Soldiers Reunite with Pets, Thanks to Nonprofit Foster Program

Gladwyne, PA – Memorial Day is when Americans pay tribute to the brave men and women who volunteer in the military to defend and protect our sacred freedom as Americans. However many soldiers are faced with a difficult choice when they’re called up to serve—whether or not to surrender their beloved pets to a shelter.

Andrew and Kathleen Barton, both with the National Guard, were being deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 and had no one to care for their dogs Veda and Sasha. They knew that leaving them at a shelter in their hometown in Southern New Jersey would lead to one of two possible outcomes: adoption or euthanasia. Each year, eight million pets enter shelters in the U.S., but only four million ever find homes.

Buzz Miller, a retired Philadelphia attorney, heard about the Barton’s situation and had a solution: the PACT Military Pet Foster Program ( Miller founded the nonprofit organization in 2010 to give peace of mind to deployed servicemen. Miller arranged for the Barton’s beloved dogs to be fostered by the Calaversi family in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Dogs Sasha and Veda soon felt right at home with the family and their Boxer, Duke.

Upon their return home from deployment in 2012, the Bartons presented the Calaversi family with a special commendation from their squadron- a medal and a plaque containing the retired American flag that had accompanied a military aircraft on a mission over Afghanistan.

“This is a win-win situation for both the foster parents who open their hearts to these pets and the solider, who does not have to surrender his or her best friend,” said Miller. “PACT helps strengthen the human-animal bond and ensure that there’s a happy ending.”

It takes an army of volunteers and donors to ensure that foster homes are well suited for the type of pets in need and to cover costs like pet transport, spay/neuter surgery, medical care, pet supplies as well as behavioral training. PACT is committed to ensuring that military families receive this service free of charge, as a small token of thanks for their brave service to our country. To date over 60 beloved companion pets have been placed in foster care by PACT.


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