By Carmel Cafiero, 7News
Our military men and women are used to sacrificing the comforts of home while deployed, but what if one of those comforts is a beloved pet? One organization is making sure those furry family members are cared for while our heroes are fighting for freedom.
WSVN — Those who serve our country too often make the ultimate sacrifice. Those who come home after battle also sacrifice losing time with loved ones.
Who hasn't been touched by the emotional homecomings? Husbands, wives and children waiting with open arms to welcome their heroes home. And right beside the families are the pets that were also left behind.
Denisse Medina: "That's my baby. I had him since he was 2 months, he's 2 and a half."
Army reservist Denisse Medina loves her Great Dane Bronx, and he goes wherever she goes. But then the Army came calling for a training exercise, she knew she couldn't take her Bronx with her.
Denisse Medina: "My mom couldn't take care of him. It's a big dog, small place. My dad doesn't really like dogs and the boarding was charging, here in Miami, they're like $35 to $55 a night."
That's when some unexpected help arrived.
Grace Skinner: "It was fun, I enjoyed having him, he was an excellent dog. He was so well behaved."
Grace Skinner kept Bronx while Denisse was away at training. She is a volunteer with Dogs on Deployment, a program that helps find temporary homes for pets of military members who are called to duty.
It's one less worry for soldiers who might otherwise have to give up their pets.
Denisse Medina: "It's sad when a soldier has to put away a dog or let go of a dog because they have nobody to take care of it."
It's a nationwide effort that is also taking hold right here in South Florida.
Grace Skinner: "We can support you, and we will support you. There's a whole army of people out here that want to support the military."
Dogs on Deployment was created by military members, for military members, and it couldn't happen without the volunteers who open their homes and hearts to foster pets.
Grace Skinner: "It was nice having somebody around and it was nice feeling that you were supporting someone in the military."
Nearly 500 military pets have been put in volunteer homes thanks to Dogs on Deployment. And thanks to social media, even while military members are deployed, they can see their pets.
Denisse Medina: "It's good to know that, when your boarder is posting pictures on Facebook, you get to see that he's at a good home, he's happy. I think that's the prize."
Volunteers for Dogs on Deployment have one goal: to take away one worry for those who risk their lives to protect ours.