SPCA International has awarded its 2,000th grant through its Operation Military Pets (OMP) program, which helps U.S. soldiers transport their pets when they are moved or transferred to duty in the United States and abroad.
The military does not pay for pet relocation when soldiers receive Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders, and families are burdened with the high cost of moving them. Moving pets overseas is also often extremely expensive, sometimes costing thousands of dollars per animal.
The recipient of the 2,000th grant is the Wood family, who applied for an OMP program grant to help move their two yellow Labradors, Thor and Loki, from Hawaii to Chantilly, Virginia. With higher flight costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and heat embargoes, the family needed help with the cost of transporting their beloved pets to their new home.
“They are our children’s companions, tagging along with them from room to room, sleeping with them at night. They are such loving boys, and we would be devastated to ever separate from them,” shared Mrs. Wood, who further explained that she would never allow that to happen.
Sadly, shelters near military bases report high surrender rates caused by military families not being able to afford to relocate their dogs or cats. SPCA International is glad to provide this crucial aid to keep families and pets together.
“We are so grateful to be able to help keep so many families together with their beloved pets,” Meredith Ayan, Executive Director of SPCA International, said in a statement sent to WAN. “Companion animals bring so much joy and stability to members of the military and their families, and these families provide wonderful care and safe homes for thousands of pets.”
SPCA International is proud to have eased this financial burden for over 1,000 American military families since the launch of OMP in March 2013. Families are eligible for OMP financial aid once every three years.