Category Archives: DoD News


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.

 

 

 

 

From Tragedy to Triumph: Abigail Conquers Evil to Emerge as a Teacher and Hero

Bonnets for Abigail Supports Dogs on Deployment

Vote for Abigail Today to Receive the Hero Dog Award and We All Win

Meet sweet Abigail!

 

Dogs on Deployment is all about helping hands and paws. Everyone at Dogs on Deployment gets to meet people from other organizations that love, represent, and advocate for pets and other animals in various ways. People like Victoria Frazier, of Love is Fur Ever, a non-profit dog rescue in south Florida. She rescued a young dog from a shelter who was the victim of dog fighting.

Now, together with the healed, rehabilitated and lovely Abigail of Bonnets for Abigail, she wants to help Dogs on Deployment continue its important mission of assisting active military members and their family pets. And we all want to help end and raise awareness of dog fighting, which nearly killed Abigail, and which claims the lives of hundreds of dogs daily.

Abigail has been nominated for the 2017 American Humane’s Emerging Hero Dog award, supporting Dogs on Deployment, and needs your vote!  Show your support! Click here http://herodogawards.org/dog/abigail/ and vote for Abigail now and every day through June 28.

Young Abigail: Left for Dead

ABIGAIL – BEFORE & AFTER

Abigail, found mutilated from dog fighting.
Abigail today.

Victoria and her fellow volunteers routinely visit shelter dogs with the goal to rescue, foster them, and ultimately have them adopted by a permanent, forever family. They’ve seen many dogs who’ve been neglected, abandoned and abused, including Abigail, a Pit bull (which technically covers various breeds of terriers who were given this “nickname”), pulled from a shelter November 2016 and barely alive. “This poor girl’s condition after the level of abuse she suffered was just about the worst we’d seen,” said Victoria.

At a young age, Abigail was used as bait in dog fights. She was a victim of circumstance who certainly did not ask for the life she was forced to live. Before being brought into the shelter, she lost the entire right side of her face, including her ear, and her skin had been ripped off right down to the eardrum.

Abigail was left with an infection so bad that she nearly died from sepsis alone. She was also found to be anemic, infested with ticks, covered in old, dried mud, and scars which covered Abigail’s bloody head, neck and back legs.

 

 

Relief & Recovery

Victoria immediately noted Abigail’s disposition, and said, “she was sweet from the onset and required no special behavioral intervention. Within a couple of days of Abigail’s rescue, you’d never know she endured the type of abuse that she clearly did.” Abigail is a true ambassador, who best illustrates what makes the Pit bull breed so special and beloved. She harbored no ill will against any person or other animal, and responded to kindness by being kind and loyal.

Victoria took Abigail to highly skilled veterinarian Thomas Jackson, DVM, who ultimately performed 10 surgeries on the dog. She required constant wound care and frequent hospitalizations.

Abigail, post-surgery. Dr. Jackson performed over 10 operations on her.

It was during one of the dog’s many bandage changes that Dr. Jackson with veterinary technician Destiny realized the bandages were being held and shaped above Abigail’s head in a way resembling a bonnet. Right there, Bonnet’s for Abigail was born and since then, Abigail and her bonnets have begun to change the world. She can be found on Facebook @BonnetsForAbigail where she has over 15,000 followers.

 

Day 17 of Abigail’s journey included the first of many operations involving a skin graft. Eventually, under Dr. Jackson’s expertise Abigail’s face was recreated using some of the skin from her back. The tireless efforts of Dr. Jackson and his team gave the dog a chance to survive and even thrive. The last of her surgeries was a much needed spay, from which Abigail recovered nicely, and which brought her that much closer to being formally adopted.

Abigail with Victoria Frazier.

 

Abigail Blooms: Full of Love, Full of Life

News of Abigail’s struggles and rehabilitation spread worldwide. People became anxious to know more about what they can do to stop senseless dog fighting, and how to help its victims. While temporarily staying with Victoria and her foster family, Abigail started to enjoy wearing handmade bonnets sent to her from hundreds of people.

Bonnets, bonnets. bonnets!

“We couldn’t get over the response,” said Victoria. “At first it was a trickle of bonnets, and then we were bombarded by people all over the world wanting to help Abigail any way they can. Her supporters all get such a kick out of seeing her pose in one of their bonnets. Plus, if we don’t keep up with Abigail’s social media profiles, they are quick to check in, asking ‘Is Abigail OK’!”

