes every opportunity to publicize the program and to educate active duty personnel.

 

 

Rich Setzer had specific goals in mind when he initiated the DoD partnership with San Diego SNAP. He sought to:

  • Inform the local military community about Dogs on Deployment;
  • Publicize our financial assistance Pet Chit assistance program;
  • Provide a way for junior enlisted service members (E-6 and below) to get their pets spayed or neutered at no cost to them; and,
  • Spend the DoD Pet Chit funds in the most effective way possible.

After laying the groundwork, and having multiple discussions to work out the details, the Mil-SNAP program was rolled out in October 2016.

Rich says, “now whenever someone calls SNAP to schedule surgery, among the first questions their Intake Coordinators ask is whether the pet owner is military — and what their pay grade is. If that pet owner qualifies, SNAP staff informs them about the Mil-SNAP program, and provides them with access to a Dogs on Deployment Pet Chit application.”

Many military families who have benefited from Pet Chit assistance expressed their gratitude to SNAP, to DoD, and Rich in particular — see some of their happy Pet Chit updates in the stories that follow!

 

Successful Pet Chit Stories & Spay/Neuter Updates

 

Hatchie the Husky – Torres Family

“Hatchie came to us after he was abandoned. Siberian Huskies, as we found out, are known to be great escape artists,” said Lucy Torres, E-6, of the US Coast Guard. “Since he was already a three year old dog, Hatchie needed to be neutered right away. Through the SNAP program we found Dogs on Deployment. The procedure was easy, and the people involved at SNAP took care of Hatchie as if he was part of their own family.”

“The dog was groggy for a while post-surgery, and for the following week had to wear his ‘cone of shame.’ After that though, Hatchie was able to return to his favorite activities and he continues to get to know and enjoy us, his new family. Thanks Dogs on Deployment!”

 

Jager the Dog – Atnip Family

“Jager is honored to be part of your blog,” says Chelsea Atnip, wife of Daniel Atnip, E-5, of the US Coast Guard. Dogs on Deployment makes it so much easier for military families to take care of their fur babies – thank you so much for considering us!”

 

 

Jager is an awesome, seven-month-old mixed breed dog, who loves playing with his older buddy Spaz, as well as sometimes harassing the kitty. He has tons of energy and loves going for hikes. Post his neuter procedure, Jager had to wear the protective cone, but healed very well and is doing great. He can again enjoy trips to the beach, which is a favorite spot. Chelsea added, “we are so grateful to DoD and to the wonderful people at SNAP for offering such a great program for our family! Thanks again!”

 

Winter the Cat – Barber Family

Winter is a beautiful, female Norwegian Forest Mainecoon mix cat, who belongs to Margaret and Michael Barber, E-3, US Coast Guard. She was recently spayed through the SNAP program. “Thank you,” says Margaret Barber.

“The SNAP group was professional, extremely organized and efficient. Winter received a blue soft cone collar after surgery, and her recovery was wonderful. Watching her shaved belly fill back in only took about a week. I’ve already recommended SNAP to a few other military families in need of spay and neuter services for their pets.”

 

More Gratitude for Spay & Neuter Successes

Gonzalez Family: Juan Colon Gonzales, US Coast Guard, indicated that his family had two male dogs, neither of which was previously neutered. They used SNAP to neuter both their Husky, and their Pomerian, Jack, pictured here.

 

Tandoc Family: Jusper Tandoc, E-4, US Coast Guard and family had their dog Cujo (pictured below) neutered with SNAP.

 

Melendez Family: Jonathan Melendez, E-4, US Marine Corps and his family had their dog Milo (pictured below) neutered with SNAP.

 

Snyder Family: Lukas Snyder, E-5, US Coast Guard and wife, Haley had their dog Max (pictured below) neutered with SNAP.

 

 

REMIND YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS TO SPAY AND NEUTER! 

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Military Family Appreciation Month! Help Make a Happy Thanksgiving for the Military

Everyone Can Benefit from Pet Chits

 

United States military service members here at home and around the world confront a multitude of problems during their careers. Our military enriches people’s lives and works every day to keep us safe, and yet there are times when service commitments can leave them to worry about their pet’s care. The Dogs on Deployment Pet Chit Financial Assistance Program addresses this problem.

Dogs on Deployment promotes responsible, life-long pet ownership by military pet owners by advocating for military pet owner rights, providing educational resources, and whenever possible, granting financial assistance to military pet owners through its Pet Chit Financial Assistance Program.

One way pet chits can help military members and their pets is by allowing them to reunite when PCS costs would have prohibited them from staying together. To date, program donations to Dogs on Deployment have enabled us to grant over $273,993 to military pet owners.

Help us help them! Show your gratitude to United States military service members especially throughout Thanksgiving and the holiday season by donating and/or pitching in to help.

Meantime, enjoy these recent successful pet chit stories!

 

The Posey Family

Ben, who serves in the United States Army, and Amber are truly giving thanks these days. Their baby, Brayden was born premature while the couple was stationed in Japan. The family had to travel to Hawaii for Brayden’s heart surgery, before being transported to Portsmouth Naval hospital in Virginia where more surgery followed.

Through it all, the Posey family did everything possible to ensure their beloved dogs would remain with them. They were granted $3,000 in pet chit assistance to help with travel expenses for their dogs, Saban and Kuma, who had to travel back from Japan. “Thank you for your generous donation,” said the Posey family. “It has helped us, and we are hopeful with the medical issues behind us we can begin our journey home.”

