By Tanya Ruth
Have you ever wondered what options a United States military service member might have when they are deployed and do not have anyone to take care of their pet(s)? I am thrilled to introduce you to an amazing non-profit that supports our troops by helping their pets in these situations.
Dogs On Deployment is a 501(c)(3) national non-profit which provides an online network for service members to search for volunteers who are willing to board their pets during their owner’s service commitments.
Personally, I know the hardships military member’s face and the last thing they need to be worried about when getting ready to deploy is who will care for their pet.
Dogs on Deployment was founded by husband and wife, Shawn and Alisa Johnson, who serve in the US Navy and US Marine Corps respectively. They started Dogs on Deployment in June 2011. As a dual-military family, the founders have been in situations where they needed a program like Dogs on Deployment. Alisa had orders to move to Quantico, Virginia where she was to attend six months of military training. At the same time, Shawn, was to be deployed. Neither could care for their beloved dog, JD. They were lucky enough to have family to rely on, but recognized the need for a program which would help others who found themselves in a similar situation. Thus, Dogs on Deployment was born.
Founders Alisa and Shawn Johnson proudly own two miniature Australian Shepherds, JD and Jersey, two Caique parrots, Kiki and ZoZo, and two rescue cats, Tegan and Kami, who are the inspiration behind their work.
Dogs on Deployment (DoD) is a 100% volunteer organization. Every year DoD is honored to receive the highest ratings by non-profit watchdog groups. Headquartered in Santee, California, DoD has over 50 local chapters in the United States.
The Phoenix Chapter was started two years ago and is one the most active chapters in the country. The Local Chapter Coordinator, Beth Buchanan, will tell anyone that will listen about the great group of volunteers DoD has in the Valley. Volunteers typically work at events and fundraisers to alert military members to DoD’s free service, recruit fosters and encourage sponsorships.
Over the last year, Phoenix-area events have ranged from a horse shoe tournament sponsored by American Italian Club, Red Neck Run (where DoD was the beneficiary), KISS ME Irish Run, Amazing Pet Expo, Holiday Expo, 911 Run, Italian Car Show and many more fun events.
If you are interested in joining the DoD volunteer team please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let me introduce a great person that not only volunteers as the DoD Arizona Military Liaison but is also one of DoD’s fantastic fosters. Her name is Sandy Lentz.
After 22 years of service for our great country, Sandy retired from the AZ Air National Guard. Sandy actively engages the local military community by attending deployment seminars at Luke AFB, manning information booths outside the Base Exchange, presenting to military clubs/organizations, and disseminating DoD information packets to all American Legion and Veterans of Foreign War Posts. Sandy will attend any military function to get the DoD word spread including the two day Veterans StandDown project for homeless veterans in November and the Vietnam Anniversary Remembrance earlier this year.
Sandy shared that when she first began working with DoD Phoenix Chapter very few people, military or general public, knew of DoD but with all DoD’s wonderful volunteers work the word is out. Sandy says “DoD rocks for military members and their pets”.
Sandy currently is fostering two black labs (Nayla and Raven Pictured) for a military member through DoD. The dogs came to Sandy on May 26th and will return to their mom sometime in August. Without DoD, the family would have had to surrender their dogs.
I not only support our military but also support fostering of animals and many animal non-profits. DoD provides a great service for our military and their pets and depends on donations to operate.
So, I am hosting an exciting event called <strong>Ruth’s Summer Fundraising Event for Dog’s on Deployment</strong>. Please join us on Saturday, July 25th from 10am to 2pm to help raise funds for this great cause. Your donations will go to DoD’s Pet Chit Program which provides emergency assistance for military member’s pet(s) in times of financial hardship. The event is being held in the cool in-doors at 500 W. Indian School Rd.
10% of Vendor fees and 100% of raffle money raised will be donated to DoD. The event will have 25 crafts, jewelry, clothing, art and food vendors, DJ, The Vixens of Arizona and many more great items. Join us at this fun event from 9am-2pm and show your support for our troops and their pets.
DoD Local Coordinator, Beth Buchanan is thankful. “DoD Phoenix Chapter is grateful to Tanya for her grass-roots efforts on hosting this fun event. We would not be anywhere without our local citizens supporting DoD.”
Visit Dogs on Deployment for more details about the organization.