Fortunately, over six months since her rescue by Victoria, Abigail is doing great. She is happy and healthy, and is anxiously waiting for Love is Fur Ever to make the final decision on her adoptive family. Many families applied, and the field was narrowed down to two, either of whom would make wonderful fur-parents for Abigail. Soon, she’ll go on to a live a stable, safe and loving life. One criteria is that her new family help manage her Facebook following!

 

Abigail didn’t need therapy. Abigail is the therapy.

Abigail with some of her new friends.

She loves people and loves dogs. She has a mission to continue to teach forgiveness and end dog fighting.

We can do this. We must.

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

Top Dog

As part of her mission to continue to teach forgiveness and end dog fighting, Abigail has been nominated for an award which would make her a universal ambassador and spokesperson for dog fighting.

The American Humane Hero Dog Awards is an annual campaign that recognizes heroes on both ends of the leash. We’re honored to announce that Abigail has made it through to the second round of voting. She stands a very good chance of being selected “Winner” in the category of Emerging Hero Dog at the upcoming American Humane’s Annual Hero Dog Awards Ceremony and Show, and maybe even the overall Top American Hero Dog. But Abigail NEEDS YOU TO ROCK THE VOTE – PLEASE DO SO! JUST CLICK HERE. http://herodogawards.org/dog/abigail/  Voting is open now through 12pm Pacific Time on June 28.

Best of all, Victoria has selected Dogs on Deployment as her Charity Partner in the Hero Dog Awards process.

Happy Days!

This means if Abigail is selected in the top eight finalists, American Humane will donate $2500 to Dogs on Deployment.

If Abigail wins the top honors and title of American Hero Dog, an additional $5,000 will be awarded to Dogs on Deployment! A win-win for all!

In Service to our Country: A Common Bond

When Victoria first heard of Dogs on Deployment she couldn’t believe the stories of active duty military members who felt forced to surrender their pets to an unknown fate simply because they had to fulfill a service mission. Victoria comes from and married into a military family. She completely understands what life is like for members of the various United States armed forces, and hates the thought that anyone serving the country would abandon their pet.

We thank Victoria for sharing her story, and we love you Abigail!

That’s why she and Bonnets for Abigail support our mission completely. Dogs on Deployment is grateful for the acknowledgement. Win or lose, we know Abigail is destined to do great things as a teacher and hero dog.

Congratulations, and  Good Luck Abigail!

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Dogs on Deployment (DoD) is an all-volunteer, national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization providing critical resources to support United States service members and their pets by providing a much-needed connection between individuals and families willing to board pets and military members whose service puts their pets at risk of abandonment. DoD offers online resources that help military members find loving, safe foster homes for their animals, allowing them to serve our country with one less worry. 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.

 

 

 

Pet Boarding Volunteers at Dogs on Deployment 

 

A 4-Paws-Up Salute to Repeat Boarders, Debra & Gary Freeman

Volunteer boarders and foster pet parents are critical to the success of Dogs on Deployment. Thanks to the care, compassion and cooperation of such individuals, increasing numbers of military members and families that seek help through Dogs on Deployment gain some peace of mind while in military training or on active duty.

Some volunteer boarders within the Dogs on Deployment network love what they do so much that they become repeat borders.

Debra Freeman is one such boarder. “The reason why I chose to be a DoD boarder is very simple,” said Debra. “I wanted to somehow show my support for the U.S. military, and what better way to do it than to show it through my love for dogs? It does my heart good! I must also say that my husband, Gary is a big help and fostering could not be done without him. He loves animals as much as I do! Together, we hope to keep reaching out to Dogs on Deployment to volunteer and share the love.”

 

Prior to agreeing to board any dog, the Dogs on Deployment organization makes it a point to introduce everyone involved to make sure “it’s a good fit.”  Initial meet-and-greets enable the dog’s owners and potential boarders, along with their children and pets, to get to know one another. This is followed by a trial run, which helps determine how the dog being boarded will behave in his or her new home and surroundings.

“Our initial meet and greet with potential boarders included our own fur-child, a yellow Labrador Retriever named Teddy,” Debra told us. “Sweet Teddy does not have a mean bone in his body, and fortunately, each of the dogs we volunteered to board have gotten along well with Teddy!”

