Tag Archives: military pets

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!

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Amanda

At Dogs on Deployment, the only thing we love as much as animals, is the people who take care of them. That’s why we like to tell you about the volunteers who make us tick! This month, let’s talk about Amanda Beck, our Rhode Island Coordinator since 2014.

amanda dog 3Amanda, is an IT project manager by day, and a bridal consultant by night. But, her passion for both the military and animals is what drives her to volunteer with Dogs on Deployment. Her boyfriend, Josh is in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, both her grandfathers were in the Navy, and she grew up with a lot of military influence in her family. She says she “understands the sacrifices our service members make.”

Additionally, her cousin, Lt Michael Patrick Murphy was killed in action, in 2005. He received the Medal of Honor, posthumously. She says that he was her motivation behind her search for a “worthy military organization that I could dedicate my life to.”

amanda dog1 copyPlus, she grew up with dogs. She has a 10-year-old bichon/schnauzer mix named Bubba, and a 10-year-old American Eskimo/Cocker Spaniel mix named Pepper, who live with her parents on Long Island. She shares a rescue named Mara, a 9 month-old German Shepard/Lab Mix, with her boyfriend.

She says that growing up with dogs, she knows that there is nothing more unconditional than the love of an animal. “They were my best friends, my protectors and my sunshine on bad days.” Also, she says, “I see pets as family, not just animals.”

Amanda says that when her cousin was killed in action, there was a lot of publicity surrounding his death. As she sought places to volunteer her time, she says that she had a hard time finding respectable organizations that didn’t take more money than they gave.

amanda dog2When she found Dogs on Deployment, she was immediately impressed with DoD’s 100% volunteer force, their image, their mission, and their financial reports. She describes herself as “honored” and “privileged” to be a part of Dogs on Deployment. And you can’t blame her, not with special memories like her first event with DoD: Dogapalooza.

“While I was chatting with a woman and her husband about what we do, another lady came running out of nowhere, tears in her eyes and gave me this huge hug. She told me that we were the reason that her son was able to keep his dog.” The woman went on to tell Amanda that her son’s dog had been a life-saver for her son, that he’d suffered PTSD, and the dog had been vital to his recovery. Amanda has come to realize how important her work really is.

“It was at that point [that] I realized how impactful DoD has already been in the few short years it has existed. Knowing that, because of DoD, a soldier and his dog are still both living a happy life together makes me feel so good about what I do,” says Amanda.

Amanda encourages anyone, and everyone, to get involved with Dogs on Deployment, whether through their local chapter, or through fostering. “There are so many opportunities to volunteer,” she says. “Find the ones that fit you best!” She says to talk to your local coordinator and find out what they need and you’ll be amazed at how you can help.

Emergency Pet Boarding: Did you Know?

Every year, disaster strikes various parts of the country. Tornado alley during storm season. Hurricanes along the Eastern Seaboard. And, with weather getting more and more violent and unpredictable, it’s only smart to be prepared.

12065612_866507023418556_1625893803527395919_nOne of the parts of the country often hit hardest with disaster is California. Between earthquakes and wildfires, animals can easily be displaced, due to disaster.

We have written about emergency preparedness before, but did you know that, as a military member, displaced by emergency, you can post your pet for emergency fostering?

Register your pet with Dogs on Deployment, and find a safe place for your pet if you’ve ever been displaced for any reason.

Bailey: Another “Tail” of a Successful Pet Chit!

Everyone knows that Dogs on Deployment is there for service members when they need to find a safe, happy home when they are deployed. But, did you know that we are there for other things? For example, did you know that we can help provide financial assistance for veterinary care, or for emergencies?

Bailey 4When Adam and Rachel Revolinski were attending the Yellow Ribbon Program they ran across our organization. Dogs on Deployment was there to explain the services we provide to soldiers and veterans alike. Having just added a new puppy, Bailey, to their family, they were eager to find out how Dogs on Deployment might be able to help.

