DoD Honor Guard Recognized Exceptional Boarders this September

Last month, Dogs on Deployment kicked off our inaugural launch of our DoD Honor Guard Program in partnership with Tractor Supply Co to spotlight exceptional volunteers and military members within the organization, and recognize them for their dedication to assisting military families and their pets, and the sacrifice they give to our nation.

Selected volunteers recognized in the 2020 Dogs on Deployment Honor Guard:

      • will receive a $250.00 Tractor Supply Co. gift card, to be donated by TSC;
      • will be recognized in Dogs on Deployment marketing communications, including this Military Tails Blog, the DoD newsletter, and social media;
      • will receive a signed thank you card from Dogs on Deployment CEO, Alisa Johnson;
      • will receive a certification of appreciation from Tractor Supply Co; and,
      • will earn a badge on their DoD Boarder online profile.


Category of DoD Boarder

Dave Sarver

With Gratitude from Nathanial Bacon

“I sent my dog to Dave for four deployments and two long-term TDYs over a span of just under four years. During each visit Dave kept me up to date on how Caspian was doing, sent plenty of photos, and made sure Caspian received veterinary attention if needed. The living situation itself is a dream for dogs: a couple acres of forested, fenced-in property for the dogs to play together in all day, whether hot summer or snowy winter in the mountains. Having boarded with him so many times I was always meeting all the other dogs he fosters, adopts, or boards through DoD. He’s an integral part in helping dogs in need find owners across the country, often driving multiple days to help dogs make it from point A to point B, even dropping them off or picking them up at the airport from volunteers with their own planes. I’m pretty sure my dog had a better time living with Dave than with me – what higher accomplishment can a boarder receive?”

Alisa Johnson, President & Co-Founder says of Dave, “Throughout the years, Dave is one of the volunteers that always stands out. I have so many engaging emails from him updating us on various projects, dogs or people he is helping. Even during his own personal issues, he manages to be the most gracious and giving person! I’m very proud to have gotten to know Dave over the years, and all he has done for the many military families he has helped.”

Dave has also been featured in the news here and featured in a previous DoD Blog here! Watch below:

Thomas Ray

With Gratitude from Vangsai Lor

Vangsai Lor boarded his dog, Isaac, with the Ray family from January to November 2020. Vangsai says, “Thomas has been an incredible boarder going out of his way to help assist me during my deployment. He has gone above and beyond by taking time out of his schedule to meet with me on such short notice before I deployed. Thomas has kept in constant contact and is continuously updating me on Isaac’s condition and how they are doing. A month after I left, it was Issac’s birthday, and Thomas threw a birthday party for Isaac inviting members of the neighborhood to celebrate Issac’s birthday. His display of affection demonstrates his love for dogs and treating them just like family. Thomas sends multiple pictures and videos throughout the week, showing the great care they are providing Isaac. His commitment to fostering Isaac has lifted a large stress on my shoulders, by ensuring that a loving and caring foster family was watching him while I was gone.”

Suzanne Dillinger & Family

With Gratitude from Shannon Mawson

Mawson reunited with her dog!

“I can’t say enough about Cindy, Len, and Suzy and how much love they’ve given my dogs. They send me pictures post photos on Facebook and buy lots of cute little things for my for babies. I’m so grateful for them and how much love they have given my babies and kept me in touch with them while I’ve been gone, they truly have been a blessing to me and helps me maintain my focus while I’ve been deployed.  Every night I come home from my job and I have photos on my phone that they’ve taken to show me how much they love them. They film the most adorable videos and involve them in their families and friends daily activities which has actually shown me their anxiety from being separated from me has been reduced so much.”

Ellen Carter

With Gratitude from Andie Cuiffo

Andie Cuiffo with her dog, Bubba.

“Dr. Ellen Carter, Senior Chief, RET U.S. Navy, not only went above and beyond the normal boarder obligations, but continues to each and every day. Whether it be taking care of my dog Bubba or the 8+ permanent and foster dogs at her house, while acting as a role model to many in her community all while teaching fulltime online and balancing many volunteer activities. Dr. Carter truly embodies  what it means to be recognized as a Dogs on Deployment “Honor Guard.”

Dr. Carter is a fulltime caretaker to a relative that lives with her, a professor, a Grandmother to her grandchildren that live abroad, and a role model to many in her neighborhood. She works tirelessly in making her city safe and welcoming in any way she can. Anytime you walk into her home you can find her tutoring students math lessons in her garden, renovating neighboring houses in order to create AirBnbs for military members traveling the area, teaching violin lessons to her grandchildren overseas, or walking her large pack of dogs.

