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Adopting a dog to fit your military family

Updated on March 24, 2014

The situation

For many of us owning a pet is a great joy and it is no less true for military families. The difference here is that for a military family we are not settled down, frequent moves make life a bit more challenging. So when we went to adopt our first pet we did some research first, trying to find a dog who would be a good match for us. The thing is its not us that we needed to satisfy, its others; other countries, other states, other landlords...

Our options

What we came to realize was that there are several very important criteria for choosing a pet when you know you will be moving every few years.

#1 Size- While my husband and I both grew up with larger breeds of dogs we opted to adopt a small dog. We found that the majority of places available for rent at the time were not very pet friendly. Most of the properties that were pet friendly showed exceptions to the size of the animals, many requiring small pets 30 lbs or under. Which is not to say that it is impossible to find a home to rent when moving with a large breed, only that there are more options available for those of us with small pets.

#2 Breed- With all the BSL it is increasingly difficult to move with animals of specific breeds, such as pit bulls. Our most recent move has us living abroad where pit bulls are banned from entering the country! In addition to that many landlords have clauses stating that they do not allow pit bulls on the property. Over 700 U.S. cities have BSL, as well as many foreign countries where a military member can be stationed. At the present time this legislation seems focused on pit bulls, but it could target any number of breeds.

#3 Transportation- While a number of us think first about the costs that are related in moving a pet when PCSing there is another thought that may not come to mind so readily. That would be breathing problems for our short snouted furry friends. Dog breeds like pugs, bull dogs, pekingese have short broad heads, which can create problems for them breathing. A higher percentage of dogs with short snouts die during flights that those with regular snouts. Thus certain airlines have banned the breeds for transportation altogether. Some airlines still will offer flights for them, but this is at a greater risk than for the average dog.

Your choice

This is not to say that a military family can't go out and adopt whatever type of dog they truly want, because they certainly can and I know many military families with pit bulls or pugs...Its just to say that when choosing a pet for any home there should be careful consideration given to the type of pet that is chosen. For us we wanted to adopt dogs that could move with us as freely and simply as possible. We move every few years and it is important to us that we can be that dogs family forever. Each family is different though, so your priorities may be different than ours.

Our pets

In the end we adopted 2 small dogs a year apart. First came Jack in December of 2011 and then Loki In December 2012. Both are Spaniel/Dachshund mixes, they made it safely with us on our move abroad. Jack was adopted from Second Chance Dog Rescue and Loki from Chula Vista Animal Care Facility.


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