Consider this predicament: you are a U.S. service member and you receive orders to deploy or move to a temporary duty station for an extended period of time. If you are a pet owner what do you do with your pet if a family member or friend can not care for your pet for that length of time?

Shawn & Alisa Johnson, who serve in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps respectively, created a social site that allows service members who need help with their pets in situations like this to easily find it. Thus, Dogs on Deployment was born.

Q & A: Shawn & Alisa Johnson, founders of Dogs on Deployment

Who are the founders?

  • Dogs on Deployment was founded by husband and wife, Shawn and Alisa Johnson, who serve in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps respectively. They started Dogs on Deployment in June 2011. They own two Australian Shepherds and a Caique parrot.

Why create the site?

  • In 2011, Alisa received orders to Quantico, Va. for a six-month Marine Corps school where she was required to live in military housing which did not allow pets. During this time, Shawn was scheduled to deploy. They stressed over where their dog was going to live, but eventually contacted a family member who was willing to watch him during for the length of time needed. They were lucky, but recognized that there are service members who don’t have the support they did. Alisa and Shawn wanted to create a social site which would allow service members who need help with their pets, easily find it. Thus, Dogs on Deployment was born.

What is Dogs on Deployment?

  • Military members nation-wide confront a multitude of problems during their career. The last problem they want to worry about is what to do with their beloved family pet when it’s time for them to deploy. Service members have limited options for their pets when they have to go overseas. Many owners have had to relinquish their pets to shelters when they thought they had nowhere else to go. Dogs On Deployment is a licensed non-profit provides an online resource for military members to search for volunteers who are willing to board their pets for the length of their deployment or training schedule. We support all branches of the Armed Services and accept applications from active duty, reservists and retired military personnel.

How does it work?

  • Families and individuals may sign up to become a “DoD Boarder” by visiting our website and completing an application which will be posted online in a searchable database. DoD Boarders will be notified of Pets in Need in their area, search in other areas and they may contact the owners via email.
  • Service members about to deploy who need a temporary home can list their pet by visiting our website and completing an application which will be posted online in a searchable database Service members will be notified of DoD Boarders in their area, search for a DoD Boarder in other areas and they may contact DoD Boarders via email.
  • The pet owner is in charge of who they choose to board their pet. When they have chosen a suitable DoD Boarder, their listing will be deactivated. They can use our Owner Resources to prepare their pet for the DoD Boarder’s household.
  • Simple as that! Dogs on Deployment is a place for people who love animals and who love their country to get a chance to really support their troops by giving service member’s dogs a place to call home when they would otherwise not have one.

Is there any additional information that you might want to include?

  • On Dec 31, 2011 Dogs on Deployment filed for their 501c3 tax-exempt status. They are also in the process of professionally redesigning their website. Please support their endeavors to improve the service they offer to military members and volunteers by donating any amount to via PayPal.


This  Memorial Day, how will you honor the men, women, and even animals who serve our country? Consider making a donation to Dogs on Deployment or become a volunteer boarder.

For more information about Dogs on Deployment go to or visit their facebook page at


One Response to Military Members Face Limited Options on Boarding Pets When Ordered to Deploy or Move

  1. Gigi says:

    Another option I’ve seen military personnel use is or They’re housesitting sites that are also often used as petsitting sites. If you own a home and want to leave your dog in your own home while you are gone, this may be a good option. It’s basically an exchange: your dog gets the care it needs and the housesitter gets to live at your pad for free (or just for the cost of utilities).

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