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.
By Carmel Cafiero, 7News
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.
By Bree Steffen
Reposted from KFOR.com
OKLAHOMA CITY â€“ Military members face many problems during their career. The last problem they want to worry about is what to do with their beloved pet when it is time for them to deploy. Many of these men and women have limited to no options for their pets when they have to go overseas, forcing them to give a family pet to shelters when they have nowhere else to go.
Nicholas Shelley and his wife Terissa are both active duty and own two dogs named Mica and Meeka. Soon both of them are leaving Tinker Air Force Base on Temporary Duty Assignments, leaving their dogs with nowhere to go.
â€œIt`s still forcing us to sell the house. We don`t really have a home for the pets right now.â€ Nicholas said.
Nicholas will be gone 7-8 months. Terissa will be gone 2-3 months.
After their assignments are up, the couple, their young son Liam, and their dogs are relocating to Moody Air Force Base in Georgia. Liam will be staying with Terissaâ€™s parents in Missouri, but they are still looking for a safe place to leave Mica and Meeka.
â€œA friend of mine actually referred me to Dogs On Deployment just basically so I can find a temporary home for my pets, hopefully.â€ Nicholas said.
Dogs On Deployment is a national non-profit. It provides a central online database that lets service members search for individuals and families who want to welcome a pet into their home for the length of the ownerâ€™s deployment.
Within a few weeks of registering, a company out of Pennsylvania who supports Dogs On Deployment contacted Nicholas.
â€œIt just shows how the Dogs On Deployment website can find you resources from anywhere as long as you`re willing to get your animals there.â€ Nicholas said.
Nicholas would prefer to leave Mica and Meeka in Oklahoma until they can move to Georgia, but says he will ship his dogs to Pennsylvania if it means they will be taken care of.
Supporting our troops by boarding their pets is a small price to pay for those who give so much more. â€œIt`s a sacrifice we have to make but not one I`d like to make all the time.â€ Nicholas said. Nicholas leaves in 10 days.