This past week I read a blog on SpouseBUZZ about reasons to NOT own a pet while in the military and it got me thinking about why we SHOULD own pets. The comments in response to that blog both on the SpouseBuzz website and their FB page were very strong and to my surprise, most responses were in favor of owning pets and how much those pets mean to their families. I have written two blogs about our military pets; one about tips to owning a pet and one about PCSing with pets. In those posts I did talk about how much our pets mean to my family but didn’t really give solid reasons why it is important to own them. These are my reason but let me say first that this is strictly my opinion and not based on facts!
1. Companion during deployments. In those comments on SpouseBUZZ I read over and over again about how people’s “fur babies” kept them company during the night while their spouse was deployed. It is no different for me! My dog doesn’t routinely sleep with us but when my hubby is away I call her to fill that empty space (the cats are always there).
2. Consistency for children. I firmly believe that pets give our military children a sense of stability and consistency in life. Milkids will grow up in many different homes, in different cities all over the world and go to different schools with different kids but when they come home those wagging tail(s) will always be the same. My husband and I have had life without our dog but our kids haven’t and I don’t know that they understand that someday there will be and for now that is okay. They need to live with idea that for now she will always be there when they walk through the door no matter what house we live in.
3. Dogs make great protectors. For those who love dogs, this tip is just for you….. I agreed on a dog (I am not a dog person by nature) because my husband was gone a lot and I wanted the feeling of safety. I realize that Macy is more likely to make friends with the people who come through the door and now in her old age she doesn’t bark when husband comes in late but initially she was my first alarm that something was up in the still of the night time. This was so crucial to me once our first son was born because now it wasn’t just me anymore. So, in my opinion, dogs make a great first alarm and provide a sense of security on lonely nights.
4. They get you moving. When our husband/wife is gone on lengthy TDY’s or deployment it can be depressing but when you don’t have children to get you out of bed your pet will. They have needs that need to be met like being fed and walked and played with. Even though I have children, they are in school and it is so easy to just plant myself on the couch for the day but then those sad doggy eyes look up at me with a wagging tail just asking for a walk and I get up. She keeps me moving…..
5. When life isn’t fair there is Dogs on Deployment! In my other two pet blogs I also mention this organization as well as it being listed on my Resource page. Our military life isn’t always fair and even the best owners are faced with hard decisions, like having a pitbull they love but are forced to live in government housing with breed restrictions. This amazing organization helps service members and their families find temporary homes through a fostering till they can be reunited again.
I realize that we all have our own individual feelings about animals and the author of that blog on SpouseBUZZ has her own. For me and my family our pets are worth any hassle that comes with owning pets while serving in the military. Our life just wouldn’t feel complete without them. How about you? Are your pets worth it?