Having a pet can be very important to military families. Our pets give us an anchor through many moves and deployments. For me, my dog especially gave me a sense of security; she was my watch dog! But, unfortunately, having pet and being a military family is not always easy. Military families have to consider many factors when getting a pet including housing breed restrictions, long deployments, and cost of moving their fur babies.
If you live in base housing or think you may in the future, you’ll want to check with housing before you adopt. Military housing has many rules on the types of pet you own along with breed restrictions. I hope one day housing will re-evaluate these restrictions because so many rescue dogs fall in these categories.
Another factor that military families have to deal with is deployments. For single family members who deploy, finding a foster family to look after their fur babies can be a challenge. I have even seen a servicemember looking for someone to care for his pet snake. Yikes! Dogs on Deployment is a great organization helping service members locate foster families for their pets. If you know of other organizations of this type, I would love for your to share them with me on our Facebook page.
Moving with your pet can be costly, whether it be across country or overseas. This is something to definitely think about when adopting a pet. The bigger the pet, the more the cost. If you will be moving your pet overseas, your best bet is to get in touch with your base installation veterinarian to inquire on what is required to get your pet overseas. These rules seem to change constantly, so getting up to date information from the right source is important. I have known of friends who have gotten all the necessary shots and blood tests done for their pets to only find out they did them too soon or too late. When I took my dog and cat to Guam, the vet here at MacDill was great and made sure my pets had all the necessary papers and shots to get to the island. Also, the vets office at Naval Base Guam and Andersen AFB were also helpful. Do your research! You will also need to consider the price of your pets airfare and boarding. Again, do your research check with the airlines on what they charge and require to ship your pet.
Owning a pet can be a great and stressful experience. Being a military family and owning a pet can be an even greater and stressful experience. To keep your stress down and be able to just enjoy your pet, do your research and use the resources available to you.
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