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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rocky the Magnificent and Mary: An Update

Dogs on Deployment hopes everyone has been having a safe and enjoyable summer. A while ago in this Military Pet Tails Blog we presented the story of Mary, a United States Army veteran and her dog, Rocky the Magnificent, whom we came to know and love as the dog with “peanut butter eyes.”

Rocky is a rescue dog who picked Mary in August, 2013. They quickly settled into a wonderful life together, full of the rituals that come with responsible dog ownership, and an abundance of unconditional love.

Rocky the dog: A Lover and A Fighter

Pictured above: ROCKY — Both a lover and a fighter!

Mary’s world changed on January 15, 2016, when she first noticed what turned out to be a rock-hard lump in Rocky’s mouth, just under his eye. After numerous tests that were both exhaustive and expensive, Rocky was diagnosed with cancer, namely fibrosarcoma and melanocytoma in the oral cavity. Few things can bring immediate dread to your life the way a cancer diagnosis will. Sadly, current estimates indicate that roughly 6 million dogs (and just as many domestic cats) will be diagnosed with cancer this year alone.

In the weeks that followed the diagnosis, the Pets for Patriots organization, along with Dogs on Deployment, together committed funds towards surgery and the treatment of Rocky’s cancer. This financial assistance was important because it also meant that a United States veteran would not have to — in Mary’s own words — “reach their financial breaking point .”

UPDATE: As of Rocky’s end of July, 2016 veterinary report, his tumor has been seriously reduced. The canine cancer that is left on the dog’s jaw is dead or dying, and he has been cleared for follow up in four months.

GO ROCKY, GO!!

 

Dogs on Deployment Donations Bring Smiles Across the Miles

 

Please donate to Dogs on Deployment to help us win the Veterans Charity Challenge 4!

Where does your donation go? What exactly does the money do? The smile on a child’s face tells you the answer!

Thanks to you, Dogs on Deployment has already done much to help keep military families together, but we need your continued support. Your generous donations will help us meet our goals and win the 2016 Veterans Charity Challenge!!

 

This story originally appeared in our Military Pet Tails Blog, April 2016.

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.

Diego and Suki

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.

Now reunited, Suki looks forward to celebrating birthdays and more with her family.
Now reunited, Suki looks forward to celebrating birthdays and more with her family.
Suki with her proud Pop.
Suki with her proud Pop.

 

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.

– See more at: http://dogsondeployment.org/MilitaryTails/#sthash.zn31xOBJ.dpuf

 

May: Memorials, Military Appreciation, and Reflection

National Military Spouse Day was recognized May 6, 2016. Each year on that day the United States acknowledges the significant contributions, support, and sacrifices of spouses of members of the Armed Forces.

Armed Forces Day was recognized May 21, 2016. Created in 1939 to replace the separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days, this single day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense.

And of course, Memorial Day, celebrated this year on Monday, May 30 honors all men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.

As your Dogs on Defense Military Pet Tails Blog Editor, I salute everyone in all branches of the United States service and humbly want to offer a sincere thank you. I myself have never served in the military, but a number of people in my family have proudly done so.

My gratitude and appreciation for United States service members and their families runs deep. I hold enormous reverence towards each of you, in every military branch for your dedication and the selfless service you give to our fine country and to regular citizens like me. I have learned over time how blessed I am to have you representing me.

  • As a young woman I curiously watched an old man salute our United States flag in the morning. I learned years later that “Izzy” made that same salute every single morning upon coming outdoors. Izzy was on a ship in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked.
  • On 9-11, I watched dumbstruck from outside my office building — Tower One of the World Trade Center — as one plane after another struck the buildings, eventually killing colleagues and friends of mine. For the first time, I understood survivor’s guilt. As it turns out, I had seen the iconic New York City skyline I’d always known for the last time.
  • As a woman some years later I encountered a different old man who chatted with me about matters including the modern state of warfare. “Bill” was troubled that enemies no longer clearly identified themselves while fighting and instead hid in caves. Bill had been captured at 17 years old by the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge.

It is my distinct honor to fly the United States flag everyday outside of the home I share with my beloved husband, himself a onetime U.S. Navy cryptographer.

And, as a regular citizen, it is also my privilege to serve as the Military Pet Tails Blog Editor for Dogs on Deployment. It enables me to lend my skills and support to a cause that I wholeheartedly believe in. The efforts of this organization are vitally important.

Anyone wondering how to support our troops can consider lending his or her time and talents to Dogs on Deployment. Volunteers are always needed and serve in a variety of capacities. You do not need experience with or knowledge of military life.

