My neighbor is a crazy cat lady, like me and my co-writer Julia Williams. We are proud of our label and would do anything to help a cat or dog. My neighbor is also a foster mom who nurses litters of kittens that have lost their mom. She gives pets a quiet place to mend a broken leg or heal from the abusive home they were rescued from. Working with our local animal shelter, my neighbor puts a lost soul back together so the pet can be adopted out to a forever home. If you love pets and have been searching for a way to help out your local shelter, opening up your home to animals in need is one of the best things you can do.
I recently wrote an article about an organization called Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet. Instead of a soldier being forced to give up a family pet, this organization helps find foster homes to care for the soldier’s pet while they serve our country overseas. Because of caring pet lovers who open up their homes to these temporary pets, shelters across the nation have fewer animals to care for. The soldier can deploy knowing their pet is being well cared for, and they don’t have to wonder what happened to them.
Shelters have seen an increase in the number of pets surrendered to them across the country. An estimated 8 million pets end up in shelters every year and many healthy, adoptable animals are put to sleep because there just aren’t enough people to adopt them. Friends, family and neighbors have all been caught up in an economic downturn that sometimes doesn’t leave them with a lot of choices when it comes to a family pet. I’ve been fostering a friend’s dog to give my friend a chance to get back on his feet financially. It doesn’t matter how long it takes; this is one dog that will not end up in a shelter.
I recently came across a wonderful story online that intrigued me. I wanted to know more, so I did what any curious pet blogger would do – I searched until I found a phone number, and then I called it. I had a pleasant conversation with 24-year-old Raymond Behrens, who happily gave me an update on one of the best “feel-good” doggie tales ever.
When Raymond enlisted in the Navy at the age of 18, he was deeply saddened to leave his best friends Bullet and Trigger behind. Raymond had adopted the Beagle puppies two years earlier. He loved his dogs with all of his heart, but because none of his family members or friends could care for them while he was in the Navy, Raymond reluctantly gave them up. As you might guess, this scenario is all too common, and is what led to the creation of Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet (GASP). This wonderful nonprofit helps find foster families for pets of deployed military members; unfortunately, Raymond didn’t have that option in 2004.
Raymond thought about his best friends often over the next six years, while serving as a Navy Seabee in Japan, Iraq and Afghanistan. Like any devoted pet parent would, he felt guilty for giving up his dogs; he wondered how they were doing, and hoped they were happy and healthy. Although he never forgot about Bullet and Trigger, he didn’t expect to see them again or have them be a part of his family. Yet six long years later, that is exactly what happened!
Before 2005, military personnel who were also pet owners were left with a hard choice to make when the time came for them to deploy overseas. If they couldn’t find a temporary home for their pet with family or friends, or a new permanent home, they were forced to relinquish them to a shelter. Linda Spurlin-Dominik and Carol Olmedo decided there should be help for soldiers and their pets. They established an organization called Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet (GASP), because they felt that no one should have to give up their pet when their chosen job is protecting our country.
Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet is a nonprofit, all volunteer operation. Their stated goal is to provide a suitable and loving home environment for a soldier’s pet when they are called to defend or represent our country anywhere in the world, whether it’s in peacekeeping, humanitarian relief, or for combat duty.
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