Last year when my husband was deployed I came across an amazing shelter in Virginia Beach called Hope for Life Rescue--this no-kill shelter takes in animals no one else wants and finds them homes. What makes it so amazing it is: 1) that it almost entirely volunteer run; and 2) there are (almost) no cages. The dogs and cats live, together, in colorful open rooms full of toys; there are even colored platforms along every wall for the cats to perch on. This setup ensures that all the animals live as if in a home and that they learn to get along with animals of all kinds. If anyone in the Hampton Roads area is interested in adopting an animal, please visit their website: www.hopeforliferescue.com
During an event for Hope for Life a few months ago, I stumbled across another nonprofit for military called Dogs on Deployment, and was amazed that someone had finally come across a solution to a big problem with owning pets in the military. If you are a man or woman serving in the military, you cannot own a pet unless you have a spouse or family member who is able to care for it while you are deployed. Dogs on Deployment was founded by a husband and wife, Shawn and Alisa Johnson, who serve in the US Navy and US Marine Corps respectively. They developed an online resource for military members to search for volunteers who are willing to board their pets while they're on deployment. This provides a way for civilians to give back to the military community by taking in a servicemember's pet (not just dogs) for a period of time. People can register online in their area to board a pet at their house.
When my husband was gone, I would have felt terrible alone if it hadn't been for my dog and two cats to keep me company. But what about single servicemembers who are relocated to an area where they have no family or friends? Dogs on Deployment offers them a resource that enables them to have a pet which they might otherwise not have been able to have. Please visit dogsondeployment.org to donate, search for a boarder, or sign up to board someone's animal at your home.