Why Military Families Need a Dog
I knew we would probably always get a dog someday. I grew up with a cat, I didn’t know dogs very well but I knew our family would have one someday. My husband grew up with dogs and even worked with military working dogs in 2011. He knew dogs so I knew that he would help me figure things out once we got one.
We had talked about getting a dog once things settled down after my husband got out of Active duty. But, one day, a few months before his ETS date he came home from work with a picture of a dog on his phone asking me if we could get a dog now. A buddy of his needed to find a new home for their one-year-old Hound mix.
I wasn’t so sure at first because I had never had a dog before and I thought I would have more time to prepare. I asked my husband if he thought she would be a good fit for us and he thought she would. At first, I said no, but then I looked at that photo again and all I could think was that she was our dog. She would be perfect. So we said we would take her.
A few days later, she came by with her owners and fit right in. That was almost three years ago and I can say I have LOVED having a dog. For so many reasons. I get now why so many of my friends who have owned dogs love having a dog. I wish we had gotten one sooner.
So, why should military families get a dog?
For when your spouse is deployed- I LOVE having a dog when my husband has not been home. She is my protector and my companion. I can always talk to her and she always listens. She helps with the loneliness that can come from having a husband who sometimes works away from the home. I think of all the years and deployments I went through without a dog and how in the future, I wouldn’t want to go through a deployment without one. And I know our dog did provide comfort to her previous owner during a deployment as well.
For the children- All of my boys love our dog but my son with Asperger’s has a special bond with her. I love that. She can help calm him down and he enjoys giving her a hug every night before bed. You can also have your children help with the dog chores which can help them feel even more a part of the dog’s life.
For the joy they bring to your home- One big difference between dogs and cats is that cats will pretty much ignore you and dogs will follow you around the house. When we first got her, she was always at my side. I would go downstairs to grab a drink of water and she would follow me. These days she tends to not do that as much unless I have been away from the house for a while. Then she greets me like I had been gone for years. Our dog has brought us so much joy and I love having her.
The hard part about having a dog when you are a military family is the moving you have to do. Having a dog will make PCSing a little bit harder than it otherwise would be, especially if you are going overseas. Here are some posts I found to help with PCSing with your pet: