Volunteers foster Moody's furry friends

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Alexis Millican
  • 23d Wing Public Affairs
On average there were nearly eight million animals surrendered to animal shelters throughout the United States in 2013, according to the National Humane Society website. Roughly half of those animals were adopted leaving the remaining animals to be euthanized.

Finding a safe place for beloved pets can be very stressful, even more so when no family members live nearby. Airmen regularly leave for deployments or TDYs and run into this type of situation. To put Airmen at ease when they are away, Julie and Steve Greenhaw founded Moody Pet Guardian Angels, a program that temporarily houses pets while Airmen are away from home.

"My husband started hearing that a lot of times when Moody Airmen get deployed they have nowhere to put their animals," said Julie Greenhaw, co-founder of Moody Pet Guardian Angels. "They take their pets to the shelter thinking they will get adopted but most end up being put down."

Because of this, the program was founded in an effort save the lives of innocent animals, and to help the military members focus while they are downrange.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Hall, 23d Security Forces Squadron NCO in charge of training, a base representative and volunteer for the Moody Pet Guardian Angels, says pets are a part of the family and believes this is a great program.

"It can be extremely stressful if an Airman is about to [go] TDY or deploy," said Hall. "Often when you deploy, you deploy with a group who happens to be your friends, so where are you going to put these animals you love so much? We don't want Airmen to have to turn to the shelter because you don't know what's going to happen to their pets at the shelter."

The program started at the end of 2013 and continues to actively seek potential homes for animals. It is set up through the Humane Society and local supporters who are working to get the program fully functional.

Moody Pet Guardian Angels is looking to find fosters who will temporarily look after animals until the owners return home. So far only dogs and cats have been fostered, but the group is willing to find fosters for pets of all kinds.

"I used Moody Pet Guardian Angels for about two months," said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Wade Clark, 723d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron communication navigation mission system craftsman. "It's important to find a good place for your pet to go because if you're gone doing training or are deployed you can't worry about your animals or family that you've left behind. If you know they have a good home with somebody who is going to take care of them then it's out of your mind. You're going to miss them still, but you know they are taken care of."

The animal's owner will have a credit card on file with a local vet and is responsible for all necessities to include food, treats and toys. In the future, the program is hoping to receive donations so the cost is taken care of while the owner is away.

By not having to pay to board their animal Airmen are saving money by using Moody Pet Guardian Angels.

"This program helped me save money," said Clark. "If I would have had to board him it would have ended up costing me close to $2,000. Another way it was helpful was he wasn't in a kennel, which made it more enjoyable for him."

To ensure the animal's stay is pleasurable, each pet is matched up with a foster of similar personality, to maximize the compatibility between the two. Clark's dog Magnum and his foster parent connected very well and continue to see each other occasionally.

Anyone interested in finding out more about this program or becoming a foster can contact Julie Greenhaw at 229-460-0718.