Dr. Carter is not only dedicated to boarding dogs for DoD, taking on at least one dog every year, but also dedicated to rescuing dogs in her local shelters. Dr. Carter works closely with animal shelters in Mobile, AL, some of the most overcrowded shelters in the South, and takes in dogs destined to be euthanized, and gives them a second chance at life. Whether this means finding them a home herself or organizing their transportation to New York for a better a chance at adoption, she continuously puts their needs before her own. Dr. Carter is responsible for saving the lives of hundreds of dogs over the years, and has no plans of slowing down. Just recently, she starting putting a new non-profit into play that pairs elderly dogs with the elderly to live out the rest of their days with a loving and easy going family.

Dr. Carter has become more than just a boarder to me, she has become my personal role model and someone that I can talk to about anything. I truly believe that anyone that has met Dr. Carter would agree. Although my deployment was delayed, we stayed in touch everyday, and still do. I can reach out to her with any problems I have, whether it be about Bubba, work, or anything in between, she is always a phone call away, even with her busy schedule. Dr. Carter deserves to be recognized as a Dogs on Deployment “Honor Guard,” for her dedication as a DoD Boarder, her role in the community, and her dedication to rescuing dogs.”

Jan Jensen

With Gratitude from Alex Carlier

Arlo and Roubidoux looking patriotic.

“Jan has a gift with animals, and we were fortunate to witness her love for both us and our dogs Arlo and Roubidoux. She soothed our apprehension about parting with our older dog Arlo during my one-year overseas assignment. Jan came to visit us at our home to get to know the girls in their own environment. Then she invited us to an afternoon stay so the girls could familiarize themselves with her home as well as being left alone. We felt at ease by the time we left for Tbilisi.

During the assignment, Jan sent regular updates, photos, and videos. She provided a remarkably loving environment for our girls. Our dogs were included in super fun familial events. They witnessed the appearance of the 2019 Twenty Mule Team in Death Valley where Roubidoux and Jan won honorable mention at the Pampered Pet Parade in the costume contest (we were robbed! ;)), took trips to Big Sur and Copco Lake, felt the wind through their fur on their first outing on a boat with a motor, and became comfortable with all of Jan’s pets: cats, horse, and turtle, too!

As our dog Arlo continued to slow down, Jan kept us updated and took special care of her. She adjusted her routine as well as continued to customize Arlo’s care with the hope that we could be reunited. When our orders were extended by several months due to COVID, Jan adapted to the change and supported us. We know that we were able to be reunited with Arlo because of the special care Jan took of our girl. Shortly after reuniting with Arlo, she passed away. Jan loved our dogs like her own and mourns with us over her loss. We are forever grateful for Jan and her heart for both animals and serving the military. We are also thankful to have her as a friend. The military requires a lot of flexibility and resilience, and Jan played a critical part in our family’s resilience for this tour.”

Alisa Johnson, President of Dogs on Deployment says of Jan, “In all my communications with Jan, especially after the tragic loss of Arlo, and enduring the California wildfires, her heart shows through her messages. She’s a great soul, and I am thankful to have her as a volunteer with Dogs on Deployment.”

Category of Military Member & Pet Owner

Michael & Jeanne Harty

Damian recovering after surgery.

Michael and Jeanne are a military family with a senior aged family dog, Damian, that was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma last fall. Jeanne says, “The dream of him watching him grow old was shattered,” of when she received the diagnosis. They prepared to make Damian comfortable in his final days, when something unexpected happened. The tumor grew so large, it broke Damian’s front leg and he had to have it amputated. This unfortunate turn of events, ended up being a blessing in disguise as Damian became a candidate for chemotherapy and after 5 rounds, he was showing progress.

Now the family faces heavy bills to cover the costs already incurred for Damian’s care, as well as the chemotherapy needed in the future. Jeanne says, ” If he isn’t ready to give up and is going to fight than I for sure would do anything in my power to make it work for him.  He’s been doing great and we’re so proud of him.”

Dogs on Deployment is currently fundraising to help cover up to $3000 for Damian’s medical bills. You can donate here. 

Additional pet owners to receive a Tractor Supply Gift card as a part of the DoD Honor Guard for the month of September include:

Dogs on Deployment extends a very special thanks to Tractor Supply Co. (TCS). Read more about our incredible partnership in 2020 by clicking here.

Follow the DoD Honor Guard program with #dodhonorguard!

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