A 4-Paws-Up Salute to Repeat Boarders, Debra & Gary Freeman
Volunteer boarders and foster pet parents are critical to the success of Dogs on Deployment. Thanks to the care, compassion and cooperation of such individuals, increasing numbers of military members and families that seek help through Dogs on Deployment gain some peace of mind while in military training or on active duty.
Some volunteer boarders within the Dogs on Deployment network love what they do so much that they become repeat borders.
Debra Freeman is one such boarder. “The reason why I chose to be a DoD boarder is very simple,” said Debra. “I wanted to somehow show my support for the U.S. military, and what better way to do it than to show it through my love for dogs? It does my heart good! I must also say that my husband, Gary is a big help and fostering could not be done without him. He loves animals as much as I do! Together, we hope to keep reaching out to Dogs on Deployment to volunteer and share the love.”
Prior to agreeing to board any dog, the Dogs on Deployment organization makes it a point to introduce everyone involved to make sure “it’s a good fit.” Initial meet-and-greets enable the dog’s owners and potential boarders, along with their children and pets, to get to know one another. This is followed by a trial run, which helps determine how the dog being boarded will behave in his or her new home and surroundings.
"Our initial meet and greet with potential boarders included our own fur-child, a yellow Labrador Retriever named Teddy," Debra told us. "Sweet Teddy does not have a mean bone in his body, and fortunately, each of the dogs we volunteered to board have gotten along well with Teddy!"
The first dog the Freeman family boarded was Lincoln. “We had him for 6 weeks in 2016, from early July to mid-August,” said Debra. “During our meet and greet he rolled in ‘doo-doo.’ I said, "Oh, we have a stinker who likes to roll in doo-doo!" My husband, Gary proceeded to help give Lincoln a bath. We told the other people involved not to worry, and that we had many dogs who also exhibited this behavior, and even some who had been sprayed by skunks. I think they were impressed with how we handled the situation, as well as the fact that we have a huge back yard. Later, when we discovered how much Lincoln liked laying in our bay window we made him a comfy bed there. He loved to watch the squirrels and groundhogs!”
The second dog the Freemans boarded was Jack. Said Debra, “we had him for the entire month of February, 2017. His owners said he moped around for a week after he went home because he missed me! Because of my disability, I'm always home and rarely leave. I’ll admit, Jack was spoiled here and loved all the attention I gave him. “
While boarding each of the dogs, Debra and Gary kept in touch with their respective military family owners via email, and were thoughtful and kind enough to send weekly updates along with a pic of their pooch – for which the service members were very grateful.
Debra was glad to add that both homecomings were very happy ones for the owners and their fur babies. “It felt so good to help, and we look forward to boarding again through Dogs on Deployment!”