MacDill Happenings

Things to do in and around MacDill AFB

Archive for the ‘Pets’

Pets And The Military Family

August 26, 2015 By: Laura Category: Military Life, Military Spouse, PCS Move, Pets, Travel No Comments →


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.

Cute happy reddish havanese puppy dog is looking out from a blue and gray pet crate, isolated on white background

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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photo credit: Placid Oliver via photopin (license)

Are You Prepared?

July 27, 2015 By: Laura Category: Military Life, Military Spouse, News, Pets, Self Improvement No Comments →

Is Your House Ready For A Hurricane?

With the weather we have been having the past week I keep thinking to myself “Are you prepared for a big storm?”. The answer at this time is “No!”. With our recent downsizing adventure, my disaster kit is not ready. Watching the news, I wonder how many other people are not prepared.

For example, the warning today to not let your children play in the flood waters blew me away. Why would you? It is more than likely full of sewage, snakes and maybe a stray shark!! (Sharknado reference!) With this in mind I think “Do these people have a disaster plan?”. If you do not have one or you are like me and have become unorganized, then keep reading to get going on that plan and kit!


I hope this will get you motivated to update or build your disaster/hurricane kit. Being prepared during bad weather is the best plan of action and if you are new to the area be warned the weather can change in an instant. That little bit of lightning and thunder can turn into a disaster in a matter of hours. Know your local weather stations and have batteries in your flashlights. A must for the MacDill AFB area is a battery operated radio, extra water, canned goods and some good flashlights! If you can afford it, a generator is a bonus!!

I have seen some great tips for your disaster kit from my fellow military spouses and my all time favorite is to pack a back pack for each member of the family including the pets. In these back packs have several bottles of water, snacks ,change of clothes and if possible any medication your family members might need. This is a great tip because if things get bad and you need to leave you will not necessarily have time or space to bring you large water bottles etc.. with you! Make sure all of your important papers and some cash are included in one of the back packs in a water tight bag. Please share with our readers any hurricane kit hints you have or have used. Just leave the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Please be careful and keep a watch on the weather during any storms!

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PCS Binder: Is Yours Move Ready?

July 06, 2015 By: Laura Category: children, Finances, Military Life, Military Spouse, PCS Move, Pets, Schools No Comments →

Stack of office folders isolated on white

Are you preparing for a PCS move to MacDill AFB or out of the area? If so, being prepared is your best bet to keeping your move stress free. One of the best tools you can have to keep you on track is a PCS binder. You may already be using this tool, and if so is your binder up to date? Check out these must haves for your PCS binder.

PCS Binder:

  • First, you need a binder. I actually use expandable file folders with a pocket designated for each subject. Many people use a binder with index tabs to divide each section.
  • Zip vinyl storage pocket to keep all receipts etc. in one place.
  • Several copies of your PCS orders. You will need these for multiple things. If you are traveling with your firebox or a secure safe, keep the original copy there along with passports, social security cards, and other valuables.
  • Your moving documents should have a designated area in your binder. Even though you will be using online resources at, you will want to have hard copies on hand.
  • Medical and dental records should also be kept in your binder for easy access. In our last move, our medical records were on a CD but our dental records were hard copy, so you may want to include a file compartment for CD’s
  • School records. Remember, if you or your spouse are attending school,get your records also. Don’t forget to get things such as girl scout, boy scout, dance, soccer, religious classes etc.. information to keep the kids on track when they get to their new home.
  • Do not forget the furry family members. Include their veterinary information in your binder. You will want to check what requirements are needed for transporting your pet. You may need to secure a health certificate when traveling across country. If you are traveling out of country, contact your local military base veterinarian to get your pets ready to move. Make sure you include your pet’s micro chip information in the binder.
  • Keep copies of all of your home search information. Make sure you have all the documents you need to buy or rent a home.
  • Lastly, include any copies of warranties you have for your vehicles such as lifetime tire repair.

I also included a copy of the route we were taking and all our travel information. You can include any information in your PCS binder you deem necessary to make your move smooth.

I would love for all of you to share with me what you include in your binder. Share photos and ideas here on the blog or on the MacDill Happenings Facebook page.

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photo credit: photo credit: @wolfelarry/Dollar Photo Club

Free PCS E-book: Go To Tool For Your Next Move

June 15, 2015 By: Laura Category: Finances, Military Life, Military Spouse, PCS Move, Pets No Comments →

 iStock_000002589393Medium house with boxes

Is a PCS move in your future? If so then you will need to take a look at the FREE PCS E-book. Learn all of the great tips the staff at MilitarybyOwner have shared in this free download. With over 15 years of experience helping military families with their real estate needs and the fact that most of the staff themselves are military dependents you can count on these tips to get you through your next PCS move.

The E-book shares tips on getting your home ready to sell or rent. The E-book also shares information on a key factor many of us forget when PCS’ing and that is setting a budget! This is a great tool to use along with your checklists to keep you on track during your PCS move.

Download your FREE PCS E-book here!

If you have received orders to the MacDill AFB area you will want to check out some of the great homes listed on the MacDill AFB base page of

If you will be leaving the area check out some of the other great resources available on moving such as moving with a pet, getting your vehicle move ready and what to expect with your pay check. The blog is loaded with great articles written by fellow military spouses.

Please share with out readers any great tips you may have on making a PCS move. Leave a comment in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

Are You Prepared? Hurricane Season 2015

May 11, 2015 By: Laura Category: Health, Military Life, Military Spouse, News, Pets, Self Improvement No Comments →

Are You Prepared?

The 2015 hurricane season begins on 1 June! Are your prepared? This is a great time to get prepared. It’s not a good idea to wait until a hurricane is headed to the MacDill AFB area to start assembling your disaster kit and plan. Being prepared is the best way to keep your family safe.

According to, this may be one of the least active storm seasons in years. That does not mean that one of the seven predicted storms could not cause severe damage here in the Tampa Bay area, so being prepared is a must.

Here are some ways to get prepared for the hurricane season.

  • You  want to pack a basic disaster supply kit to keep on hand not only for the hurricane season, but for any disasters that could occur. When packing your kit, make sure to include items for your pets and any extra guests that may need to evacuate to your home.
  •  Make a list of all the local agencies you may need to contact if a a disastrous storm should occur. Make sure to include the local emergency management office, the Red Cross, and your property insurance agent.
  • You’ll want to keep this information and all important legal documents along with medical cards etc.. in a water tight container with your disaster kit. You will want to include cash.
  • Plan a location other than home to meet if the family gets separated and going home is not an option.
  • Know the location of local shelters and if you have pets check to see which are pet friendly.
  • Know your children’s  school and daycare emergency plan.
  • Make sure to have copies of all prescriptions in your kit, and if you see a storm is a possibility get your prescriptions filled. This would also include your pets’ medications.
  • If you own a boat or water device, have a plan; and if you store these items at a facility make sure you know what policies are in place in regards to the care of your items.
  • Develop a plan that the entire family understands. You can download this Family Emergency Plan Worksheet to share with the family. Keep a copy in your disaster kit and maybe even in your car. Another great idea would be to take a photo of it and keep it as a file in your phone.
  • Know the FEMA guidelines for evacuating.
  • FEMA NOAA, the National Weather Service and Hillsborough County have a lots of great information on how to prepare for the up coming Hurricane season.
  • For those of you living in waterfront property or a flood zone, make sure your flood insurance is up to date.

Being prepared for the 2015 hurricane season will keep your stress level down should the MacDill AFB area be hit by one of the predicted storms. If you already have a disaster kit assembled, make sure you check that the items included are up to date. Here is to hoping we have a very quiet storm season!

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