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Kuma the German Shepard is over two years old.
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Kuma, in the front, and brother Saban in the back, are both males. Saban is a mixed breed and is 4 years old.
The couple keeps watch over their newborn son, Brayden.
The couple keeps watch over their newborn son, Brayden.

 

 

 

November is Military Family Appreciation Month – find a way to show you care!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tavizon Family

Corey Tavizon, of the United States Marine Corps, and wife Christel are currently stationed in Okinawa, Japan with their two large dogs. Although they’re not scheduled to PCS until next July, they want to do the right thing for their dog Bear, whose health gets compromised by the heat. Bear would be better off flying back home with the Tavizons when they come to visit family in the US in December. The pet chit granted for $600 will enable them to make his travel plans.

Christel Tavison said “my husband and I are so grateful for the pet chit program. It will make it possible for us to get our dog back home safely. We feel extremely grateful!”

 

Bear is a 2 year old Male Bernese Mountain dog.
Bear is a 2 year old Male Bernese Mountain dog.
Bear will be an even happier boy very soon.
Bear will be an even happier boy very soon.

 

The Miller Family

Corporal Hudson Miller serves in the United States Marine Corps. After being at MCRD San Diego for only 18 months, he and his wife Hannah received PCS orders to Japan. Without question, they planned to find a way to bring their dog, Bella with them.

Bella is more than just a faithful and loving companion whom the Millers rescued. She was registered as an emotional support animal to assist Hannah in dealing with some health issues. The dog has helped, for example, with panic attacks. A pet chit for $1600 was granted to the Miller family.

Said Corporal Miller, “we are so glad that Bella made it to Okinawa to be with us now, thanks to you guys. Without your support, we would not have been able to afford to get her here!”

Bella is a German Shepard/Rough Collie mix, who is approximately 1 and 1/2 years old.
Bella is a German Shepard/Rough Collie mix, who is approximately 1 and 1/2 years old.

 

The Zeigler Family

Samantha Ziegler of the United States Army and her husband are both active duty. They bought a house in Nebraska where they thought they would live forever with their two dogs. Instead, they received a surprise assignment overseas to the U.K.

The Zieglers planned to somehow transport their dogs, and were opposed to splitting them up since the dogs are completely bonded to one another! Their desire was to just be one happy family, hiking with both dogs in Wales, England and Scotland. They received $1800 in pet chit assistance.

“Thanks so much for considering us! We are now excited to all travel soon, and are very grateful for the assistance with PCS costs,” said Samantha.

Moxy, on the left is a female hound mix, and her brother Courage, on the right is a flat-coated retriever mix.
Moxy, on the left is a female hound mix, and her brother Courage, on the right is a flat-coated retriever mix.
Courage and Moxy, both rescue dogs, celebrate Halloween recently, dressed as "Lion Kings!"
Courage and Moxy, both rescue dogs, celebrate Halloween recently, dressed as “Lion Kings!”

 

The Wilson Family

Randy Wilson serves in the United States Coast Guard, Virginia. He was ready to PCS to Japan with his wife, Katya, and their toddler, when a last minute and unexpected change meant space was no longer available for their dog.

After reaching out to Dogs on Deployment, a pet chit for $260 was granted to the Wilson family to help with travel arrangements for Athena.

Said Katya, “I wanted to say thank you for giving us the chance to use your service! Every little bit does help to pay the bill. Also, could you please tell us when Athena will be featured? We would love to have a copy of the edition.”

Athena is a 4 year old, pure breed female Doberman.
Athena is a 4 year old, pure breed female Doberman.
Athena chills, and gets ready for her close-up.
Athena chills, and gets ready for her close-up.

 

The Westling Family

David Westling serves in the United States Army, Ohio. The family was prepared to PCS to Okinawa, Japan, with their Dog Lizzie traveling to meet them there. But they found out upon departure that the tarmac was being repaired and the government rotators were down, forcing them to fly commercially. This left Lizzie out of the picture.

The family temporarily was forced to temporarily board the dog in Ohio while they sought other travel options for her. They were granted a pet chit for $1,000 to help with the costs of the dog’s overseas flight.

Said David, “Thank you, Dogs on Deployment. We were running out of options and didn’t know who else to turn to!”

Sweet, loving Lizzie is a young, female Bull Mastiff.
Sweet, loving Lizzie is a young, female Bull Mastiff.

 

Hey – every dog has his day – but cats do, too at Dogs on Deployment!

We also recently helped some feline furry friends!

The Oxford Family

Andrew Oxford serves in the United States Coast Guard. He, his wife Ashley, and their two small children received a PCS to Japan in 2015. Soon they adopted two kittens from a kill shelter, and the family was complete.

Unfortunately, shortly after adoption, the entire family developed a severe case of ringworm. Numerous veterinary test eventually determined that the kittens, Nora and Ziggy, must have contracted the disease at the shelter, became asymptomatic carriers, then spread the virus to the people in their household.

The Oxford family had to endure months of having the kittens in quarantine until they were healthy. They then found out that they’d have to relocate again, this time to the United Kingdom. Dogs on Deployment granted them a pet chit in the amount of $1250.

Andrew said, “thank you, Dogs on Deployment. These combined expenses have severely stressed my family’s finances. We appreciate the help to ease the cost of keeping my family whole!”

The beautiful and brave Ziggy, one of the happy cats in the Oxford family.
The beautiful and brave Ziggy, one of the happy cats in the Oxford family.

 

The Valdelamar Family

Jennifer Valdelamar serves in the United States Marine Corps. She, her husband and their two cats were living in Japan until it was determined that Jennifer would have to complete school in Jacksonville, FL. This meant her husband would be fulfilling his military duties in Japan on his own, and be forced to live in the barracks, where no animals are allowed.

