When our soldiers graciously sacrifice their lives to defend our freedom every part of their family is affected. What most people do not consider are the four-legged family members whose lives are also disrupted when loved ones are deployed. Luckily, the alliance of nationwide volunteers at Guardian Angels for Soldiers’ Pets has thought of this and has formed an amazing organization to help these furry kids. Nationally headquartered in Gatesville, Texas, their mission is to support our military, veterans, and their beloved pets to ensure the pets are reunited with their owners following a deployment or unforeseen emergency hardship impacting their ability to retain their pet ownership rights.
Have you ever been called out of town suddenly, or planned a vacation and your pet sitter arrangements unexpectedly fell through at the last minute? Imagine being called upon by the U.S. Government to serve and protect our nation and not being able to find anyone to care for your beloved companions! Leaving home and family behind is stressful enough for our troops. Having to turn in their cherished animals to a shelter is an added heartache they do not need. If left at a regular shelter, it is likely that no information would be readily available as to what happened to their pet and it is probable they would never meet again. Thankfully, our dedicated military men and women have Guardian Angels they are able to turn to, ones that will temporarily “fill in” for them while they are deployed by providing protection, care and love.
Since their inception in 2005, the foster homes and their volunteers are what make this organization exist. They are always in need of more volunteers as well as management teams (on a state and national level) who oversee all aspects of the organization, financial contributions and pet placement. The average amount of time a pet is in a foster home while their two-legged family members are away usually averages three months to slightly over a year. Of course, every circumstance is understandably different and addressed accordingly.
In addition to offering interim homes for pets to both active duty soldiers and veterans, the Military Pet Assistance Fund steps in when needed for the animals in foster care. This may be utilized, when available, for emergency needs such as boarding, veterinarian emergencies and other last minute pet expenses that may occur while their owners are away.
A key goal of the organization is to open the very first “MVP” (Military, Veterans & Pets) Sanctuary in Gatesville, Texas. The facility will be close to Fort Hood in Coryell, County, and will include a spacious park and housing area for pets whose families are currently serving as well as for the pets of veterans. This will not only be for Texas residents but will also be available for out of town military guests.
If you are in any branch of the military and need a temporary Guardian Angel to foster your pet, you can submit an application online at www.guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org. Also, if you are interested in becoming a foster, you can submit your request on this same website. You, too, can become a part of guarding the beloved pets of our dedicated and courageous soldiers while they are guarding our freedom! We all need help from time to time, especially when life calls upon us for a greater cause…and it is times like these we all could use a Guardian Angel!
— Kate Smargiasso
Be Passionate. Be Proactive. Spay+Neuter.