 

Lincoln at the window, on patrol for squirrels & groundhogs

 

The first dog the Freeman family boarded was Lincoln. “We had him for 6 weeks in 2016, from early July to mid-August,” said Debra. “During our meet and greet he rolled in ‘doo-doo.’ I said, “Oh, we have a stinker who likes to roll in doo-doo!” My husband, Gary proceeded to help give Lincoln a bath. We told the other people involved not to worry, and that we had many dogs who also exhibited this behavior, and even some who had been sprayed by skunks. I think they were impressed with how we handled the situation, as well as the fact that we have a huge back yard. Later, when we discovered how much Lincoln liked laying in our bay window we made him a comfy bed there. He loved to watch the squirrels and groundhogs!”

 

Jack the boarder, who is also welcome back

The second dog the Freemans boarded was Jack. Said Debra, “we had him for the entire month of February, 2017. His owners said he moped around for a week after he went home because he missed me! Because of my disability, I’m always home and rarely leave. I’ll admit, Jack was spoiled here and loved all the attention I gave him. “

While boarding each of the dogs, Debra and Gary kept in touch with their respective military family owners via email, and were thoughtful and kind enough to send weekly updates along with a pic of their pooch – for which the service members were very grateful.

 

Jack with his temporary Dogs on Deployment foster mom, and George, his owner

 

Debra was glad to add that both homecomings were very happy ones for the owners and their fur babies. “It felt so good to help, and we look forward to boarding again through Dogs on Deployment!”

 

Dogs on Deployment 2017 MPOTY Winner is Tanzie!

Dogs on Deployment is excited and proud to announce that our 2017 Military Pet of the Year and Mascot is Tanzie!

TANZIE, the Dogs on Deployment mascot and winner of our 2017 MPOTY Contest. All photos courtesy Katie Ward.

Tanzie will Excitedly Represent Dogs on Deployment as the Mascot, and Winner of our 2017 Military Pet of the Year Contest

Dogs on Deployment Makes it Official:  2017 MPOTY Winner is Tanzie!

Each year Dogs on Deployment holds a contest in search of one very special dog to serve as our mascot and be the face of the organization. We agree that every dog is special. But some dogs, like Tanzie, uniquely embody all the characteristics we hold dear in a pet, and through their circumstances, teach us important, compelling lessons. In this case, Tanzie and her owners share the dog’s incredible journey, and now help raise awareness as together they advocate for animal rescue.

Who’s That Girl?

Tanzie began her life as a stray, known only as “Tag 384,” on the war-torn streets of Sarajevo, the capital of what is now referred to as the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was there in Sarajevo, where Katie Gar Ward, Technical Sergeant, United States Air Force, first saw the dog outside the installation where she was working.

Katie Ward, Technical Sergeant, USAF, befriends a dog in Sarajevo, known then only as “puppy-girl.”

Katie was able identify to this dog as one of many local strays because of the tag marking on its ear. Animals were periodically brought in by the Bosnian authorities to be given a rabies vaccine, spayed/neutered, tagged, documented, and returned to the streets. It was the best outcome many of them could hope for. Most of the stray animal population fared worse, roaming hungry, ignored, and often abused.

Whenever she could, Katie soon began to look for “puppy girl,” as she affectionately nicknamed her, and when the dog surfaced, would reward her little furry friend with belly rubs, playtime, food, treats, and attention that the homeless dog so desired. Katie, who already had two dogs back in the States with husband Walker, admitted to falling in love with this blond, brindle, beautiful mixed-breed puppy, and knew she had to do more.

Tanzie herself said, “Little did I know, I would eventually have a home with her, my daddy, and my furry brother and sister in the USA!”

Katie & Walker Ward, President and Vice President of “The Tanzie Project,” pose with their beloved fur-kids.

After careful consideration and deliberation, the Wards decided originally to bring “Tanzie” to the United States to find a home for her. But Katie and husband, Walker Ward have admitted, “deep down, we knew it was going to be with us.” Katie had to track down which veterinarian had tagged the dog and then obtain her vital paperwork. The vets in Bosnia removed the tag on Tanzie’s ear a few days before she flew home to begin her new life in America, back on January 12, 2015. While neither Katie nor the original vet could be sure, it’s believed that Tanzie was born early, 2014; they estimate her age as of early 2017 to be about three years old.