I am proof that you don’t have to be in the military to support the military or its causes, and I can tell you that my experience with DoD is very rewarding. I love serving as your Editor, and sincerely hope to be able to do so for many years to come.

Dogs on Deployment Military Pet Tails Blog Editor, Susan Nitka, with Lucy, her Jack Russell Terrier. Susan handles all the writing, while Lucy manages the editorial calendar.
Dogs on Deployment Military Pet Tails Blog Editor, Susan Nitka, with Lucy, her Jack Russell Terrier.  Susan handles all the writing, while Lucy manages the editorial calendar.

Thank you to my Dogs on Deployment colleagues and friends for this opportunity. God bless all the United States military, and especially those we remember on Memorial Day.

 

2016 Veterans Charity Challenge 4 is Here

Support Dogs on Deployment in our Quest to Be the Best in the 2016 Veterans Charity Challenge 4

Dogs on Deployment will again this year participate in the upcoming Veterans Charity Challenge 4, which launches May 25th at 12pm ET, and runs through July 6th at 1:59:59pm ET. It is our hope, according to Dogs on Deployment President and Co-Founder, Alisa Johnson that DoD comes in first place in 2016 and meets the goal of raising over $40,000 (what’s that? – do I hear $50,000?!) to directly benefit the Pet Chit Financial Assistance Program. Our successful Pet Chit program strives to keep military families together with their pets. Dogs on Deployment came in second place the last two years it participated in this friendly competition.

The Veterans Charity Challenge 4 (VCC4) is an online fundraising challenge created and hosted by Craigslist founder and philanthropist Craig Newmark. His efforts have already significantly helped to raise both money and awareness for organizations benefitting America’s heroes, including military members and their families. Through the VCC4 and his charity, craigconnects, Mr. Newmark has pledged to give a total of $50,000 to a variety of nonprofit organizations. Follow this link for more information. https://www.crowdrise.com/veteranscharitychallenge4

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

The organization that succeeds in raising the most money during the fundraiser will be awarded additional big money prizes!

  • First place receives $20,000
  • Second place receives $10,000
  • Third place receives $5,000
  • Fourth place receives $2,500
  • Fifth place receives $1,000

Dogs on Deployment raised $32,800 in 2014 and $31,266 in 2015, coming in second place both years. Those are impressive numbers for sure, but the Veterans Charity Challenge is our one and only fundraising campaign of the year! Our goal is to raise $40,000 in 2016 and get first place bonus money.

  • Any monies raised are 100% tax-exempt donations.
  • Total money raised goes directly to supporting Dogs on Deployment’s foster network and our Pet Chit Program.
  • People can contribute locally through their local DoD chapters; and
  • Anyone can fundraise for Dogs on Deployment by joining the team.

There are prizes for the top fundraising teams! BONUS CHALLENGES to win too!!

But Wait, … There’s More!

In addition to the overall prizes, there are bonus challenges we can win. Bonus challenges take place at different intervals during the overall competition and represent an additional opportunity to show support of Dogs on Deployment.

BONUS CHALLENGE #1: MAY 25 – MAY 31

The organization that raises the most online this week will win $1,500.

BONUS CHALLENGE #2: MAY 31 – JUNE 7

Every organization that raises at least $500 this week will be entered to win $1,500. And, there will be 2 winners.

BONUS CHALLENGE #3: JUNE 7 – JUNE 14

The two organizations that raise the most online this week will play Rock, Paper, Scissors. The organization that wins Rock, Paper, Scissors gets $1,000 and the organization that does not win gets $500.

BONUS CHALLENGE #4: JUNE 14 – JUNE 21

Every charity that raises at least $200 online this week will get entered to win $200. There will be 10 winners.

BONUS CHALLENGE #5: JUNE 21 – JUNE 28

The top four organizations to raise the most online this week each will each win $500.

BONUS CHALLENGE #6: JUNE 28 – JULY 6

Raise at least $1,500 online this week for a chance to win $1,500.

Quit Barking and Sign Me Up!

The Dogs on Deployment Page fundraising page through which donations can be made is:

http://bit.ly/dod-vcc4

Stay tuned — DoD will post updates when the challenge gets underway.

 

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!

 

 

 

Pet Chit Used to Treat Canine Parvovirus in one Military Family Dog: What This Medical Condition Is, and Meeting Maximus, The Pup Who Survived Parvo to Soldier On

Understanding Canine Parvovirus, Its Symptoms, and Preventing This Illness

Joshua Morris, United States Marine Corps and his wife, Chelsea adopted an adorable puppy named Maximus December, 2015.

