Air Force First Sergeant Reunited with Rocco and Rogue

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LADSON, SC (WCSC) -Â Many military men and women are often forced to give away their pets when they deploy. However, there’s a program helping to make sure that doesn’t happen.

After half a year serving overseas, U.S. Air Force First Sergeant Tiffany Robinson is home safe and reunited with her two dogs.

“I thought they were gonna forget me, but they didn’t,” said Robinson

Six months ago, Robinson found out she was being deployed to Africa.

“You took the oath to serve, protect and defend the country,” said Robinson. “So, you have to deploy. There’s no other option.”

Robinson said she was excited to go, but had one big concern.

“I was just kinda at my wits end and I was like ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do with my dogs, I want someone who can care for them, who can love them’,” said Robinson.

A friend told Robinson about Dogs on Deployment, a national non profit organization that connects service members with families who are willing to care for pets while their owners are deployed.

“It’s so important just because no military member wants to have to give up their pets to do their job,” said Darrah, Dogs on Deployment volunteer.

Through the program, Robinson was connected with Darrah, a military wife living in Ladson. Darrah said she knows first hand about the stresses that come with deployment.

“I know how hard it is,” said Darrah. “For me, this was an easy, simple thing to do to help out.”

At no cost to Robinson, Darrah and her family took in Rocco and Rogue while she was away. Darrah said they receive no money from the program. They pay for food and care while hosting the pets.

“Its all kindness of the heart,” said Darrah.

That kindness is something that Robinson is overcome with gratitude for. Robinson said coming home from deployment is an adjustment and it’s much easier to do with her two dogs that she lovingly calls her “kids.”

“It’s priceless, there are no words,” said Robinson. “They’re like my family here, since I don’t have any family in Charleston.”

Both families said the hardest part of the reunion was having to separate Rocco and Rogue from Darrah’s dogs. They’ve all gotten very attached to each other. But Robinson said she’ll be back to visit soon.

Dogs on Deployment was founded in 2011 and so far nearly 500 pets have been taken care through the program.

You can find more information about dogs on deployment on their website.

Copyright WCSC 2014. All rights reserved.

Kevin and Indigo Reunited through Dogs on Deployment

By GENE PATTERSON, 6 News Anchor/Reporter (ABC Wate)

KODAK (WATE) – We often think of military families who are separated from their loved ones when they deploy.

It turns out – there is a group out there that can help.

Air Force Major Kevin Cook was helped by the non-profit known as “Dogs on Deployment.”

It was a special night on Tuesday at the Tennessee Smokies Stadium for Major Cook, the Asheville, North Carolina native who was reunited with his pets, Ruby and Indigo after a 5 month absence.

The dogs have been cared for during the Major’s overseas deployment by Katie Brown. She made sure Major Cook kept in touch with his dogs.

“We were able to send him photos, Facebook him and also send him some videos,” said Katie Brown, Knoxville Coordinator for Dogs on Deployment.

Dogs on Deployment is a national non-profit that uses volunteers to care for the pets of military men and women who have commitments elsewhere in the world.

“If you’re one who wants to help your troops and love your dogs we actually bring that together. You can help board those pets for your troops,” said Brown.

Dogs on Deployment was founded in 2011 by pet owners Alisa and Shawn Johnson, who realized the need for foster care when both were deployed. To date more than 450 dogs have found temporary homes through Dogs on Deployment.

Major Cook said the group was exactly what he needed.

“There’s just not a lot of support network for dogs in the military,” said Major Cook.

Through Dogs on Deployment, Cook had one less thing to worry about during his overseas stay. And the occasional message and photos he says broke the boredom.

“It’s a great program I can’t say enough about them. There for a long time that service wasn’t there, and I couldn’t believe it when I looked online and there was something out there for this. It’s a wonderful program and hope it continues to grow and will do what I can to support it,” said Major Cook.

Airman Reunited with Dogs After Deployment

Dogs on Deployment Helps Devil

Dogs chew. Anyone who has ever had a dog knows this simple fact of canine nature; and, if you’re lucky, you ended up with a dog that knows to only chew toys. Still, when dogs behave, and only chew their toys, sometimes something goes wrong. Strings, and seemingly innocent bits of fluff and fabric can make their way into your dog’s gut. Most of the time, they pass, unnoticed, until they are found decorating the yard. Sometimes though, these bits of string can loop themselves in knots around your dog’s stomach and intestines, causing life-threatening blockages.

It was just this type of scary situation that sent Giacomo and Rhiannon rushing to the emergency vet with their dog, a year and a half year old Lab named Devil. He’d stopped eating and drinking for several days, and was persistently vomiting, all sure signs of an intestinal blockage. The images were unclear, but the vet felt sure that it was probably a string. The vet recommended operating immediately, and the concerned pet parents thought that it seemed a logical course of action, as a tiny string, almost impossible to see on an X-ray made perfect sense for Devil, a dog prone to tear apart his stuffed toys. Without hesitating, they paid the mandatory, up-front, expensive surgery fee.