Tanzie has brought her family so much love and joy.

Home, Sweet Home

Little did Tanzie know what awaited her, and little did she know what influence she and her adoptive pet parents, the Wards would soon yield. Once she arrived in the United States, Tanzie was warmly welcomed into her new household by her new pack mates and “siblings,” brother Benji, now 13 years old, and sister, Bella, six.

Tanzie had to adjust to being in a household with her siblings all day while her parents were at work. Katie, in fact, remained in Sarajevo for weeks finishing an assignment. Despite some destructive episodes – which included digging endless holes in the yard and all around the property – Tanzie soon settled in and relished her new forever home, which had to be a welcome relief. Katie thinks that Tanzie fell into domestic bliss and began to recognize her place in the family, in part from watching Benji and Bella.

It was quite easy for Benji and Bella to fall in love with Tanzie.

The gang gets along great!
They are now the best of friends!

The Quest to Help Others: The Tanzie Project is Born

While she was still in Sarajevo, getting the wheels in motion to somehow bring Tanzie to the U.S., Katie said, “I reached out to many, many organizations to see if they would help me find the means to bring even more dogs back from Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

One such organization was The Puppy Rescue Mission, (http://www.puppyrescuemission.com/) a U.S-based animal welfare group, whom Katie described as her “shot-in-the-dark.” Working together, they successfully rescued and sent nine Bosnian street dogs to the States, where all were eventually adopted in their forever homes.

Building upon their successful efforts for Tanzie and a few of the other dogs, the Wards were determined to help more dogs, and did just that. Initially, they began a Facebook page to raise funds to help buy food for Bosnia’s strays. Soon, with some encouragement from their new friends at The Puppy Rescue Mission, the Wards said, they “took a leap of faith and decided to make their efforts official,” thereby turning their passion into purpose and establishing a 501c3 non-profit organization. The Tanzie Project was born, with the goal of finding homes for as many forgotten, mistreated street dogs as possible.

Good Dog, Good Deeds

We caught up with the beautiful Tanzie herself, who will have a busy year ahead of her as the ambassador for Dogs on Deployment!

Tanzie told us, “I really appreciate getting to share how “pawsitively” happy I am to be American!”

Surf’s up!!!

Tanzie also said, “in my first year in the USA, I swam in the ocean, climbed a mountain, rode in an elevator (wow, THAT was weird!!), went on a camping trip, rode on a boat (that was my favorite), and went wine tasting, to mention a few of my most favorite “firsts!

Thank you Dogs on Deployment, for the opportunity to be your 2017 Military Pet of the Year!!! And thanks to all the ‘pawesome’ people who voted for me and believed in my cause…I ‘pawmise’ I won’t let you down!!

Dogs on Deployment gives Tanzie “four-paws-up!” We know she will spread cheer and good will wherever she represents us this year. Our gratitude and congratulations to Katie and Walker Ward, Benji, Bella, and most of all, Tanzie.

For details on The Tanzie Project, Tanzie’s American Journey “from street, to chic,” and more information on the efforts of the Ward family to aid dogs known as Bosnia’s strays, please visit http://www.thetanzieproject.org/.

 

What’s It Like to Be a Dogs on Deployment Boarder/Foster?

 

Dogs on Deployment happily brings you this guest-post, written exclusively by Amy Robertson

 

My Life as a Boarder for Bam-Bam: A Love Story, 5 Years in the Making

I was sitting quietly on my couch waiting for my daughter’s bus to come when I heard my phone notifications ping several times in a row. I thought, it must be important, so I checked my account. I had six messages waiting. All with pictures of a smiling Bernese Mountain dog looking at me.  All the same dog.

Turns out that Mitchell, an active U.S. military service person, had just listed “Bam-Bam” on the Dogs on Deployment site and everyone in my dog circles was sending his picture to me. You see, I have been active in the rescue and re-home arena for Bernese Mountain dogs for over ten years, and am a recently retired U.S. Navy spouse. I was aware of Dogs on Deployment and thought the organization’s mission was an excellent idea. I wanted to participate but was waiting for the right dog to offer a room to. Bam-Bam was that dog.