She was concerned about having both of their cats fly for the first time, and then realized she’d only be able to afford travel arrangements for herself and one of the cats, Loki.

Dogs on Deployment granted a pet chit for $700, which eventually helped Jennifer be reunited with the family’s other cat, Zelda, back in the United States.

Jennifer says, “we are extremely grateful for this service! The help from Dogs on Deployment is truly appreciated. Thank you – it means everything to my little family and me!”

The gorgeous cat, Zelda looks forward to a sweet family reunion!
The gorgeous cat, Zelda looks forward to a sweet family reunion!

 

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Dogs on Deployment can assist military members thanks to its network of volunteers. Through our network of people helping people and their pets, 1015 pets in need have so far found temporary care in the homes of DoD Boarders during their owner’s military commitments.

Pet Chit Success Means Bailey Can Bounce Back

Dogs Like Bailey Help with PTSD

After completely tearing her ACL, Bailey, a Siberian Husky and beloved pet of Erik and Jennifer Comstock, required veterinary surgery to repair it. With the help of the Dogs on Deployment Pet Chit Financial Assistance Program, Bailey’s family was able to schedule the operation and it was a success.

 

Beautiful Bailey, a Siberian Husky and member of the Comstock Family
Beautiful Bailey, a Siberian Husky and member of the Comstock Family

 

The Dogs on Deployment Pet Chit Financial Assistance Program (https://www.dogsondeployment.org/index.php?/financial_assistance/guest_petchit_register#register_tabs1) has helped hundreds of military service members meet the costs of unexpected veterinary care and emergencies since the organization was first started, granting a grand total of over $250,000 and counting! DoD has also proudly helped deploy over 1012 – so far! – dogs and pets of all kinds, reuniting them with U.S. military families stationed around the world.

Bailey’s story is significant since this beautiful dog has helped co-owner/co-parent Erik Comstock, E-4 veteran of the United States Army, cope with some of the anxiety and depression brought on by PTSD, and the frustrations of back and hip pain which have so far required him to undergo surgery twice. Eric is now a disabled veteran who served two tours in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. We are grateful to Eric for his service, and thank him and his wife, Jennifer for sharing their story.

 

A Powerful Bond with Man’s Best Friend

Bailey was rescued along with the other lucky dogs who are part of the Comstock family. One other Husky and two Pomeranians round out the pack. Bailey is roughly two years old, adores her playmate “Dory,” (also a Husky) and loves running around as much as a typical Husky does – which is a lot! Jennifer refers to the running laps Bailey does around the yard as “zoomies!” Beyond that, it seems Bailey knows that she has an important mission to fulfill.  Says Jennifer, “Bailey has truly become Erik’s best friend. Whenever Bailey thinks Erik is upset and struggling with the many effects of his PTSD, she forces him to pet her and then gives him non-stop kisses to try to relax him.”

 

Bailey, shown here with playmate/sister Dory to her right, and other siblings Jazmine and McKenzie, to Bailey's left side.
Bailey, shown here with playmate/sister Dory to her right, and other siblings Jazmine and McKenzie, to Bailey’s left side.

 

Initially, Eric couldn’t figure out why Bailey paid him this level of attention. The dog literally would demand that Eric pet her by getting in his space, sitting right in front of him, staring and pawing at him. Eventually, he and his wife realized that Bailey behaved this way every single time she sensed that Eric was getting upset over something. Bailey’s way of calming him down and deescalating the situation was to make Eric stop doing anything and have him only pay attention to her. And while Eric questioned it at first, he and Jennifer eventually made the connection and realized that Bailey’s presence did in fact make a difference in their lives.

Jennifer continues, “since coming into our home, this incredible dog has done everything in her power to help Eric. In return, we want to do everything in our power to help her!”

 

Injury, Surgery, Recovery

Bailey the escape artist got out from under the 6-foot fence in the Comstock’s yard one night and temporarily went missing. About seven hours later, neighbors alerted the family that Bailey had been found and they were all united. It soon became apparent to Eric and Jennifer, however, that Bailey was hurt. They gave her a couple of weeks’ time to heal, but seeing Bailey limp after her “zoomies” made it clear that the dog required veterinary care. X-rays revealed the torn ACL, and the determination was made that she would require extensive surgery.

After Bailey was injured, the Comstock family reached out to Dogs on Deployment for help covering their hefty vet bill. They applied in late August, 2016. Within two days of receiving their application, Dogs on Deployment was able to approve and apply a grant of $980.00 to help cover the surgery! We give thanks to our donors and sponsors who make this possible, and remind you that anyone can donate at www.bit.ly/dod-donate.

 

POST-OP: Bailey rests with her leg bandaged and cone to keep her safe.
POST-OP: Bailey rests with her leg bandaged and cone to keep her safe.

 

On October 3, 2016, Bailey underwent surgery for her torn ACL, which according to the attending veterinarian, was really, really bad.” With Bailey’s successful surgery behind them, the Comstock family has to give her time to heal, in this case about three-four weeks’ time. You can be sure though that going forward Bailey will resume active duty — attending to and loving Eric as best she can.

 “All she wants to do is make sure Erik is feeling better and she will do anything she can to make sure it happens,” said Jennifer.  Go Bailey, go!

The Pet Chit Program & How to Get Help

A Pet Chit Award may be given pre-deployment, in a time of emergency such as an unexpected illness or injury, to help with emergency boarding, homelessness or other extreme financial circumstance, as well as for transportation costs associated with an emergency or general PCS move.

