Take care of the irreplaceable pet

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kali L. Gradishar
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
I can remember when I was a little tyke; I would look up at my father with my big brown eyes and beg for a puppy. Even if he said no, giving up was not an option. I would then take my begging to my mother.

"Mom, please let me get a puppy. I'll feed it and water it and love it and care for it and give it treats and teach it tricks ... Can I please?"

Ouch, there was the 'no' again. I hated that word. But looking back, I can definitely understand where it was coming from. Having a pet - a dog, cat, horse, pig or pet rock - means putting in a lot of time and effort to ensure that the animal (or rock) has all it needs to experience a happy, healthy life.

As servicemembers, we are no different from others. We desire relationships, love, compassion and understanding, and some of these characteristics are often found in the animals we love most.

We can become attached to the pet, establish various understandings with it and end up with a very special friendship.

Then the expected happens and we are tasked to deploy or we receive orders to PCS to a location that does not allow pets. What can we do to ensure our pets have the best care we think they deserve?

This is one thing we must remember before investing money, time and emotion into an animal that may be taken or must be given away to accommodate today's need of Airmen in solitary locations.

According to the Spokane Humane Society, more animals are brought into the shelter from the base's zip code than from any other in Spokane County.

It pays, literally, to consider the pros and cons of having a pet before setting out to purchase a $300 Labrador. Some things to consider are:

Will someone in your household be willing to feed and train the pet?

Is there someone who will be willing to take care of the pet if you and/or your spouse are deployed?

Would you be willing to sell your pet if you had to?

Do you have the time to care for a pet that will be completely reliant on you?

Answer these questions and take into consideration the many other responsibilities that come along with having the pet. Make sure that you are willing to commit; then decide whether or not you should get that doggy in the window.