Deployments Are Ruff!
Our first fur baby is a crazy, snuggly Lab/ Shepard mix that we adopted only months after we were married. He has been a part of the family for almost 8 years and is attached to everyone – my husband especially. And when my husband is deployed, our dog Jethro knows.
When my husband left for the first time, I had no idea his absence would affect Jethro like it did. You hear so much about how deployment takes an emotional toll on the spouses, kids, and extended family, but never pets. So I decided to do a little digging and found so much useful information on how to help my pup get through deployments.
There are quite a few organizations out there that help military personnel find boarding for their pets while they are deployed. I first heard of Dogs on Deployment about 7 years ago. This non-profit matches dogs with boarders and even assists with grants to find places for dogs while their owner is away. They have an amazing article on Caring for Pets When Spouse is Deployed.
Here are a few things I have done to be sure my pup adjusts to the change:
Keep with Routine
When my husband is home, he is in charge of mealtime for the dog. But when he isn’t, mealtime doesn’t change – just the person who serves it. I make sure we stick with the same routine. Meals always happen at the same time, then a walk, then nap, or bedtime (depending on the time of day).
Now that Jethro isn’t my only child, I realized by husband gives him way more attention than I do. So when he is away, I make it a point to give the dog an extra scratch here and there. The kids always play with him and make it known that he is a good boy. I even allow a little snuggle time in my bed at night before everyone turns in.
Join The Club!
And, if you want to show your pets a little extra love, sign up at www.militarypetclub.com for some fun gifts and coupons to treat your pet!
What do you do to make sure your fur-ever friend adjusts to deployments well? Feel free to share your tried and true tips and tricks for making your fur-baby feel loved during this transitional time.