Timing is Everything in Life

I emailed the link on the Dogs on Deployment site immediately. I hoped we were not too late to help! Berners (as Bernese Mountain dogs are affectionately known) are a beloved breed and I hoped we would be able to board him at most and, at the very least, let Mitchell know about the very active Berner community in the Hampton Roads area.

Not only was Bam-Bam a Berner, but Mitchell had worked hard with his dog to get him trained as a certified therapy dog, too. That distinction fit perfectly in with our family, as one of our daughters has multiple needs, and a therapy dog in our midst would be able to perform plenty of daily work helping our daughter with her tasks.

We all made our introductions and brought Bam-Bam home with us. He fit in exceptionally well. He was a joy to have in the house! We continued to be active in the community with him, taking him to local club walks and events. We participated in two Dogs on Deployment events where he was the mascot on duty at information tables, informing the public about what DoD does.

Love at first sight.

 

Bam-Bam spent seven months with us that first deployment. We loved every minute of it! Even when he tested out the fence height and decided that the swamp in the back yard was for rolling in. He brought joy to our lives like only a Berner can.

 

Amy with both “Berners”

When it came time to send Bam-Bam home to Mitchell, we all cried. After seven months, it felt strange to have only one dog again. We kept in touch with Mitchell, and later when his ship was out for several days, were able to foster Bam-Bam a few more times. Over the next few months, we again agreed to take Bam-Bam overnight, or for a few days at a time while Mitchell’s ship was away. It was a happy arrangement that suited everyone well.

My husband got a new job in a state far away and we thought we were done boarding Bam-Bam. It was sad, but we knew that we had given Mitchell plenty of names of folks who were still local to him if the need arose for another fostering/boarding need.

Two years later and Mitchell’s ship was working up for a deployment again. He called and sought us out, and again we were able to help. That time Bam-Bam stayed with us for a total of four months while Mitchell’s ship went in and out of port on workups.  Our devotion had us drove to Virginia to bring Bam-Bam home with us. The trip was a long one, and it was hard for Mitchell to have his pup so far away from home when he himself was home occasionally. Previously, on Mitchell’s brief visits home from duty, Bam-Bam was able to return home for a few days to be with his own “Dad,” and give him a huge moral boost in the process.

 

A family affair

Then one afternoon several months later, I got an email from Mitchell indicating that he was soon deploying, and asking if we could possibly take Bam-Bam yet again, even though we were so far away. I immediately said yes, and we made the ten-hour drive to go get Bam-Bam and bring him home. We were beyond excited to have him reunited with us, his foster family! This time he stayed for nine months. We sent weekly pictures and reports to Mitchell via the web so he could see all the things we were up to.

 

Bam-Bam patiently waits for the Sports section

This most recent deployment we seized the day, and took the opportunity to bring Bam-Bam back to Mitchell for his actual homecoming off the ship on the pier, rather than meeting up with him as per usual at the house. It was a day we will never forget. He was the only dog on the pier and the talk of the ship for sure. Nothing like a beautiful, big dog launching himself at a Sailor in crackerjacks to put a smile on your face!

 

Berners bonding in the park

If the need ever arises again, Bam-Bam will be very welcome to come stay with us. As of this point, he has actually spent almost half his life in our care. We couldn’t be happier with the arrangement. Thanks to Dogs on Deployment for this amazing experience!!

 

* We hope you have enjoyed this special guest-post, compliments of Dogs on Deployment Star Boarder and Devotee, Amy Robertson. Our thanks to Amy & Bam-Bam for caring and sharing! We give four-paws up to them both. (The regular editor for this blog, Susan Nitka, has gone fishing, but will return shortly.)

Jacquie Nichols Mikolaczyk Awarded Volunteer of the Quarter 3, 2016

Dogs on Deployment Volunteer, Jacquie Nichols Mikolaczyk
of Pensacola, FL, Earns Distinction with
Volunteer of the Quarter 3, 2016 Award

 

Jackie Nichols Mikolaczyk, Gulf Coast DoD Coordinator, with Alisa Johnson, President and Co-Founder, Dogs on Deployment

 

Jacquie Nichols Mikolaczyk Recognized for her Efforts and Dedication to Dogs on Deployment

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, namely compassion, motivation, and honor. Each quarter, the Board of Directors chooses one of our many volunteers to be recognized for their genuine contribution, steadfast volunteerism, and unwavering support of our service members and their pets.

