It doesn't matter how many times I see it, but every time I witness a story about the warm reunions between those serving our country and their human family members, it gets me down deep. As a mother, I have the utmost respect and admiration for those that answer their country's call and are able to leave their families behind to protect and serve. I honestly don't think I could do it.
But what about the pets that are left behind? Ever wonder what happens to all those pets whose owners are deployed overseas for extend periods of time with the military?
All members of our US military go above and beyond in their service to our country, but I was told recently about someone extraordinary who extends that service to the well-being of military pets as well. Through her organization, Dogs on Deployment (DoD), Alisa Johnson matches military pet families with foster families needing homes.
According to its website, "Dogs On Deployment is a 501(c)(3) national non-profit which provides a central online database for service members to search for individuals or families who are willing to welcome a Dog On Deployment into their home for the length of their owner's deployment." Having placed animals with over 200 families, Alisa and DoD also rescue animals and assist with medical issues and spay/neuter costs.
Alisa is currently training in Texas to fly C130 planes, while her husband, Shawn, is on active duty in the US Navy. Although they are separated physically, that doesn't stop Alisa from finding ways to connect. "Despite our physical separation, we are connected to each other through our passion in helping improve the military community, specifically in the aspect of pet ownership," states Alisa.
In honor of her work with DoD on behalf of military pets, Alisa has been nominated for the Military Spouse of the Year award. We encourage you to vote for her before the end of the day today, February 5th, when voting closes.
You can find out more information about Alisa's nomination and vote for Alisa today only here.
DoD is also working to standardize military pet policies with breed neutrality in private housing, access to pet education on military bases, stronger consequences for military pet cruelty/abandonment and to have the military create an overarching pet policy. Check out their Change.org petition to the Department of Defense.
Too often, we take for granted both the large and the small sacrifices made by those serving in our armed forces. While we must always strive to celebrate those who put their lives on the line for our safety, we must always be aware of the toll that sacrifice takes on our four-legged companions as well.