Ask The Military Spouse: Are You Keeping Your Pets?

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So, it’s almost that time for the Sampson Family to PCS all the way across the world to Italy.  There is so, so much to do each day to help us get prepared for this big change, and I’m exhausted from trying to remember everything!  Although I am tired, extremely busy and unsure of what this new experience will bring…I am EXTREMELY excited.

The biggest part, and probably the most challenging, of this PCS has been trying to get everything together for our pets.  It’s a lengthy and time consuming portion, but I know it will be worth it.  I have always been a pet lover and I refuse to leave my babies behind because they require a little more work.  Some people think this is silly, and that’s okay because they may not love animals like, myself, or many other people do.

She’s the cutest thing ever, right?!

It’s always a question when PCSing…”Are you keeping your pets?”  I know every situation and circumstance can be different, but personally I don’t feel I could part with them.  Yes, we’ve had to call the airlines 15 times to make sure they accept our breed of dog and get all the ins and outs of the process, are on the search for an airline approved kennel that does not cost an arm and a leg, had to make sure they were up to date on all shots and micro-chipping, make sure we have the funds to get them to Italy, and since we are flying American Airlines we have to have a really good backup plan in case our dog cannot get on as a check pet since it is a first come first serve basis.

That’s a lot, right?  Well there is more that goes into the process…lol.  I have had my dog, Nala, since she was a pup-she’s almost six years of age now and I have had my cat, Diesel, for almost eleven years. In my eyes they are apart of our family.  Our dog and our daughter are best friends…they go everywhere together.  Because of their close bond, I try and picture the future.  Typically, most dogs live until they are about fifteen.  In ten years, Nala will be close to that age and my daughter will be almost thirteen years old.  Nala will be her childhood dog she will always remember.  I want her to have memories I know she will love and cherish forever.

Slightly outdated, but they love each other!

When coming to the difficult situation of having to get rid of a pet there are many options you may have to help you find a wonderful home for him/her.  We did recently get rid of our Labor-doodle, because we were not allowed to have three pets.  She was young, very smart and we put her in a foster program where she quickly got adopted to be a service dog for a wounded vet!! What a blessing for us knowing she went to a great cause and a really great family.  It also only cost us $35, which is a very inexpensive option.  Of course, every foster program is different and you will have to look into this on your own.

When deciding on whether or not you may want a pet, make sure to consider some of these questions and then some:

1. Do we have room for it?

2. Do we have time for it?

3. How often do we travel and would we have to find someone to pet sit or can we take the pet with us?

4. Are we prepared to incur any financial responsibility due to shelter, feeding, destruction of household items or yard or annual vet visits?

5. Are we going to invest our time and financials to put it in some type of obedience training?

6.  Are we stable where we live or will we be moving soon?

7.  Are we choosing a pet that may provoke concern due to breed restrictions when renting or traveling?

8. What type of health problems/frequent vet visits will this pet require?

9. Is anyone in my family allergic?

10. Is our home/yard pet friendly to where it can get its daily exercise.

PCSing with a pet can be a huge headache, but also a great reward knowing you still have your fur babies! Ask lots of questions from those who have traveled with pets and make sure you get all your ducks in a row before leaving. Also, if you ever come across of having to be in the unfortunate event of having to get rid of your babies, remember to please consider options other than the pound.  Many people are actually very accepting to taking in animals that have to be re-homed. And like Bob Barker used to say at the end of every Price Is Right game show…”Help control the pet population.  Have your pets spayed or neutered!”

Happy PCSing, everyone!

Do you have questions about PCSing, where to find local events, how to get involved with your local FRG, etc? You can e-mail ALL your questions to Askthemilitaryspouse@mymilitarysavings.com

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