Alisa Johnson, President and Co-Founder of Dogs on Deployment, proudly announced that Jacquie Nichols Mikolaczyk is the recipient of our “Volunteer of the Quarter” award for the third quarter of 2016. The event was recorded, and the link provided here will take you to that video, on our Facebook – DoD: Gulf Coast page.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/DoDGulfCoast/videos/?ref=page_internal

 

Passion & Conviction, Onward…

Since the summer of 2014, Jacquie has been an important member of the Dogs on Deployment team. She first began volunteering with Dogs on Deployment in the Pensacola, Florida region of the country. There, she impressed other volunteers with her dedication to the cause, and her driving passion to promote the mission of Dogs on Deployment.

When the previous Pensacola Local Coordinator for Dogs on Deployment moved from the area, Jacquie was the obvious choice to step up in the vacant role. She enthusiastically accepted the position, and soon proved that she was up for the challenge, far exceeding the expectations of the leaders of the organization.

Jacquie has a contagious spunk and has never meet a stranger. She was responsible for coordinating several events in and around the Pensacola and Lower Alabama areas, including several successful Beer, Dog, Veteran fundraising events, and Dogs on Deployment’s first ever Poker Run. As a direct result of Jacquis’ networking efforts, the Pensacola, FL Chapter of Dogs on Deployment gained several important donors and sponsors in the area — including Navy Federal Credit Union, Harley Davidson of Pensacola, and Pen Air Federal Credit Union.

 

Jacquie, representing DoD at Beer, Dogs and Veterans event
Jacquie at the Marine Corps League Speaking Series, with Retired Navy Pilot Honored for Native American Heritage

 

 

 

… and Upward

In 2016, when the position for Dogs on Deployment, Gulf Coast Regional Coordinator became vacant, once again, Jacquie was the obvious choice to step up to this role and begin leading the entire Gulf Coast.

Since taking over in that capacity, Jacquie has put the growth and success of the Gulf Coast Region into hyperdrive, while continuing to grow the local Pensacola Chapter. She has brought on new, passionate local coordinators in both Huntsville, AL and Jacksonville, FL along with many more volunteers. She not only works hard, but works to recognize the volunteers around her through her “Feel Good Friday” Facebook posts.

At the recent award ceremony, Jackie told us, “I have never been more honored to a part of an organization than I was today. I get to do something I love to do, along with people that have become a family — Dogs on Deployment. Thank you so very much!”

 

High Praise from Dogs on Deployment President, Alisa Johnson

“Jacquie is a motivated, passionate and reliable leader. Her dedication to Dogs on Deployment has been a tremendous asset to those around her, and those throughout the organization. She is a respected member of the team not only by her fellow volunteers, but also by the Board of Directors. Jacquie willingly makes herself available, offers her attendance whenever needed, and demonstrates a genuine passion for the organization’s mission.”

President & Co-Founder, Dogs on Deployment, Alisa Johnson added, “Due to her hard work, contagious positivity, and strong dedication, I am sincerely proud to call Jacquie a team member of Dogs on Deployment. Keep up the good work!

We look forward to your continued support for many years to come.”

 

 

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! 

<BR />

Dogs on Deployment Cheers Belle T634

 

Military Pet of the Year 2016 Recipient Marches On

Every dog has his or her day, and in our case, every dog has its year!

Dogs on Deployment cheers on as Military Pet of The Year 2016 Recipient Belle T634 and proud owners, Sam and Jessica Wettstein, step aside to make way for the soon to be announced winner of the MPOTY 2017 contest.

It has been a banner year for the beloved Belle, our current Dogs on Deployment MPOTY 2016 and mascot. She is shown here with Sgt. Sam Wettstein.

 

Well Wishes and Questions with Sam and Jessica Wettstein, Belle’s Family

Dogs on Deployment bids a fond farewell to Military Pet of The Year 2016 Recipient Belle T634, and her proud owners, Sam and Jessica Wettstein. Sam serves as Sgt., USMC. Belle originally served as a military work dog for her handler, Sgt. Wettstein. The duo trained together for a year and served together in the USMC for seven months overseas.

Sam and Jessica Wettstein shared their thoughts on what life was like after Belle was named MPOTY 2016.

