By GENE PATTERSON, 6 News Anchor/Reporter (ABC Wate)
KODAK (WATE) – We often think of military families who are separated from their loved ones when they deploy.
It turns out – there is a group out there that can help.
Air Force Major Kevin Cook was helped by the non-profit known as "Dogs on Deployment."
It was a special night on Tuesday at the Tennessee Smokies Stadium for Major Cook, the Asheville, North Carolina native who was reunited with his pets, Ruby and Indigo after a 5 month absence.
The dogs have been cared for during the Major's overseas deployment by Katie Brown. She made sure Major Cook kept in touch with his dogs.
"We were able to send him photos, Facebook him and also send him some videos," said Katie Brown, Knoxville Coordinator for Dogs on Deployment.
Dogs on Deployment is a national non-profit that uses volunteers to care for the pets of military men and women who have commitments elsewhere in the world.
"If you're one who wants to help your troops and love your dogs we actually bring that together. You can help board those pets for your troops," said Brown.
Dogs on Deployment was founded in 2011 by pet owners Alisa and Shawn Johnson, who realized the need for foster care when both were deployed. To date more than 450 dogs have found temporary homes through Dogs on Deployment.
Major Cook said the group was exactly what he needed.
"There's just not a lot of support network for dogs in the military," said Major Cook.
Through Dogs on Deployment, Cook had one less thing to worry about during his overseas stay. And the occasional message and photos he says broke the boredom.
"It's a great program I can't say enough about them. There for a long time that service wasn't there, and I couldn't believe it when I looked online and there was something out there for this. It's a wonderful program and hope it continues to grow and will do what I can to support it," said Major Cook.