Without the generous donations of our supporters, the Dogs on Deployment Pet Chit Financial Assistance program would not be possible. You may make a donation directly our Pet Chit program by donating at www.bit.ly/dod-donate and selecting Donate to the Pet Chit Fund from the drop down menu. To learn more about Dogs on Deployment’s Pet Chit Financial Assistance Program or to apply for a grant, visit www.bit.ly/dod-petchit or contact us at petchit@dogsondeployment.org.

 

Dogs on Deployment Proudly Celebrates Its 5-Year Anniversary!

Dog – gone!  Can it be?  The Dogs on Deployment organization           celebrated its 5-year anniversary June, 2016

The initial idea to help military service members by offering to board their pets for them started out as a tiny seed and has grown into a mighty tree, with branches all across the United States.

For anyone who may not already know, the two people behind that idea are Dogs on Deployment co-founders Alisa Johnson and Shawn Johnson. Alisa serves as President, Dogs on Deployment and active duty Captain in the United States Marine Corps, while her husband Shawn serves as Vice President, Dogs on Deployment and active duty Lieutenant in the United States Navy.

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The Johnsons at work, along with their faithful companions.

 

We chatted recently with Alisa Johnson about the growth and success of Dogs on Deployment these last five years, and where Team DoD plans to go from here.

Editor:

Tell us how it feels to see how DoD has grown five years later. Did you realize in its humble beginning how the organization would flourish and eventually help thousands of military members and their beloved pets?

Alisa:

DoD has grown from a team of two – Shawn and I – to a fantastic Board of Trustees of 10 members, including Mrs. D’Arcy Neller, wife to the US Marine Commandant, and many other fantastic military, veteran and military spouses that have been with our organization now for several years. The fact that these individuals, along with nearly 50 Local Coordinators running Chapters across the nation and over 30,000 registered DoD Boarders, have opened up their hearts to the mission of Dogs on Deployment leaves me absolutely honored, and humbled.

I never thought that my idea to try to make a difference would result in such an impact, not only on those we help (the military pet owners) but on those that sacrifice their time and service to help us. We are told repeatedly that volunteering for DoD in any capacity is its own reward!

JD is part of the Johnson Family. He also serves as Chief Canine Officer, (CCO) Dogs on Deployment.

Editor:

How do things look now for Dogs on Deployment? What’s the growth strategy for DoD over the next five or so years? What do you envision for DoD down the road?

Alisa:

Dogs on Deployment is an online-based platform. Our most important function is our boarding network, which uses a custom web application that connects service members to the volunteers willing to foster their pets.

Like many not-for-profit organizations, our biggest challenge is keeping up with technology. We are currently working to make our website better, easy to use, more mobile friendly and even develop a mobile application for iOS.

Team DoD continues to build on the foundation we’ve created over the last five years. We also continue to work to foster beneficial relationships with communities and businesses in order to create and enable resource sharing to benefit military pet owners.

In the long term, I’d like to see us go international. We have thousands of service members and their families stationed overseas all over the world. Someday in the next 10 years, I envision DoD being the only international foster network benefiting US military members!

Neller Family dogs Bailey and Maddy. They serve as honorary Board Members along with their Mom, Mrs. D’Arcy Neller. We are proud to have them all involved!

Editor:

You and the Board of Trustees have succeeded in developing an organization that is well structured and going strong, despite any obstacles you have encountered along the way. To what do you attribute DoD’s success?

Alisa:

I attribute DoD’s success to our mission: give military members peace of mind concerning their pets during their service commitments by providing them with the ability to find people and resources able to help them.

The fact is, in creating a 100% all-volunteer organization you recognize that every person’s time is limited. At the end, that limitation can affect those we aim to help – the military member. However, given the fact that so many of our volunteers are active duty, veterans or military spouses themselves, we understand the importance of our volunteer jobs and keeping the organization running smoothly.

Everything from our marketing plan, to our fundraising efforts, to our local events, to our customer service affects the military member we’re trying to help.  Every aspect and function is backed by someone who truly believes at their core in our mission.

PrintEditor:
How can everyone already involved in Dogs on Deployment improve upon our success and make it even better?

Alisa:

Understanding and respect for one another’s time is key. In this business model, it’s too often that volunteers can fill burnt out and under-appreciated. My personal goal is to not allow this to happen in Dogs on Deployment.

Being able to work together as a team, appreciate each others efforts and truly believe and support one another makes our volunteer network a FAMILY. I can say beyond a doubt that my heart is full of love for every person in the organization that I have worked with, some for up to five years now.

The generosity and support our family gives to one another, despite many of us never having met in person, is overwhelming. We all have one thing in common, and that’s the common love for dog and country. It’s that love that brings us together in a strong, familial network which aims to promote and supporting Dogs on Deployment.

Want to know more? Captain Alisa Johnson, President, CEO and Co-Founder of Dogs on Deployment spoke about her efforts and dedication to Dogs on Deployment earlier this year at “Clever Talks.”  The video is available through YouTube — just clink on the link here to see it:

https://youtu.be/a9cU-oK601s

Keep track of the Dogs on Deployment blog, Facebook Page and Twitter feed! Want to volunteer? Just sign in at our website www.dogsondeployment.org – have your dog fetch the ball  —  and get the ball rolling!

Dog Days of August: A Dogs on Deployment Milestone / Pet Chit Updates / ResQWalk Reminder

Summer 2016: DoD Marks Milestone

Dogs on Deployment has been through its growing pains since its very modest and humble beginnings.

We are proud to say that we have just helped deploy our 1,000th pet! This significant milestone has been many years in the making – five long years, to be exact. And during this, our fifth year “in business,” we are still working like dogs (no pun intended) to serve as a valuable resource for military members and their families who need help being reunited with their beloved pets.