 

DOGS ON DEPLOYMENT: 

What was your favorite thing about Belle being named MPOTY 2016?

“We loved the opportunities Dogs on Deployment gave us to share Belle and Sam’s story. Even though she is now retired, Belle had a new purpose and was still able to help others by sharing her story.

We also loved being welcomed into a new family — the Dogs on Deployment family. We made friends all over the country that we now have for life!

Belle would like to add that one of her favorite things was all the gifts she received from her sponsors! There were treats, paintings, a new custom bed, new collars, a cuddle clone, and so much more. The outpouring of love was overwhelming and Belle wants us to say thank you on her behalf!”

 

DOGS ON DEPLOYMENT: 

During Belle’s reign as MPOTY 2016, you all had a chance to travel, acting as “Good Will Ambassadors” for DoD. Were there any surprises?

“We traveled the United States, making it a point to tell everyone about the mission of Dogs on Deployment. It surprised us greatly that many people still hadn’t heard about this amazing program.

We enjoyed educating others on the important “No Dog Left Behind” DoD philosophy, and demonstrating how that relates to military family pets, and our family — specifically, we spoke on the unification of retired working dogs and their handlers.

On one trip to Colorado, Jessica was shopping in Denver and she happened upon a “Dog Is Good” display in a local pet boutique. Sure enough, there front and center, was the specially designed shirt inspired by Belle! You should have seen the surprise on her face and the excitement getting to share the story about it with the storeowners and shoppers!”

 

DOGS ON DEPLOYMENT: 

The Military Pet of the Year program enables Dogs on Deployment to raise awareness for responsible pet ownership.  What did you learn and share about responsible pet ownership?

“It’s disheartening to learn how many pets are re-homed every year due to military deployments, training and moves. Dogs on Deployment is an amazing non-profit, but is only effective if others know about it and utilize it! So, it’s about getting the word out there.

Belle loved utilizing social media to share her day to day life, but she also used her platform to raise awareness that no matter what, no dog (or pet) should be left behind!

Having such a large platform to raise awareness about Mission K9 Rescue was such a blessing. Their assistance in reuniting Belle and Sam after their combined service in Iraq, has forever changed our lives. Since Belle gained some attention serving as MPOTY 2016, Sam was presented with the opportunity to volunteer and train service dogs with Labs for Liberty. This led to his work creating a program at his university, uniting Labs for Liberty and the University, and even a featured article in the Alumni Magazine. One small title of MPOTY has had such a large domino effect on our family, changing our lives for the better, and hopefully impacting others as well.”

 

DOGS ON DEPLOYMENT: 

Were there any particular people / events that stood out, and why?

“Yes – one event that stood out to us was attending the Hero Dog Awards ceremony in Beverly Hills this past summer. We can’t express enough what an amazing opportunity that was to have been nominated in the top three of the military dog category out of all the nominees across the country. Even though Belle didn’t win, it was so much fun to gather with all our DoD friends at the event, to meet such other incredible dogs, hear others stories, and to share ours.

Throughout 2016, we worked with many outstanding volunteers, including DoD -founders, Shawn and Alicia Johnson. To finally put faces to names was something we never thought was possible! Belle loved being loved by everyone, and immensely enjoyed her photo shoot for “Dog is Good” for her Belle-inspired shirt.

Most especially, Belle enjoyed dancing the night away with daddy, Sam at the Hero Dog Awards, dressed in her red-carpet attire!”

 

Belle left her fatigues behind. She effortlessly handled the pupp – arazzi with grace and dignity as MPOTY 2016 for Dogs on Deployment.

 

DOGS ON DEPLOYMENT: 

What advice would you have for the upcoming MPOTY 2017 mascot? 

“Dive right in and enjoy every moment of this experience! It can be slightly scary putting your whole story out there for everyone to see and hear, but know that it’s for a great cause. Share as much good will and news as you can on your social media, and take every opportunity to spread the word about Dogs on Deployment!

We couldn’t have asked for a more amazing year, and are grateful to now have so many wonderful friends!”

 

Help Military Members and Their Pets

Dogs on Deployment is a national non-profit which provides a network for military members to search for volunteers willing to board their pets during their service commitments.

