When our military deploys to fight the global war on terrorism (combat or peace-keeping mission), they often leave behind family members: including furry ones and can cause heartache if they are not cared for during deployment.
According to Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet founder, Linda Spurlin-Dominik, this challenge often leaves the military pet owner with only one option; relinquish their beloved pets and pet ownership rights to a shelter or rescue group, never to see them again, including not knowing if they were placed in a new home or ended up being euthanized because no one adopted them due to age, temperament, breed, or shelter overcrowding to name a few. That is where Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet come in.
Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet assists military pet owners deploying to harm's way by locating and placing these beloved pets into caring, loving, and safe individual foster homes, so the pets can be reunited with their owners following a deployment to harm's way. In addition, where resources are available the organization assists families with a deployed or wounded loved one and our veterans needing our assistance due to an unforeseen emergency situation impacting their ability to retain their pet ownership rights.
Spurlin-Dominik stated, “Our military service members sacrifice so much for our country that by providing safe homes for their pets is our way of giving back to those who defend and protect our country and freedoms. It is our hope that through the programs/services available to deploying to harm's way branches of service across the country, we can reduce some the anxiety and uncertainty of deployment plus, at the same time, say “Thank You” for their service and sacrifice."
According to Spurlin-Dominik, the organization does not charge the pet owner a "fee" for the services nor do they ask them for donations in order to provide these services. The only thing they ask is that the pet owner be responsible for costs related to their pets' care (food, treats, medications, and necessary vet care) with the exception where the approved foster home wants to cover the food/treats cost. In addition, the foster homes do not receive any compensation for opening their heart and homes and only to accept monies from the pet owner as defined in the organization's written agreement as a protection for all parties involved (pet owner, foster home caregiver, and the organization). As a result, deployed pet owners are able to retain pet ownership rights and receive progress reports on how their pets are doing, which helps them cope with the stress of deployment and concentrate on the mission at hand.
Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet was founded during January 2005 with an affiliated MN chapter and state management teams across the country assisting our deploying military service members with locating and placing their pets in foster homes registered as part of their national foster home network. Besides their foster home program and a dedicated fund known as Military Pet Assistance (MPA) to assist with expenses in unforeseen emergency situations during the foster time, the organization is raising funds to establish the first "Military & Veterans Pet" (MVP) sanctuary planned to be located in TX (between Fort Hood/Killeen and Austin) to further ensure they are able to provide a caring, loving, and safe home-like environment where an individual foster home is not available when needed.
As of November 2009 there are 97 pets in foster homes through the organization and 62 pets have been reunited with their owners across the country.
How can a Military Service Member contact the organization regarding help? Visit the organization's website (www.guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org) and click on the “Submit-A-Pet” link to learn more about our foster home program and submit the requested information pertaining to their situation and their beloved pet(s).
How can I help? Those individuals, businesses, and other organizations interested in learning more about the organization and ways they can help may do so by visiting www.guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org and click on "How Can I Help" link. Those interested in learning more about the MVP Sanctuary project and how they can help can visit www.MVPSanctuary.org.