PCS With Pets

The orders have come in and immediately the planning to move begins.  There are the schools and the house hunting and the packing and traveling, but what about those furry (or maybe not) friends we share our lives with?  PETS! We have to plan for them, too.  I can say first hand that this can be a lengthy process especially if you are moving overseas. Our dog has always moved with us and she has been around the world and I truthfully cannot imagine our lives without her.  For this to be true we have to take her best interest in to account when we make our travel arrangements.  I recall moving back to the states from Japan and I was so worried about her getting on each airplane we flew on.  Desperately looking out the window for her kennel and watching that she was gently placed in cargo for the flight.  Then we arrive and had to leave her in the care of others because we didn’t have a home yet.  But, how did we come to make the decision to take her to Japan and back and what did we do ensure she remained healthy and safe?  With these tips!

Lazy Jack Russel

1.  Visit the vet first!  When you receive your orders make a call to the vet and get all vaccines up to date and if you are heading overseas start the overseas screening process.  I highly recommend going through the Army Vet for overseas screening.  They know all the regulations for every country.

2.  Make a checklist of all the supplies your pet will need during your transfer.  On this list you should include items like vaccine records, health certificate (if overseas), bowls, food, leashes, treats, toys and so on.  Things you think your pet will need while displaced from home.  One thing we always bring with us for Macy is her blanket.  I believe like kids, special items helps them feel at ease.  A security item can be anything and for Macy it is the blanket she sleeps on every night.

3.  Ask future landlords (housing or private) if pets are allowed and what the regulations are!  I have mentioned this in a different blog about pets and I will say it again…. Ignorance is NOT bliss!  Ask!!!  Some privatized housing offices (PPV) will be more relaxed than others but I wouldn’t take that chance.  Where I currently live, breed restriction is no joke and they don’t care if you knew or not!

4.  Place your pet in a kennel while traveling.  A seatbelt would work to if you have a very large dog or not enough space (like us). But…. kennels are best.  Also, make sure your pet wears their rabies and ID (contact information) tags.  This is for their ultimate safety in the event something terrible happens like a car accident.

5. Plan financially for their travel.  Sure, DoD pays us for almost all of our travel expenses when we PCS but not our pets and those cost add up.  If you plan on flying your pet it will cost several hundred dollars.  There have been some changes to assistance military families with those cost but there are still costs, even if you take a military charted plane.  Call airlines and hotels ahead of time and ask for fee quotes and start saving!

6.  Have cats? Put them in a carrier while the packers are there!  I knew a family who had their cat packed in a box and when their shipment arrived they found their poor beloved cat not alive.  This is a true story, don’t let it be yours.  When the packers come, put your kitty in a carrier and place it in your secure place with your other belongings you don’t want packed.  Oh and take your dogs to a neighbors during this time.  Pets can get really scared during pack outs, so taking steps like these can ease that stress just a little.

7.  When you can’t take your pet there is Dogs On Deployment (DOD)! I believe that in a perfect world pets owners would never have to leave their pets behind but sometimes the universe has other plans.  It could be because the tour will be short and the cost too high or the only home you could find doesn’t allow pets; what ever the reason there is an option and lucky for us DOD was born! For more information there is a link under the Resource page.

Even Lazier Cats

Our pet family has grown during this tour to include two cats and even though we are a year from moving I am already planning for their needs.  This means keeping up with vaccines and starting to collect items like carriers and collars and tags (for the cats). One kitty still needs a microchip and that will need to be done before we pull out for our next adventure.  It is never to soon to start!  Our pets are very much family member to us and will never be left behind and it is possible with these tips.

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