DoD aims to promote responsible, lifelong pet ownership within the military-pet community. One way we spotlight this goal is by hosting our annual Military Pet of the Year competition where our winner will be the Dogs on Deployment Mascot for one year, signifying their military owner’s commitment to a healthy, engaged lifestyle with their pet.

2017 DOD MILITARY PET OF THE YEAR CONTEST BEGINS

Military Members and Their Dogs, We Salute You!

Dogs on Deployment is a national non-profit which provides a network for military members to search for volunteers willing to board their pets during their service commitments.

At Dogs on Deployment, we aim to promote responsible, lifelong pet ownership within the military-pet community. One way we spotlight this goal is by hosting our annual Military Pet of the Year competition where our winner will be the Dogs on Deployment Mascot for one year, signifying their military owner’s commitment to a healthy, engaged lifestyle with their pet.

Military Pet Owners, Here is Your Chance

Attention military pet owners – your dog could be the next “Military Pet of the Year” mascot! The Dogs on Deployment annual Military Pet of the Year (MPOTY) competition has begun. During the annual MPOTY event, military members are invited to proudly show off their pets along with the rest of their families.

Does your dog have what it takes to be named the 2017 Military Pet of the Year?

Check out the contest timeline below!

Contest Timeline:

SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY:

1/15 at 7:00 am through 1/29 at 7:00 pm

VOTING IS OPEN:

2/5 at 7:00 am through 2/19 at 7:00 pm

JUDGING PERIOD:

2/20 at 7:00 am through 2/28 at 7:00 pm

WINNERS ANNOUNCED:

3/1 at 12:00 pm

(All times are EST.)

The MPOTY 2017 Application and Contest Entry Process

Your application must include:

  • Documentation proving military status
  • Basic information
  • A photo to be used for the contest, and
  • 500 written words on why your dog should be chosen as Dogs on Deployment’s 2016 Military Pet of the Year and Mascot.  This essay will be used as a caption for your dog’s photo during voting.

Examples of topics for your essay are:

  • How did you get the dog in the first place?
  • What are some difficulties you’ve had caring for the dog along with your service commitments?
  • Any illness/accidents your dog has overcome?
  • How do you exhibit being a responsible pet owner in the military, etc.?

 

Your entry will be reviewed by the Dogs on Deployment Board to ensure compliance with the contest entry requirements listed below. Any entry not meeting these requirements will be disqualified from the competition. Submit your entries beginning January 15th at 7 am EST; they may be submitted until January 29st at 7 pm EST, at which time the contest is closed to any and all submissions.

Voting begins February 5th at 7 am EST, and closes on February 19th at 7 pm EST. During this time, each person is allowed one vote within a 24-hour period.

The Dogs on Deployment Board of Trustees will then pick the winner from the top three finalists receiving the highest amounts of popular votes. The winner is announced on March 1st at 12 pm EST.

 

MPOTY Contest Entry Requirements and Code Overview

Entry and Photo Requirements

  • Dogs only
  • May be any adult breed dog (over 1-year-old)
  • Dog must be spayed or neutered unless involved with responsible dog showing or breeding
  • Dog must be owned by an active duty or reservist military member or honorably discharged veteran
  • Dog must be a family pet whose owner meets our “Code of a Military Pet Owner” (see below)
  • Photo must be high resolution; prefer no phone photos, +200dpi, larger than 1200px x 1200px print quality
  • Portrait or candid style photo of military owned dog
  • No more than two dogs may be shown in the photo for a single entry
  • No humans allowed in photo
  • Professional photographs preferred
  • Photo must be original to owner
  • Photo permissions must be given to Dogs on Deployment for reuse
  • Contestants may not pay for votes, or use online pay-advertising to promote voting
  • Winners must be willing to be photographed in uniform with your dog for Dogs on Deployment imagery
  • Winners must be willing to maintain a Facebook page for Dogs on Deployment’s 2016 Military Pet of the Year and Mascot for one year
  • Winners must be willing to attend local events and speak on behalf of Dogs on Deployment to potential media contacts

Code of a Military Pet Owner

I’m a US Military Member and pet owner. I promise to always have a plan for them. I promise never to abandon them. I promise to keep them healthy and vaccinated. I promise to spay or neuter them. * I promise to train and socialize them. I promise to love them as unconditionally as they love me. I promise to be a good pet owner while serving my country. I promise this.

Good Luck one and all!