There is an interesting article in Military OneSource about choosing the right pet. The author, Melissa, is a military spouse and has a unique perspective that brought back some memories of my childhood and the many pets we always seemed to have close by to love and play with. Until reading her post I never gave any thought to those times when my dad was off serving in Vietnam or travelling to far away places for extended periods of time. My mom had five of us kids all born within a couple of years of one another and usually a pet or two as well.
My dad loved animals. He even had a pet monkey during one of his tours in Vietnam. I remember his big smiles when we’d get photos from him with that small monkey on his shoulder. We knew he was in good company and the smiles were very reassuring for us as we couldn’t avoid the nasty news that war was generating here in the states.
The first dog I remember was Hobo, a German Shepard. Hobo was a nice dog we all loved. The poor guys driving by on motorcycles or loud trucks didn’t appreciate him much though as he was fast, barked loud, and was a pretty effective chasing machine. We ultimately had to pen Hobo up, which we hated doing because he was always so much fun to wander around the neighborhood woods with.
Subsequent to Hobo we had Sassy, a black lab, Dux, a Westie, and a plenty of other animals to keep us surrounded by love and fun.
What I never fully appreciated is how much work it must have been for my mom to take of 5 small children and pets while was dad was away. Melissa’s post is worth a read if you’re part of a military family or have a spouse that travels for long periods of time. Not only is it difficult to handle everything that may need handling when a spouse is away, but military families move much more frequently than a non-military family and pets add another layer of complexity to the situation that should be considered when deciding what kind of pet is best for your family.