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By Shannon Frost Greenstein

Anyone who has a pet knows that it’s a huge responsibility.  Whenever you want to go away, it’s necessary to make arrangements for their care the entire time, and there’s not always friends, family, or neighbors around who can drop by to feed Fluffy.

So what about members of our armed forces, who are deployed for months at a time?  What happens to those pets?

Capt. Alisa Sieber-Johnson and Lt. Shawn Johnson discovered that very problem, when Alisa was deployed to Virginia for six months of marine training and Shawn was about to ship out with the Navy.  While they luckily did find a temporary foster for their dog JD, they were struck by how many members of the military must have the exact same problem.

So they did something about it.

They launched a nonprofit called Dogs on Deployment, designed to locate and provide civilian foster homes for the pets of military members while they are deployed.  Despite the name, Dogs on Deployment actually caters to ALL pets…cats, birds, and the scaly reptiles that some people, inexplicably, seem to love.

Additionally, the 501(C)(3) has granted nearly $400,000 to active duty pet families, for emergency vet services, spay and neuter procedures, and other pet-related expenses.

The nonprofit, currently, doesn’t have much of a marketing budget, so it’s relying on word-of-mouth to spread the news about its work.  In that vein, check out more about Alisa and Shawn’s story on Today and the Dogs on Deployment website.

EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY…head to the site if you would like to sign up to foster an animal, donate to the organization, or find a temporary home for your pet while you are on active duty.  Our pets deserve the very best…as do Americans serving their county…so it’s great to know there is support now for pet parents and their finned, furry, and, yes, even scaly, children!

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