Once they got the chance to learn more about how we help those in the military provide for their animals while they serve our country, both were very impressed, especially for single pet owners. “It is hard to say goodbye to your pet during a deployment for several months,” Rachel said. “But to know that you could provide the with a good home while you’re away is a good feeling.”

Bailey 1Remembering Dogs on Deployment’s services is why, when they needed financial assistance to get Bailey spayed, they turned to Dogs on Deployment. They applied for the Pet Chit Financial Aid, and after filling out the necessary forms, Adam and Rachel were granted the money to pay for Bailey’s procedure.

After the procedure, Bailey recovered quickly. Rachel said that they did their best to keep their puppy calm so that they wouldn’t have to put the “white cone of shame” on her, but in the end, Bailey’s energy couldn’t be contained, and they had to concede. As it turns out, Bailey looked adorable in the cone, anyway!

These days, Bailey is growing up. She’s 65 pounds, and not done yet. She is energetic, but loving and gentle, and she surprises the Revolinskis everyday with her silliness.

Bailey 2Rachel recalls how when Bailey was younger, she was scared of loud noises, such as the icemaker. She would eye the untrustworthy refrigerator with trepidation, anytime Rachel went to it for ice. One day, she gave Bailey an ice cube after a particularly long walk, and she absolutely loved it. Now, whenever Rachel goes to get ice, Bailey is quickly ready to accept an ice cube of her own!

There are many services Dogs on Deployment provides for pet owners in the military, besides helping find homes for pets while you are deployed. We offer services such as Pet Chit Financial Aid that can help military families pay for their pet’s medical care.

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We are able to help pets like Bailey thanks to our partnership with Pet’s Best Insurance. Reach out to us if you think we can help in any way, and we will do our best to match your needs with our services. Every animal counts!

Volunteer Boarders Featured on Local News!

Georgetown, Texas couple, Rhonda and Mike Collins, a volunteer pet-foster couple,  just got a little more famous. Their story has just been featured on local, KVUE news.

They have been fostering Ryan Watson’s two amazing dogs, Lexi and Brewski, while he’s in Kuwait. They are looking forward to his return, in August, eager for an emotional and exciting reunion.

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To see the adorable pups, and get a feeling for what it’s like to be a volunteer foster family for our men and women in uniform, check out KVUE’s story and video!

When Children Inspire Us

Brendan Meerdink is unique young man who at 5 years old has planned out this campaign to raise money for his two favorite things: Soliders and Dogs.
Brendan Meerdink is unique young man who at 5 years old has planned out this campaign to raise money for his two favorite things: Soliders and Dogs.

It always amazes me to see young kids recognize the need to do good in the world, and then take action. Such is the case for five-year old, Brendan Meerdink. After seeing an ad on the TV for CustomInk’s Booster campaign, an online fundraising site which raises money through the sale of t-shirts, Brendan got to thinking, he should start a fundraiser for something he cares about. His mother, whom Brendan had almost recently lost due to health complications, saw an opportunity to teach Brendan about the true meaning of selfless and caring.

Brendan began naming things that he cared about and would like to raise money for. Brendan has a sensory processing disorder, but that hasn’t stopped him from being an intelligent and caring young man. He is able to focus his attentions on his love for animals, and currently lives with his two best friends, a Norweigan Elkhound and Yorkie. He loves the military and he is a complete animal-lover, so many of his choices centered around either military organizations, or animal organization. Then his mother remembered seeing Dogs on Deployment on Facebook and showed Brendan our organization’s website. Brendan, excited that our group brought together his love for the military and his love for animals, began screaming and jumping up and down with joy.

Brendan begun his fundraiser after his kindergarten spring break and now has 4-days to go. He’s trying to sell 50 military-dog inspired, green t-shirts to help raise money for Dogs on Deployment. We hope our fans will not only love his design, but show a great deal of respect for a kid that understands generosity and love. So help make his dream come true, and check out his Booster campaign here!

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