Deploying 1,000 pets of all kinds is no easy task! Dogs on Deployment is aware that we owe thanks to the many sponsors, supporters, DoD boarders and volunteers across the United States who have helped every day to successfully reunite 1,000 loving military families with their fur babies. Never doubt it — our mission and important work will continue.

Along with extending our deep gratitude to everyone who pitches in to get the job done, it sounds like Team DoD collectively deserves a pat on the back as well as “two-paws up!”

Pet Chit Updates

Although Dogs on Deployment deploys great numbers of dogs and cats (probably since dogs and cats make up the majority of domestic pets), remember that all military pets are eligible for boarding. We work tirelessly to reunite as many military families with their pets as possible, and are keenly aware that pets do a great deal to enhance and complete our lives in numerous ways.

Here are brief profiles of a few recently deployed pets, including a ferret and a rabbit for you to enjoy.

  • Ripley – a one-year old female ferret, and member of the family for Jessica Ogline. Jessica serves our country in the United States Air Force, as an A1C, and soon to be SrA (Senior airman). By the way, since deploying, Ripley got herself a little brother to love — meet four-month old Dexter, also pictured here.
Ripley makes her debut!
Ripley makes her debut!
Lil brother, Dexter, above and right; below, bath-time means cuteness overload!

 

  • Bugs – you guessed it, the bunny – adorable and beloved pet of Joshua and his wife, Cheyenne. Joshua Smith serves our country in the United States Air Force, E-4, a SrA (Senior airman). We’re happy to report that Bugs bunny is doing great! This rabbit just made the intelligent choice to get neutered, which the Smiths were told would extend his life by about 6 years. Bugs is enjoying his swanky new cage since deploying (it is meant for two bunnies).
Bugs Bunny here, at your service.
What's up (DOC)?
Who could say ‘no’ to a face like this?

 

  • Lia Gustin, happy member of the family for Alex Gustin, E-5 of the United States Army. His family was granted a pet chit to help move everyone from deployment in Okinawa, Japan to London, England. The Gustin family said, “Thanks again to the team at Dogs on Deployment. We are all so grateful for the help!”

 

Lia - reporting for duty.
Lia – reporting for duty.

 

Lia thinks about enjoying the sand and surf!

 

Dogs on Deployment also helped recently to deploy two birds as well as a snake, who so far have remained camera-shy, but who we’ll gladly feature once we have their pictures. Stay tuned!

ResQWalk Reminder

Exciting news! For the month of August DoD has been participating of an online promotion with ResQwalk and Pet’s Best Health Insurance! Details are below!

We teamed up with the ResQwalk app for a special month long digital walkathon campaign to raise awareness for DoD and our mission. For every person who downloads the app and participates in “The ResQwalk for Military Pets”, Pets Best will donate $1 to us (up to $1,000)! If you don’t have the app already, there are links at the bottom of this note. When you create your account, select Dogs on Deployment as your charity and you are set!

The total goal is to have 350k miles walked! In addition to the Pets Best total donation, we want to hit the goals below:

100k – ResQwalk will make a donation to our Pet Chit program.
200k – ResQwalk will make a donation to us of $1,000 worth of ResQwalk for Military Pets gear.
250k – ResQwalk will make a donation to our Pet Chit program.
300k – We will receive $3,000 worth of ResQwalk swag (They will be selling the attached Dog Tags and T-shirts during the month and we will receive a percent of the profits on their website: http://resqthreads.com/)

Throughout the month, there will be posts on the main page that can go out about the walkathon. We will try and let you know in here when something posts, but keep an eye out!

Download ResQwalk for Android: https://goo.gl/mhQzHd
Download ResQwalk for iPhone: https://goo.gl/oYQsae

Happy walking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Returning to Gunner: A Homecoming Tale

 

Emotions run high when a military service member returns from his or her assignment to pick up their beloved pet from a Dogs on Deployment boarder. This was true for Sara Liming, United States Navy, when she recently reunited with her dog, Gunner, a beautiful brindle colored Boxer mix who turns four years old this June. She can remember getting Gunner when he was no bigger than her boots.

Sara visited a San Antonio, Texas animal shelter, where she officially adopted Gunner ‘Bubs’ Liming. Gunner told us that he had her at “hello,” after which he climbed on Sara’ lap and immediately fell asleep.
Sara visited a San Antonio, Texas animal shelter, where she officially adopted Gunner ‘Bubs’ Liming. Gunner told us that he had her at “hello,” after which he climbed on Sara’s lap and immediately fell asleep.

 

The Bond Between a Dog Like Gunner and Sara

As a member of the United States Navy, Sara Liming, like any member of the armed services repeatedly encounters situations which can induce stress easily and quickly. The reality is that sometimes friends, and fellow brothers and sisters in arms often find themselves in danger, and everyone faces the real possibility of death. But Sara says, “no matter how dark my days might get with work or life in general, when I come home and see my dog Gunner wagging his tail and happily jumping all over me, any issue seems to melt away as I stare at that little furry face of my pound puppy.”

Sara had never been away from Gunner longer than a day or two when she found out that she would be deploying in 2015. She’d deployed with the Navy before, but this was the first time that Sara had anything back home that she “was worried about – worried about losing, or hurting. Gunner had been everywhere with me up to that point,” added Sara. “He used to go to duty with me and play with students and walk around base with me at work. I had mixed emotions about going because I didn’t want to leave something behind that had become such an integral part of my life.”

