Old Sarge. Ranger. Stripes. We love our military pets! Our loyal dogs and cats make our military family complete. How can you and your kids help to make your military quarters a happy home for your pets?
Here are 7 tips about living on base that are straight from the horse’s mouth! (Actually, straight from a dog’s mouth. Horses don’t fit in quarters!):
- I want to take it easy.
When you move into a new set of quarters, give me time to adjust. It’s best if you just introduce me to one area of the home at a time. The new, empty environment might make me nervous. Please visit with me often and make sure I have some familiar objects, like my bed, my favorite blanket, and my regular toy.
Human note: This is especially true for cats, who do well with being confined to one small room for a day (with their litter box, of course), and then gradually expanding their environment.
- Then we can meet the neighbors!
I might want to get to know my neighbors too, but let’s take things one step at a time. Just like you, I’ll probably be a little nervous with new people in the house, new noises to get used to, and new smells everywhere. If you think I’m ready, let me meet people one at a time. Let’s go for a walk around the neighborhood and show me the rules. If we keep to our regular schedule, I’ll feel so much happier!
- I don’t want to be a secret.
Be sure to tell the housing office all about me. Let them know how I feel about strangers, kids, and loud noises. Fill out all my paperwork and if they ask, give them a picture of me. I know you think I’m adorable and they will, too. Plus if I get lost, they can help find me.
- Let’s go to the vet!
Wait. Did I just say that?! Yes, I did. Please take me to the local veterinary clinic. They will be able to tell you all you need to know about what shots I need, where to bring my records, and what to look out for in my new home. If we just moved to a new place with a different climate (or bugs, or plants, or animals) than I’m used to, they will help you to keep me happy.
Human Note: Your pet will probably need to be microchipped if they aren’t already. Be sure to update that contact information with the pet finding company, and also update your pet’s tags with your new address.
- Is there a park?
Word on the street is, lots of bases now have dog parks! Woohoo! Let’s find it ASAP, because then I won’t be tempted to play at the kids’ parks where I’m probably not allowed. Plus, I’ll burn so much energy I’ll sleep peacefully at night (and not disturb the new neighbors on the other side of the wall)!
- I want to know the important stuff.
Where can I play? Where do I need to do my business? Am I allowed in the yard? Do I need to stay downstairs? Can I be on the carpet? These are all the things I need to know about our quarters. Show me the rules and I’ll do my best to follow them so we’re all happy! (By the way: can I sleep on your bed tonight?)
- Can we cuddle?
I love it when we’re together. The more time we spend together, the happier I am. But I know you have to go away sometimes, and I’ll miss you. When you have to go away, put me in my crate and have someone I know and trust check on me regularly. Also, let housing know if I’m home for a long time, and that someone is taking care of me. Then when you come back home, our quarters will be perfect and you and I can hang out and play!
About the Author:
Chameleon Kids is the publisher of MILITARY KIDS’ LIFE magazine, the only print magazine for kids of service members. We encourage kids to find the bright side of their military life. Find us at www.chameleonkids.com/magazine