Maximus, cured from canine parvovirus in January, 2016 thanks to the DoD Pet Chit Financial Assistance Program.
Maximus, cured from canine parvovirus in January, 2016 thanks to the DoD Pet Chit Financial Assistance Program.

What is Parvo?

Canine parvovirus type 2, referred to commonly as Parvo, is a contagious virus that can be life threatening in dogs. Parvo affects their intestinal tract and white blood cells. When puppies in particular are diagnosed with Parvo, the virus damages the heart muscle and can cause a debilitating cardiac problem. Parvo can be spread by any person, animal or object that has had either direct or indirect contact with an infected dog’s feces.

What Are the Symptoms of Parvo and Who Gets It?

Symptoms of Canine parvovirus include:

  • lethargy
  • severe vomiting
  • loss of appetite and
  • bloody, foul-smelling diarrhea that when left untreated can lead to severe dehydration.

Any or all of these factors together can possibly lead to shock, or death. Puppies younger than four months old are usually more susceptible to Parvo but dogs young and old alike who are not vaccinated against this illness are at risk. Parvo may infect other animals but people won’t get sick from it.

Maximus’ new owners, the Morris family, recognized within just days of adopting their puppy from the local humane society that something was very wrong. Maximus was lethargic, suffering from both diarrhea and vomiting and clearly not well.  Fearing that these symptoms might in fact be signs of Parvo, and knowing that Joshua Morris was committed to a PCS soon, the family immediately took their puppy to a veterinary clinic, where their suspicions over Parvo were sadly confirmed.

Treating Parvo

Treatment for Parvo is not 100% successful and is very costly. Affected dogs, like Maximus, typically are hospitalized for several days. There is no cure-all drug treatment therapy for Parvo; instead, dogs receive intensive care consisting of antibiotics, anti-vomiting medications and extensive intravenous fluids to bolster their immune system and regain strength.

Given the nearly prohibitive cost of treating Maximus’ illness, the Morris family called the humane society where they originally adopted the dog and discussed the problem. Fortunately, Brianne Youngberg of the Yuma Humane Society, a longtime supporter of Dogs on Deployment, and luckily, the representative who spoke with them over the phone, notified the Morris family about Dogs on Deployment and the organization’s ability to help active duty military members with their pets in the form of “pet chits” ” through our Pet Chit Financial Assistance Program. More on that later!

Preventing Parvo in the First Place

Simple vaccinations prevent Parvo from ever being a problem. Make sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations since they will protect her or him from a great number of illnesses and potentially make the difference between life and death. Discuss a proper vaccination schedule for your dog with a licensed veterinarian.

Remember earlier in Max’s story, we noted that even objects that come into contact with an infected dog’s feces can spread the Parvo virus. This potentially could mean:

  • dog toys, pool toys
  • food and water dishes and bowls
  • baskets, bedding, kennels and crates
  • dog collars, leashes, clothing, etc.

Consider everything that your dog can get into in and around the home and yard. If you don’t properly clean and disinfect these things, Parvo could potentially remain present on surfaces and in the environment for months. In some cases, you may want to consider throwing away disposable items altogether and starting fresh.

After your dog is free of infection, sanitize and clean your home and surroundings as best as possible. No sanitation method is fool proof against Parvo but some solution of bleach and water should help. Consult with your veterinary provider for recommendations. Remember too, that prompt and proper disposal of feces is critical to limit the spread of Parvo. When outdoors with an untrained or rambunctious puppy, be certain when he or she tries to greet another dog that you avoid any contact with that dog’s feces.

RIP Mahina Baclig

In some cases, Parvo is deadly. This was the unfortunate truth for a seven-week old pup named Mahina, adopted by Ben and Stephani Baclig. Benedict Baclig is a member of the United States Marine Corps. After excessive vomiting and displaying other worrisome symptoms, little Mahina was brought to the vet for emergency care where they confirmed that she had the Parvo virus. The Baclig family reached out to Dogs on Defense for a Pet Chit.

Despite intensive treatments and everyone’s best efforts, the dog passed away after three days. There is no question that Parvo is a serious disease worthy of attention. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Baclig family.

Patient Follow Up for Maximus

Dogs on Deployment granted an award to help pay for Max’s treatment; we are happy to now report that Maximus is better and doing very well!

Maximus, cured from Parvo, and acting like himself again!
Maximus, cured from Parvo, and acting like himself again!

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We talked with the Morris family about their difficult ordeal.