In an effort to solve the gut-wrenching dilemma someone recommended Dogs on Deployment to Sara, but initially she had reservations about the idea, wondering how random people would just volunteer to take your pet into their homes and love them as one of their own.

Since the day I rescued Gunner he rescues me every day with those adorable brown eyes and his unconditional love, says Sara Liming, Gunner’s owner.
“Since the day I rescued Gunner he rescues me every day with those adorable brown eyes and his unconditional love,” says Sara Liming, Gunner’s owner.

 

 

 

Sara was terrified that if she left Gunner with someone long term then they either wouldn’t give him back upon request, (“because he’s amazing!”) or Gunner wouldn’t remember her. She decided to check out DoD anyway.

DoD Boarders Give New Meaning to “Peace of Mind”

Sara first met Carla Schultes, Gunner’s potential DoD boarder online, where the two exchanged emails. Carla is actually a well experienced and wonderful representative for Dogs on Deployment’s boarding program, who has a dog of her own and has previously fostered other dogs. Carla told us “Dogs on Deployment combines two of my greatest passions, i.e., supporting those who serve in the military and helping animals.” (Before any boarding agreement is reached, Dogs on Deployment takes measures to ensure a successful boarding experience and smooth transition for all involved; see DoD Policy Guidelines on this website).

Though an old pro at this, Carla did tell us that first meetings among everyone involved are “a little strange – like a blind date!”  But Sara’s fears were put to rest because, as she says, “Gunner loved Carla the minute we pulled up. He was so excited when he met her, all smiles and loving on him. Then he met Carla’s dog and the two were instant friends. The more Gunner interacted with her, her husband and her dog the more at ease I felt. I didn’t think it would click right away, but before I left they offered to foster Gunner.” Carla remembers that “Luckily for us, it was a match! Gunner and our dog, Donovan, got along well and once Jon and I spent some time with Gunner, we knew he was a happy-go-lucky guy who would be just fine with our family.”

Adds Sara, “Finding someone who loved their dog as much as I love Gunner made it easier for me to leave him. The passion and love Carla has for what she does, and for her family and dog, Donovan, made me feel that Gunner would be loved and cared for the same amount as though it were coming from me.”

Pals Gunner, and Donovan.
Pals Gunner, and Donovan.

Sara’s ship deployed Sept 10, 2015, for what turned out to be her third and longest deployment. Having photos and videos emailed to her from Carla “helped me get through the rough patches of deployment where there seemed to be endless work and not enough sleep. The day I returned to San Diego the only thought on my mind was getting home and then to Los Angeles to get my baby, Gunner,” continued Sara. “The entire deployment I had kept his pictures in my rack, on my phone, on my computer, traveling with them, and now I was a two-hour drive from seeing Gunner. I remember worrying that he wouldn’t remember me, and that maybe he was happier with his foster family. It was all I could think about the entire drive — after seven long months, will my dog remember me?”

How Sweet It Is

Sara finally arrived at Carla’s house for her reunion with Gunner. She remembers her dog’s boarder greeting her and welcoming Sara home with a “giant, warm smile. Carla turned to go into her house first and I followed. I barely made it into the front door before Gunner pounced. He immediately began whining and jumping at my legs, nearly knocking me down. He was trying to lick my face, smell me and climb up into my arms all at the same time. All I wanted to do was hug him and smell his puppy smell to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. This once little dog who I saved still saves me, remembers and loves me like no time at all had passed — as if I’d just left to go to the store. “

Their Reunion – “Gunner just kept jumping up and licking me for a long time, “ Sara told us.
Their Reunion – “Gunner just kept jumping up and licking me for a long time, “ Sara told us.

 

“When he finally settled he stayed close to me and every time I walked away towards another room in Carla’s house Gunner made sure I was within sight, welcoming me back each time with a throng of kisses. People always say a dog is not a child, he or she is a pet. My dog is my life, and I can’t remember being so happy and so elated over a ‘pet’ in my life!” Sara added, “I love Carla and Jon for their amazing care of my boy while I was gone. They are the most fantastic couple to do what they do and ask nothing in return. They loved and cared for Gunner like he was their own precious Donovan and I am eternally grateful.”

Modest as always, Carla says, “as boarders, we know what we are doing is a genuine service, but we feel that the greater service is being done by the owner as a member of our military. Watching their pet pales in comparison! “

Says Carla, pictured here with Sara, Donavan and Gunner, “for us the reunion is the best gift of all!”
Says Carla, pictured here with Sara, Donovan and Gunner, “for us the reunion is the best gift of all!”

 

Carla adds that when people ask about the Dogs on Deployment program, she always tells them “if you are willing to open your heart and home, this experience will change your life in all the best ways possible. I encourage everyone to look on the DoD website and find a pet that matches their family! Our vets deserve to have their animals taken care of because they are the ones taking care of us!”

Agreed.

Karen White, Dogs on Deployment Rockville, Maryland Coordinator and DoD Fundraising Director, Awarded Volunteer of the Quarter, Q1 2016

Compassion, Motivation and Honor Exemplified

Dogs on Deployment is an organization completely staffed by volunteers – without whom our mission would be impossible. Each person that supports Dogs on Deployments shares a few things in common: compassion; motivation; and honor. Each quarter, the DoD Board of Directors chooses one of its many volunteers to be recognized for their genuine contribution, steadfast volunteerism, and unwavering support of our service members and their pets.

