by Emma Koeniger, Content and Digital Media Coordinator
In 2013 the Operation Military Pets program was created to help military families stay together when ordered to a new duty station. Permanent Change of Station (or PCS) orders require a family to move from one base to another and can incurr significant expenses related to that move – including transporting the family pet. When international relocation is required, bringing your family pet can easily cost $1,500 or more. SPCA International recognized that this burden was causing increased rates of pet surrender at shelters near military bases. Operation Military Pets program gives families another option by covering a portion of pet transportation costs.
August 2017 marked the 1,000th grant awarded by this program to a military family. That pet-loving family, the Acostas, know the struggle of moving their two pets all too well. Calvin and Cody are like their kids. The Shiba Inu mix and Terrier mix are always close by, ready to chase a ball or go wag their tails when their parents come home. The Acosta family could not imagine leaving Cody and Calvin behind when they received PCS orders relocating them to Japan, but when the cost of pet transportation alone rose over $3,000 they were stunned and financially unprepared.
That’s when they heard about SPCA International’s Operation Military Pets program, and the Acosta family quickly applied for assistance. We could tell from the way they lovingly talked about their two dog-kids that we could not let this tight-knit family fall apart. After completing all of the grant application steps, the Acosta family was approved for a grant. And now, we are happy to report that Calvin and Cody are with their mom and dad in Okinawa!
We received this heartwarming sentiment from the Acosta family; “This is an awesome and honest organization. My PCS from Cali to Okinawa with my (2) boys hurt us financially. There was no way I was leaving my boys! SPCA International helped us as promised. The wife and I are forever grateful and really happy: Thank You for your caring about people and the love for their pets!!!”