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One Dog Too Many for the U.S. Military

I was born and raised in the United States and lived in a few different Northeast and Southern states before moving abroad pre-COVID. In all transparency, it was not a voluntary idea to make the international move; in fact, military orders brought my family and I overseas with just four months notice.

What we quickly realized was just how complex and heartbreaking this international military move was becoming. We had three awesome dogs, Cane(8), Otto(6) and Rocsi(6) who were an intricate part of our family unit. Unfortunately, military limits a maximum of two pets per household for an overseas move. Unfortunately, my siblings and parents all have pets of their own and were not willing to take in another dog for the next three years. So, can you guess what we had to do? Yeah, we had to get rid of one. I never wanted to be that person who got rid of a pet they couldn’t care for…but here I was. In all honesty, this was the hardest part of the entire process because the bond and love that I share with my dogs is tight like glue.

The first decision was which dog…it sounds wrong but, I made this hard decision quickly. Cane is our oldest and really goofy and I worried about him being “too much” for another family and feared they would ultimately give him up to a shelter or some place worse. Otto is what I would describe as special – he is afraid of the wind, he is extremely jumpy and adapts terribly to change. My fear for Otto was my fear for Cane. Rocsi was the perfect dog. She is smart, obedient, playful, friendly, calm, cuddly and sweet. I knew any family would fall in love with her and never want to give her up.

So, with a waterfall of tears rolling down my face, I created an ad with her adorable picture on it, describing her as “pretty perfect”. I shared the ad with people I personally knew who loved animals – our insurance agent, my best friend in New York, my friend and colleague at work and asked if they knew someone personally who was looking for a dog. A good friend of my colleague who lived eight hours away was looking for a dog and really liked Rocsi’s ad. So, we spoke on the phone and agreed it would be a really great fit. Her soon to be new mama was established with a home, a family, outside space, a cat in the house and is a dog lover. She was looking for a dog like Rocsi and Rocsi was in need of a family like hers.

I made the eight hour drive with Rocsi about a month later. Her new family is wonderful and loving and all I could have hoped for her to have. They are gracious enough to still send pictures and we keep in touch through my former colleague. Rocsi has a dog bed in almost every room of their house, cuddles up to the cats, plays big sister to another dog, and often goes to the office with her new dad.

As I write this post three years after making that sixteen hour roundtrip car ride, I still cry over Rocsi because I had to give her up – although she is happy in a loving home, I still had to give her up. If you are in a military family, don’t rescue that third pet from a cold outdoor trailer in North Carolina in the winter like we did; save yourself the heartache. I didn’t even mention the USD $5,000 out-of-pocket we paid to fly Cane and Otto to Asia or the comprehensive list of things they had to complete before, during, and after travel. I tell this story to bring truth to the realities of what having pets and living with the military can potentially bring.

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