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    Your pet and your deployment

    Your pet and your deployment

    Courtesy Photo | Deploying military members need to remember to set up care plans for their pets when...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. William Hill 

    Camp Atterbury Indiana

    CAMP ATTERBURY JOINT MANEUVER TRAINING CENTER, Ind. — Deploying military members are prepared to pack their bags and leave their friends and family to accomplish their mission, and there are many programs to help military members' families during a deployment but what about their four-legged friends?

    Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet can keep service members' pets from being abandoned or given to a shelter.

    Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet is a non-profit organization made up of all volunteers who assist our service members by locating foster homes for their pets while they are deployed, training or experiencing an emergency or financial hardship.

    Linda Spurlin-Dominik, chief executive officer of Angels, said the organization was formed in January 2005 after the founders learned that troops across the country had pets that needed a loving and safe home during their deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and other designated combat areas.

    "Soldiers had no options with their pets and had to turn over their pet's ownership to shelters and rescue groups across the country," said Spurlin-Dominik.

    Nationally, the organization has approximately 800 potential foster homes and 55 foster pets, said Spurlin-Dominik.

    Additionally, Angels lend support for emergency services such as transportation request, boarding needs and veterinarian care, said Spurlin-Dominik.

    Jamie Shively, vice president of Angels and the Indiana state coordinator said the organization has every kind of pet.

    "We have a majority of dogs and cats but we have helped horses and birds," Shively said.

    "Service members consider their pets as kids or best friends, so to be able to assist them by getting their pets into a foster home so they do not have to surrender them to a shelter or a rescue organization is just absolutely great," said Shively.

    Army Sgt. Donietta McPowell, a Frankfort, Ky., native with the B Company 2nd Battalion 147 Aviation Regiment training here, said she would have used the program if her parents were not able to provide a home for her pet.

    "I had no idea programs like that existed. I will inform all my [fellow Soldiers] back home," said McPowell.

    Chief Warrant Officer 2 Travis Rogers, a maintenance test pilot, also with the 147 Aviation Regiment, said he too would use the services if he had no one to turn to.

    "If I was single I would differently have used the program."

    To get started, the service member, family of a deployed hero, or veteran with a need for a safe home for their beloved pet needs to request services either through the Web site, or call (501) 325-1591 to begin the process of locating a temporary home for the pet.

    Spurlin-Dominik said once registered and a foster home has been selected, a written agreement is prepared between the pet owner, the foster home, and a representative, approved by the organization, to reach agreement on the cost of living for pet, and duration of time the pet will stay with the foster home.

    "The organization does not charge any fees but the military pet owner will be responsible for any veterinarian bills and food cost for the pet, which would basically be the same if they were not deployed," said Spurlin-Dominik, adding that some foster homes do not charge for pet food.

    Once an agreement has been made the foster home will take custody of the pet or pets until the service member returns home.



    Date Taken: 08.20.2009
    Date Posted: 08.20.2009 19:37
    Story ID: 37762
    Location: CAMP ATTERBURY, IN, US

    Web Views: 683
    Downloads: 570