PCS: Moving the Family Pet
Moving Your Dog, Cat or Other Pets During PCS
Executing a Permanent Change of Station, or PCS, is hard on the whole family. Spouses have to relocate or find new employment, children have to change schools no matter the time of year and the whole family has to make new friends. More often than not, families will underestimate the stress that their pet is put under. Too much movement for animals can make them as sick or irritable as the humans.
Moves Outside the US Will Require Quarantine
Making the pet’s transition to a new home as smooth as possible can alleviate some of the stress that the service member and their family may be experiencing. Moving outside the contiguous 48 United States, your pet will need to serve a quarantine.
Depending on the state or country, there is an allotted time that the animal or animals need to be separated or quarantined from animals outside the home to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases to other family pets in the local area or to local wildlife. With places like Hawaii and Japan being virtually rabies free, it is important that the quarantine process is taken seriously.
The DoD Doesn’t Allocate Funds for Moving the Family Pet
There are many steps that families need to take to ensure their pet is safe from rabies or causes any other animals to become infected with the disease. The whole process from start to finish can make a huge dent in your wallet from veterinary visits to stays within a kennel, adding in the cost to physically move your pet overseas can be upwards of $4,000. The military will cover most costs for the move across the country or world but none of that money is allocated towards the family pet.
Organizations to Help with Moving Your Dog or Cat During PCS
Luckily, there are many organizations and nonprofits that want to aid in lowering the costs to prepare and move your family pet.
SPCA International has the program Operation Military Pets having the mission to keep families together by providing financial assistance for relocation costs. Starting out with Operation Baghdad Pups, SPCA International has been helping service members bring back dogs, cats, and even one donkey back to the United States to keep battle buddies together. They have since branched out to helping families keep their pets with them while serving across the world.
Dogs on Deployment has the mission of providing vital assistance to military pet owners while they serve our country with honor, courage, and commitment. This program helps families stick together by offering ‘pet chits’ or grants to help families move their best friend even if they are struggling with financial difficulties. If in the unlucky, off chance that the pet is not allowed to move or fly due to financial or moving requirements, Dogs on Deployment also has a fostering program. This nonprofit provides the military members and their family different options when it comes to helping make sure that their pet is safe and happy.
Leave No Paws Behind USA is a small nonprofit that is just starting out. Their mission is to bring awareness to the financial and emotional stress military families face when having to transport their pets to locations outside the Continental United States. With small grants to aid in the veterinary bills that are associated with overseas pet travel, they hope to help families in any way they can. Additionally, they are working to make the process of moving pets overseas a part of the military budget so the financial stress of moving your furry best friend a thing of the past.
Even though there is no guarantee to receive grants like these, there have been thousands of families helped. From just aiding moves across the country by supplying kennels or foster care for a small amount of time, to fully funding the shipping costs of your pet, there are many ways to get help in your time of need.
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About the author
Kellie is a military spouse currently residing in Japan. She acquired her bachelors degree in Communications from the oldest private military college in the United States, Norwich University.