VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - A south Georgia organization is looking for volunteers to help foster and provide homes for the fur babies of those who are deployed and don’t want to give their animals up.
“It’s amazing, to see the reunion videos to see when these owners come back and the pets see their owners after being gone for months. It’s all worth it. You do get attached to the dogs,” said Denise Smiley, coordinator for Moody Pet Guardian Angels Program.
The Moody Pet Guardian program began about seven or eight years ago. It is sponsored and covered underneath the Valdosta Humane Society. The program finds fosters for the pets of those at Moody Air Force Base that are deployed or on temporary travel duty.
Their goal is to keep the pets with the owners, so they won’t be given up to a shelter. Where they’ll most likely be euthanized if the shelter is at max capacity.
“We only provide the fosters, and unfortunately, we do have a need for fosters in the program. I have a hard time finding foster for those that have cats. Dogs are easier. If anyone wants to volunteer, we have a Facebook group calls ‘Moody Pet Guardians',” said Smiley.
Families who are interested in joining the program to foster cats or dogs, can reach out on the Facebook group to join.
Smiley said she has fostered about 15 dogs since she joined the program. Her longest foster is Winston, he has been with her for the last two years. His owner is on active duty in Korea, and is due back soon. There are currently two dogs in the program right now, and Denise has both.
The program is also self-funded. They don’t need donations and owners are responsible for providing everything.
“The owners are responsible for providing all food, all toys, bedding, medications. The foster provide a home and love for the temporary need that these military members need. The military members sacrifice so much, deploying, leaving families, leaving families. And they get attached to their pets just like we do and to know that just because they are sent on remote tours for 9 months deployment, they have to rehome the pets that have become their family. It’s heartbreaking. This program allows us to prevent that from happening and get the family members together because pets are families,” said Smiley.