Karen White, Recipient, Dogs on Deployment Volunteer of the Quarter, Q1 2016
Karen White, Recipient, Dogs on Deployment Volunteer of the Quarter, Q1 2016

Alisa Johnson, President and Co-Founder, Dogs on Deployment has proudly announced that Karen White, Rockville Maryland Coordinator and Fundraising Director, is the recipient of the “Volunteer of the Quarter” award for the first quarter of 2016. Since April 2012, Karen has been an integral member of the Dogs on Deployment team. Karen first began volunteering with DoD as a local volunteer around Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia, where she impressed other volunteers with her tireless dedication to the cause and inspiring passion to promote the mission of Dogs on Deployment.

Demonstrating that she was one of the most reliable volunteers in the region, Karen was first brought on as the Rockville Coordinator in September 2014. She enthusiastically accepted the position, proving in the years to come that she was not only up for the challenge, but could greatly exceed expectations of the leaders of the organization. Over the last two years, Dogs on Deployment has relied upon Karen to manage the Rockville Chapter, and to additionally step in for others when unforeseen emergencies arose.

Karen understands the need for a not-for-profit organization’s media exposure and a social media presence, and has been available for public appearances and interviews, like her interview on The Pet Show with Dr. Katy (see the YouTube video link provided here). She has coordinated many events in and around her service area including several successful walks, partnerships with other organizations like the USO, and local fundraisers.

In October 2014, Karen took on additional responsibility within Dogs on Deployment, and was recruited to take over the position as Fundraising Director for Dogs on Deployment, where she would be responsible for the coordination and follow through for successful fundraising and affiliate programs to financially benefit the organization. As Fundraising Director, she has raised over $5,000 for Dogs on Deployment by working with over ten companies and affiliate partners. She continues to be a fountain of ideas, consistently seeking new ways to improve the fundraising opportunities available for Dogs on Deployment.

DoD organization leaders including Alisa Johnson and Rhonda O’Shields, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator, have found Karen White to be a motivated, passionate and trustworthy leader, whose dedication to Dogs on Deployment has been a tremendous asset to those around her and everyone throughout the organization. She is viewed as a respected member of the DoD team by fellow volunteers as well as the Board of Directors. Karen willingly makes herself available, offers her attendance at events whenever needed, and demonstrates a genuine desire for the organization’s mission.

Karen White is handed her recognition plaque by Rhonda O'Shields

“Due to her hard work, contagious positivity, and strong dedication, I am sincerely proud to call Karen White a team member of Dogs on Deployment. “ Alisa Johnson, President & Co-Founder, Dogs on Deployment

Karen White Reflects on Volunteering with Dogs on Deployment

Fortunately for us, Karen says she “stumbled upon Dogs on Deployment after an unsatisfying volunteer experience with another charity.” During a recent chat, she continued sharing her story:

“I saw a Facebook post asking for volunteers for the Army Ten-Miler and signed up. The whole process was so streamlined. The people I met that day were wonderful, and some I’ll consider lifelong friends. My experiences at each event thereafter were always positive. I was positive I’d found my calling. I’ve attended many events, set up fundraisers and have even enjoyed representing DoD in front of live cameras despite my initial fears about that process!

My husband, Rob and I have even signed up to be boarders and had our first “deployed pet” last September. Sam was an exuberant puppy we grew to love as one of our own. His mother, Laura, is even trusting us to watch him again this coming September while she’s attending a training mission.

I am completely humbled and proud to receive this honor. I believe wholeheartedly in DoD. It’s an awesome organization that provides a vital service. My “regular” job is a practice manager at a veterinary clinic. I have been working with animals for over 11 years but have been in love with animals all my life. Growing up as an “Army Brat,” my family moved around a lot but we never had to give away a pet; I can’t imagine the pain and heartbreak one must endure in having to give away their family pet in the name of service to his/her country.

This award caught me completely by surprise and I’m thrilled to be selected.  I hope to continue on with Dogs on Deployment for the rest of my life. I can’t see myself doing anything else that gives me such pleasure. Thank you, DoD!”

Karen and Rhonda celebrate the good news at a luncheon.
Karen and Rhonda celebrate the good news at a luncheon.

 

You’re welcome Karen White, but no thanks are necessary. Dogs on Deployment thanks you, and we wish you continued success in all your endeavors!

 

 

 

March Madness & The Final Four Have Nothing on Our Grateful Eight Military Families

Pet Chits Lead to Many Happy Reunions

Military members across this nation confront a multitude of problems during their careers; the last thing they need to worry about is their pet’s care during their service commitments. Dogs On Deployment promotes responsible, life-long pet ownership by military pet owners by advocating for military pet owner rights, providing educational resources and granting financial assistance (in the form of “Pet Chits” through our Pet Chit Financial Assistance Program) for military pet owners, whenever possible. One of the ways these pet chits help our military members and their pets is by allowing them to reunite when PCS costs would have prohibited them from staying together.

Happy Spring Time and Thanks from the Grateful Eight

As of press time, we were unable to complete all playoff brackets for the beloved pets of our military families. Rather than the “Sweet Sixteen,” we offer these “Grateful Eight” recent pet chit success stories, in no particular order.

Rogue Rejoins Her Family

Michael Akins, United States Army, received orders to Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan. The Akins family desperately wanted to take the family pet with them.

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“Rogue is like another child to us,” say the Akins.

The Akins have three children, ages 13, 9 and 1, who are deeply bonded with Rogue and couldn’t bear to be separated from her. “We agreed to do whatever it takes to get our dog over there with us, but would love the assistance. We only have one income at this time to support us due to the military relocation and would appreciate any help possible to cover Rogue’s travel expenses to Japan.” The Akins appreciated the pet chit of $1170 granted to their family.

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Rogue is a German Shepard with long ears that require the biggest travel kennel available. The Easter Bunny’s ears had nothing on her!