How is Maximus feeling these days?

Maximus is doing amazing! He’s been Parvo free for four months now and has just been the happiest and most energetic puppy. To our knowledge, there are no long term effects from the Parvo virus.

Was there anything that could have done been done differently to avoid Maximus getting Parvo in the first place?

No, not to our knowledge. Just as with any puppy, we were informed of his risk when we adopted him although Maximus had yet to show any signs of the disease. Unfortunately, Parvo can take a few weeks to kick in during which time dogs are asymptomatic.

Our advice is that owners should be health conscious and careful with their puppies when taking them to dog parks at such a young age. Without all necessary preventive shots pups are at risk of becoming infected with a number of diseases. Familiarize yourself with Parvo and be aware of what to look for. We got lucky and were able to catch it early enough so that we could help prevent Maximus’ dehydration and demise.

What lessons did you both learn from this experience?

The biggest lesson we learned was the importance of taking action quickly once Maximus started acting abnormally. We recognized that vomiting and diarrhea together with refusal to eat or drink any liquid was disastrous. At first we went and bought clear Pedialyte and started using a syringe to force it down his throat. Desperate to help, we then mashed up wet dog food with some water and tried to syringe-feed him that combination. Our next decision was to get Maximus to the vet ASAP.

Another very important lesson is that when you live in a warm weather climate year round the Parvo virus doesn’t have time to die off.  We would just tell people to be aware of this risk when adopting puppies from a shelter or pound in a warm weather climate. But this experience certainly has not deterred us from adopting again. We couldn’t imagine a world without the Yuma Humane Society!

Anything else to add?

Thank y’all so much! This was a great help. My wife Chelsea and I want to express our appreciation for the help that was provided. This has truly been a blessing, and we remain grateful for the efforts of Dogs on Deployment and its Pet Chit Financial Assistance Program.

Good boy, Maximus, good boy!
Good boy, Maximus, good boy!

The Importance of Charitable Donations to the DoD Pet Chit Program & How to Get Help When You’re in Need

Thanks to voluntary donations, the Dogs on Defense Pet Chit Financial Assistance Program has provided over $200K since 2011. The DoD funds its’ Pet Chit Program by using a portion of donations for qualifying military members for help with pet care during times of need.

A Pet Chit Award may be given pre-deployment, or in a time of emergency such as an unexpected illness or injury, 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 Pet Chit 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. You’ll be helping military pets like Banjo receive the necessary care they need.

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.

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Veteran’s Dog Needs Life-Saving Treatment

We’re reaching out with an urgent appeal to help us save the life of Rocky, a dog adopted to a veteran in 2013 through Pets for Patriots, our partner in saving at-risk shelter pets by adopting them to military families.

Rocky

Rocky has been diagnosed with a stage three fibrous tissue sarcoma, deeply embedded under his left eye and extending forward to the left jaw. His adopted mom, Mary, is an Army veteran who sought multiple consults with leading veterinary oncologists to determine the best course of action for her beloved dog.

“Since August 9, 2013 I have not felt alone, been lonely or clinically depressed. Rocky is the best antidepressant ever! If I could have even two more years of his unconditional love, it would be well worth ten times the money.”

All of the options presented to Mary were bad to worse; each involved expensive and invasive surgery to remove significant portions of his jaw and possibly his left eye as well, in addition to aggressive radiation which would cause his skin to degenerate.

But there is hope!

Mary took Rocky to an oncologist specializing in radiosurgery, a non-invasive way to deliver targeted radiation with precision similar to a surgical procedure, minimizing negative impacts to surrounding healthy tissue. The oncologist estimates up to a two-year survival time, but Rocky the Magnificent needs surgery right away. He is scheduled for a CAT scan on April 16 and his first radiosurgery session the following week.

This surgery will change Rocky’s prognosis from mere months to as much as two years.

The estimated cost of the procedure, and related tests, medication and follow up visits is $8,700, which includes a generous discount in recognition of Mary’s service. Mary herself has already spent thousands for various consultations and this would leave her financially – and emotionally – bereft.

That’s where Dogs on Deployment and Pets for Patriots are teaming up. Together, we’re fundraising to cover the costs of Rocky’s treatment, giving his quality time with his veteran, he otherwise wouldn’t have.

Your donations to our Pet Chit Program, which has granted over $202,000 in financial grants to military families, matter for pets like Rocky and veterans like Mary. Please give to help provide life saving treatment to Rocky.

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Story was originally posted here at Pets for Patriots’ Wet Nose Blog.

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!”

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“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