Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet helps troops find temporary homes for their animals, including dogs, cats, hamsters, birds and even snakes.
Troops facing deployment often experience the tricky situation of leaving their pets behind when leaving the country.
When Navy Ensign Sykeshia Thurman was about to depart for a five-month tour in the Pacific Ocean, she had a tough time finding someone to take care of her three dogs.
Friends volunteered to take care of two her dogs, but she was unable to find a temporary home for her pit bull.
"I had no idea what I was going to do," Thurman told our media partner North County Times. "There were no other options unless I was to give them up."
But thanks to a program called Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet, Thurman was able to find a temporary home for her dog.
The organization enlists the help of foster families to take care of troop’s pet for the duration of their tour.
Many troops give up their pets because they don't know what else to do, said Brianne Miller, community program specialist with the San Diego County Humane Society.
"You don't have to lose your pet since you're serving your country," Miller told North County Times.
On Wednesday the Humane Society is offering a seminar for military families that show them the options they have for their pets during deployment or relocation.
The seminar is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 14, at the Humane Society's North Campus, 572 Airport Road. Tickets are $12.
Stephanie Taylor, the California director of Guardian Angels, said there are about 30 foster families in San Diego and nearly 250 in California.
Most of the pets they place in California come from San Diego County because of the large military presence in the region, she said.
A couple in Carlsbad offered their home to Guardian Angels after their 14-year-old dog died earlier this year. Howard and Lisa Carpenter are currently housing a black Labrador for a navy physician who is deployed until June.
"It really helped everyone to feel comfortable and confident that the dog was going to be taken care of," Lisa Carpenter said.
The couple is helping to get the word out about the program, not only to help the pets but also to ease the burden for a service member.
"My dogs are like my kids," Thurman said. "It's tough being single and having dogs in the military. For me, it's kind of like being a single parent."
Read more of the story at North County Times.