Caring for our furry friends and family members is some of the most rewarding hard work a person can do. Anybody that thinks otherwise has probably never known the joys of a big, ol’ doggie nuzzle or rubbing a purring kitty’s tummy. Trust us, it’s the best. And if you’re the kind of person who’s got a whole lot of love they’d like to share with animals, there are some special pets out there that need attention. And you should consider fostering military pets. Because there are a lot of them out there that need your help for weeks and months at a time.
Why These Pets Need Fostering
Life in the military includes plenty of hardships. And few are so hard, regular, and universal as the constant cycles of overseas deployments. These come up like clockwork and typically last from six months to a year or more. And that’s not even counting things like multi-month field exercises or short term temporary duty (TDY) postings. So it’s all too common that military personnel need to leave their beloved pets in the care of others for long stretches of time.
Organizations That Foster Military Pets
A lot of personnel who deploy may end up putting their pets in the care of friends and family. In fact, you may be the friend or relation a military loved one is planning on leaving their pet with. Good for you, give ‘em a pet for us. But being that lucky is far from the only way to care for a military pet while their service member is deployed.
We’ve mentioned this great organization when we discussed some Amazing Non-Profits Helping Dogs. And the PACT Military Foster Program is always worth bringing up when talking about military pets. They screen and match potential fosterers with military personnel and their pets in need. They also facilitate consistent and regular contact, from videos to Facebook messages between the pets, their owners, and their temporary caretakers for however long the separation lasts.
Dogs on Deployment
Here’s another one we understandably included in our dog non-profit article. Founded by a dual-military husband and wife, Dogs on Deployment is run by folks who know firsthand the difficulty of leaving a pet behind when the military sends you away. A foster and military pet advocacy program set up along similar lines to PACT’s, they want nothing more than to keep your beloved critter happy and healthy. And don’t let the name fool you, they cater to cats and canines alike.
Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pets
Another big organization aimed at helping all fuzzy and fluffy family members in the military community. Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pets runs a widespread Pet Foster Home program across all 50 states and every branch of service. If you’re headed out on a combat, peacekeeping, or humanitarian deployment, these wonderful people and their approved foster homes will keep a loving eye on your pet while you do your duty.
Yet another one we touched on before, American Humane is one of the biggest and most widespread animal advocacy groups in the world. And information they provide on Fostering Military Pets is just one of several military initiatives they run. They themselves don’t run an in-house fostering program, but they offer up great advice and pointers on how to do it and do it right.
Obviously loving animals is the main asset you need to foster a military pet. But there are some other steps you must go through and things you must have to do the job right. The individual organizations have their own processes to apply (see the links below), but in general you’ll need the following:
- Understanding of the care a particular species or breed of pet requires.
- Necessary items to care for and manage that pet (leash, food/water bowl, crate, cat/dog toys, etc.)
- Ability and willingness to communicate regularly with the pet’s deployed owner.
- Contact with a local veterinarian who knows what you’re planning to do.
- Guaranteed time and space you can provide the fostered pet for however long their service member expects to be gone.
Where to Register to Foster Military Pets
Fostering a military pet is a big responsibility, no matter how short the period of time or well-behaved the dog, cat, or other. But there’s no better way to simultaneously support troops overseas while caring for an adorable animal. And, given that those are two things pretty much everybody loves doing, it’s a wonder everybody isn’t clamoring to do it. If you’ve got what it takes, then we say spread the love and give out some much-needed scratches between the ears.