Devil: how could this innocent face chew and destroy?
Devil: how could this innocent face chew and destroy?

“Devil is basically our child. We both love him so much that we would do anything for him,” Rhiannon says, about agreeing to the costly operation. “When he had to have emergency surgery, we had no choice but to say yes because it’s what the vet said would help him and we just wanted him better.”

Unfortunately, it didn’t help Devil. After the $3600 surgery, which maxed out their credit cards, Devil was miserable, in more pain than before, and very dehydrated. Worst of all, the surgeon didn’t find a string; the vet concluded that whatever was upsetting Devil’s stomach must have simply passed on its own

Maxing out their cards was a financial burden to the couple, and they were only able to make the $75 minimum payment each month, which barely made a dent in the amount they owed. When it seemed like they’d never be able to recover their finances, a friend suggested they contact Dogs on Deployment and request assistance through the Pet Chit program.

The Dogs on Deployment Pet Chit program provides financial assistance to military members E-6, and below. It can be used to assist in basic veterinary care, including spay and neuter surgeries, pre-deployment health-care, travel and PCS related expenses, emergency care, and more. Giacomo and Rhiannon applied for a Pet Chit and contacted Alisa Johnson, president of Dogs on Deployment, who, through fundraising, Â raised $1300, applied directly to their vet bill.

“Dogs on Deployment took a huge weight off of our shoulders helping to pay some of the bill,” Rhiannon says of the contribution, “I’m forever grateful to them for caring as much about Devil as we do.”

Alisa Johnson, president of Dogs on Deployment, adds “we are so happy to be able to help Rhiannon and Giacomo.”

Now, Devil is back to his healthy, happy self.

The Happy Family: Giacomo, Rhiannon and Devil
The Happy Family: Giacomo, Rhiannon and Devil

Rhiannon says, “I would have done it all again because our dog is seriously our baby,” but “I wish we had known about what you guys do before…from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for this help…Between getting donations for owners and finding temporary fosters, what you guys do is amazing. Thank you so much.”

Sgt Juan Valdez Talks Dogs on Deployment

Reposted from MyFoxBoston

Sgt Juan Valdez, a Marine combat-veteran and owner of Midas, a PTS Service Dog, and Dogs on Deployment’s 2014 Military Pet of the Year and DoD Mascot, has his first public appearance with Fox 25 Boston News where he talks about his experiences, the help Midas gives and how Dogs on Deployment is making a difference.

A Great Dane Finds Loving Care in Miami

By Carmel Cafiero, 7News

WSVN-TV – 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Our military men and women are used to sacrificing the comforts of home while deployed, but what if one of those comforts is a beloved pet? One organization is making sure those furry family members are cared for while our heroes are fighting for freedom.

WSVN — Those who serve our country too often make the ultimate sacrifice. Those who come home after battle also sacrifice losing time with loved ones.

Who hasn’t been touched by the emotional homecomings? Husbands, wives and children waiting with open arms to welcome their heroes home. And right beside the families are the pets that were also left behind.

Denisse Medina: “That’s my baby. I had him since he was 2 months, he’s 2 and a half.”

Army reservist Denisse Medina loves her Great Dane Bronx, and he goes wherever she goes. But then the Army came calling for a training exercise, she knew she couldn’t take her Bronx with her.

Denisse Medina: “My mom couldn’t take care of him. It’s a big dog, small place. My dad doesn’t really like dogs and the boarding was charging, here in Miami, they’re like $35 to $55 a night.”

That’s when some unexpected help arrived.

Grace Skinner: “It was fun, I enjoyed having him, he was an excellent dog. He was so well behaved.”

Grace Skinner kept Bronx while Denisse was away at training. She is a volunteer with Dogs on Deployment, a program that helps find temporary homes for pets of military members who are called to duty.

It’s one less worry for soldiers who might otherwise have to give up their pets.

Denisse Medina: “It’s sad when a soldier has to put away a dog or let go of a dog because they have nobody to take care of it.”

It’s a nationwide effort that is also taking hold right here in South Florida.

Grace Skinner: “We can support you, and we will support you. There’s a whole army of people out here that want to support the military.”

Dogs on Deployment was created by military members, for military members, and it couldn’t happen without the volunteers who open their homes and hearts to foster pets.

Grace Skinner: “It was nice having somebody around and it was nice feeling that you were supporting someone in the military.”

Nearly 500 military pets have been put in volunteer homes thanks to Dogs on Deployment. And thanks to social media, even while military members are deployed, they can see their pets.

Denisse Medina: “It’s good to know that, when your boarder is posting pictures on Facebook, you get to see that he’s at a good home, he’s happy. I think that’s the prize.”

Volunteers for Dogs on Deployment have one goal: to take away one worry for those who risk their lives to protect ours.