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Fostering Military Pets

Deployed service men and women's furry family.

When our military personnel deploy they leave behind their loved ones and face difficult decisions regarding their home and families. One of their concerns may be what will happen to a sometimes forgotten member of their family, their pets. What can they do to be sure that they are taken care of while they’re away and be sure that they will be reunited when they return? In the past, without any other options, pets were often left abandoned or sent to shelters. Fortunately, we now have alternatives.

The first and best option is to arrange for a pet to stay with a family member, friend or neighbor who can temporarily take care of them. But it may not be an option for military personnel stationed far from home. After 9/11 groups were established when thousands of service members were forced to give up their pets. Shelters and private groups like Military Pets FOSTER Project and Operation Noble Foster may be able to help place pets in temporary foster homes. Military may also be able to get assistance from their local base command.

Offering or finding foster homes for pets of deployed military personnel is a way to thank our soldiers and their families for their deep devotion and service to their country. If you’re unable to temporarily adopt and care for a pet a donation to one of the organizations who do provide such care is a nice alternative. Donations of pet supplies are always welcome too.

If leaving your pet with a caregiver there are a few things to remember to be sure that your pet is well cared for and you are reunited when you return.

  1. Write a pet care agreement. It should cover important issues such as what will happen to the pet if the temporary caregiver can no longer care for him, who is liable for an damage done by the pet, what will happen of the owner is unable to reclaim the pet, and what happens if the pet is injured or dies while in temporary care.
  2. Have copies of the pet’s health history, medications, temperament, eating and sleeping habits, training and any other important information the caregiver may need while you’re gone.
  3. Make sure the pet’s vaccinations are updated and proved the caretaker with the veterinary records along with the vets contact information.
  4. Tag the pet with all of the required rabies and license tags and make sure that all tags include the temporary caregiver’s contact information. Microchipping is a strongly recommended way to permanently identify your pet.
  5. Reach an agreement on how to handle expenses for food, toys, grooming, routine and emergency care and make arrangements on how to provide the necessary funds to the foster parent. It is always a good idea to spay or neuter your pet before leaving so that they don’t have the opportunity to breed while you’re gone.

People across the country are opening their hearts and doors to volunteer to foster pets as a way to say thank you to our military. Your service is appreciated and we will do what we can to keep your companion safe until you return home. Two organizations you may want to inquire into are Military Pets FOSTER Project and 4 Military Families.

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