Meet Sadie, a Special Little Lady, and Big Part of Her Family

Patrick Herglotz, United States Marine Corps, tried to get his dogs back with him and the family upon return to the United States. “Bo,” one of the Herglotz family dogs, was taken in at just 13 weeks old. They later adopted Sadie from a family that no longer wanted her. The family insists, “we have been Sadie’s fourth owners and we will be her last!”

image1(1)
“Sadie has been a wonderful dog – leaving her and Bo behind was not an option for us,” says the Herglotz Family.

They add that “PCSing can be very stressful and expensive. More than you can imagine, we would appreciate any help that is given to us during our move back to the states. We love the dogs very much and thank you for your consideration!” Fortunately, DoD was able to produce a pet chit for $2600 to help keep the entire Herglotz family together.

Mona Meows and Avoids a Cat – astrophe

Dogs on Deployment recognizes that cats are also special members of our military families! Upon receiving orders, Nathan Harrison, United States Air Force, and his wife Amber recently reported to Japan, but were unable to get a spot for their beloved cat, Mona.

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Mona’s beautiful coat could be considered a style of camouflage – how appropriate!

Anyone with a kitty could tell you that it’s just not the same when you can’t enjoy their purring and playing when you are together. And so we give equal props to Mona, the cat. The Harrisons gratefully accepted a pet chit for $1050 which they used for Mona’s transport.

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Mona makes a purr-fect addition to the Harrison family.

Dodge & Jax: Partners in Pet Chit Success

Jeffrey Finnesgard, United States Marine Corps, and wife Bernice were in need of a pet chit to help pay for flying their two dogs back to Rochester, Minnesota before the heat embargo started.

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This canine dynamic duo are partners ‘til the end.

Dogs on Deployment provided a pet chit for $2000 to make the trip back home possible.

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Dodge is a 3.5-year-old Okinawa mix.
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Jax is a 1.5-year-old mini bull terrier.

The Finnesgard Family told us, “this is fantastic — we are so grateful for the help!”

Mac: Man’s Best Friend, for Sure

Mac, the mostly-Husky, is best friend to Ronald Munsterman, United States Marine Corps, and an integral part of his family.

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Mac is the Munsterman fur baby, who helps make their world a happier place.

They requested a pet chit to help pay for transport, medical testing and quarantining that would enable Mac to come to Hawaii to join the Munsterman family. They always knew Mac was the dog for them, even after Mac’s initial rescue group suggested that perhaps the family wound want a pure bred husky instead of him. Based on Mac’s description over the phone alone, Ronald Munsterman replied, “that’s my dog. I’m coming to get him.”

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Mac is speechless about the DoD assistance.

The family was grateful for the pet chit of $920 that reunited them all. “We thought we were out of luck. This means the world to our family!” said the Munstermans.

Suki Seeks to Rejoin Her Family

Joseph LeSueur, United States Marine Corps, along with his family just received orders to return to America and report to Camp Pendleton this coming July.

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Diego, son of GySgt Joseph L. LeSueur, USMC, and Suki, their family dog.

Suki the dog was not about to be left behind. In need of assistance with travel costs, the LeSeur family reached out to Sarah’s Pet Paradise, who offered some financial aid, but not enough for the single-income family.

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Suki now looks forward to celebrating birthdays and more with the family.

Me and Suki

The LeSeur family was assisted with a Pet Chit for $380. “We’re so very grateful for your organization’s help with our move back to America,” they told DoD.

Zingo, the Dog, Benefits Too

Margaret O’Brien, United States Marine Corps, and her family received orders to report to Okinawa, Japan. Everyone, and especially the three young O’Brien family children are very attached to their wonderful dog, Zingo.

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Zingo, the O’Brien family dog, aka their “spoiled fur child.”

The stress of moving is difficult enough, but no one would bear the thought of not taking ZIngo with them to live elsewhere. Travel costs proved to be a problem at first for the single-income family.The family was aided with a pet chit for $1050, and is very appreciative. “We all would have been devastated without Zingo. Thank you so much,” added the O’Briens.

Violet Smells Sweet Pet Chit Success

Tiffany Gaustad, United States Air Force, and her family received orders to report to Germany. Violet, their dog, remained home in the United States at first since there was a lack of funds to transport her to Germany, and not enough room on the outgoing flights.

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Violet patiently waits on the Gaustad family reunion.

When space was at last available to fly out, the Gaustads turned to Dogs on Deployment for financial assistance. A pet chit in the amount of $1500 was granted to the Gaustads. They gratefully welcomed back Violet to make their family complete once more.

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Violet and the Gaustad family are back in the saddle again.

They gratefully welcomed back Violet to make their family complete once more, and “send their heartfelt thanks to DoD.”

A Little Giving Goes a Long Way

Dogs on Deployment’s Pet Chit Financial Assistance Program has granted nearly $200,000 to help military families for help with their pets’ care during financial need. Nearly 75% of all incoming donations to Dogs on Deployment go directly to supporting military families.  In 2014, DoD granted nearly $28,000 in Pet Chits, and in 2015, we set a goal of $40,000. We succeeded their goal by nearly 300%, and granted nearly $120,000. This year, DoD has set a goal of granting $120,000; and we’re sure we can beat it again.

But not without your help.

One recipient of a Pet Chit wrote to our donors, “I would say that with all the terrible things happening around the world it is so heartwarming to know that there are people who want to help strangers out of the pure kindness of their heart. I think it speaks volumes about someone’s beliefs and priorities when they decide to help people and lessen their burden when they are not required to. I am so very grateful.”

Your contributions matter. Please give at www.bit.ly/dod-donate