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Tails from the Front Line

Official Blog of Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet

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National Headquarters

Looking to roll up your sleeves and get involved? Volunteer Opportunities Available

Have you ever thought about rolling up your sleeves and getting involved with a national 501(c)3 nonprofit?  Well now you can, from the comforts of your own home, with the skills you already have!

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet like many “All Volunteer” 501c3 nonprofit organizations is only able to operate and accomplish its mission due to the generosity, time, and energy provided by those who wish to make a difference in our society – volunteers.

The organization is looking for national, regional and state volunteers to fill key positions within our organization.  If you have skills such as administration, bookkeeping, marketing, or project management – then we want to talk to you!

Learn more about all the opportunities, the qualifications and how you can get involved – click on the page below.

Volunteer Page

Help Us “Raise the Roof” and Build a National Office

Since Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet began in January 2005, our “day-to-day operations” have been handled in the CEO’s residence (55-60% of home). Now in 2017 it is time we are working toward establishing an official “national office” to handle these operations with an actual volunteer “Admin Staff” to assist the organization’s CEO.

Today though we are waiting from an estimated cost for a 14’ x 30’ Leland “Chisholm Trail Cabin” from what we know we feel we are at the point that we can officially establish an official “Capital Campaign” to make this project a reality in order to raise $35,000.

Besides being able to have an “Admin Staff” having a separate building, we can meet with other volunteers involved with fundraising in Central TX for the other MVP Sanctuary projects; meet with members of the military and veteran communities and other interested parties. In addition we can plan for activities/events at the MVP Sanctuary.

Full details can be found on our website, including how you can get involved.

Make a donation to the Campaign, by clicking here.

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet Announces 2017 Board Members

All volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit military and veteran service organization cares for soldier’s pets.

Gatesville, TX – Effective January 1, 2017, Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet announced the 2017 Board of Directors for the organization as follows:

  • President: Linda Spurlin-Dominik
  • Vice President: Victoria Scott
  • Secretary: Danielle Mancuso
  • Treasurer: MAJ Nancy Emma, USA (Ret.)
  • Director: Jaime Mertz
  • Director: Jessica Semon


Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet© Board of Director members (officers and directors) primary responsibility is providing overall governance to the organization, representing it to the community, and accepting the ultimate legal authority for the organization.

About Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet:

ALL volunteer 501c3 nonprofit “Military & Veterans Service Organization” (MVSO) supporting our active duty  Military, Wounded Warriors,  homeless Veterans, and their beloved Pets to ensure the pets are reunited with their owners following a deployment  related to a combat or peace-keeping or humanitarian mission  or unforeseen medical and/or homeless hardship  situation through various programs/services/projects.  For more information on providing a foster home, becoming a volunteer, or making a donation to Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet, please visit www.guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org.

Have your taxes prepared and we receive a financial contribution!

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet is partnering with H&R Block this tax season (thru April 15, 2016)!

  1. Click on pic provide,
  2. print copy, and
  3. take it to the office when you have your tax return prepared.

It’s that easy!

If you are a new H&R Block client, Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet will get a $20 contribution. Please feel free to share with others – Another way to support our mission and efforts without costing you a dime.

Many thanks to all who support us now and it the past. Without your help we can do what we do!

 

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Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet Announces 2016 Board Members

All volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit military and veteran service organization cares for soldier’s pets.

Gatesville, TX – Effective January 1, 2016, Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet announced the 2016 Board of Directors for the organization as follows:

  • President: Jessica Semon
  • Vice President: Victoria Scott
  • Secretary: Danielle Mancuso
  • Treasurer: Cherie Boudreaux
  • Director: Nancy Emma


Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet© Board of Director members (officers and directors) primary responsibility is providing overall governance to the organization, representing it to the community, and accepting the ultimate legal authority for the organization.

About Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet:

ALL volunteer 501c3 nonprofit “Military & Veterans Service Organization” (MVSO) supporting our active duty  Military, Wounded Warriors,  homeless Veterans, and their beloved Pets to ensure the pets are reunited with their owners following a deployment  related to a combat or peace-keeping or humanitarian mission  or unforeseen medical and/or homeless hardship  situation through various programs/services/projects.  For more information on providing a foster home, becoming a volunteer, or making a donation to Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet, please visit www.guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org or http://www.mvpsanctuary.org 

A Homeless Veteran and His Best Friend Zeus

How many of you adore your dog and treat him as if he were your child? I know I do. I talk to him, I feed him, I walk him, I hug him and I generally spoil him rotten. In return he follows me wherever I go, he licks my face, sleeps next to me, protects me and loves me unconditionally.
Now imagine that you have to decide whether to give your dog up or become homeless to keep him? How many of you would choose homelessness?

Zeus vet story 4
Zeus

For veteran Airman, Clarence, the answer was clear. Go homeless. He would not leave Zeus behind no matter what. “We’d been together for 8 or 9 years and basically he’s the only friend I got.”

Clarence had fallen on hard times after being injured on the job as a corrections officer. “I got injured in Lebanon prison. I was a CO (corrections officer) up there for a couple of years and I got into a fight in a phone booth with an inmate. And what happened when I came out? I got two vertebrae’s touching a nerve and I got another chipped vertebrae.”

Despite being unable to return to work Clarence was denied disability. “If I get in an accident or if I slip and fall I could be paralyzed for the rest of my life.”

After losing most of his income Clarence moved in with his sister for a short time, but she wasn’t allowed to have dogs in her apartment so he eventually got kicked out. “We stayed down the street in an open field in a tent for a couple of days.”

Clarence had been working with Gentry, a case worker with the Veteran’s Affairs office so he gave him a call. “I told him what was going on and he hooked me up with you and Martha and a few other people. And we put him (Zeus) in a kennel for a while.”

It was Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet© (GAfSP) that had put Zeus up in the kennel until they could find a foster home for Zeus. While he was there, GAfSP paid not only for the boarding fee but they also paid for Zeus to be neutered and to have a microchip.

Victoria S., the Northeast Regional Director, put Jamie M., the Pennsylvania Foster Coordination Liaison in charge of finding Zeus a foster home. According to Jamie, “It was fairly urgent that we got him (Zeus) out of there just for the cost and for Zeus’s well-being. Unfortunately Clarence thought Zeus needed to be an only pet so that limited our search. It was even harder in that a lot of people shy away from Akitas.”

And so the search began. “So I called I think every single person in the Ohio workbook. I reached out to VA’s I reached out to VFW’s American Legion, you know, all types of veteran organizations in Ohio. I sent out flyers.” Jamie got a couple of responses but each family already had other pets. “I opened up the search to Pennsylvania as well as New Jersey and I thought that if we found the perfect place we’d figure out how to get Zeus to his home.”

According to Jamie, “It wasn’t just me. I had an army of people.” Some of those most involved include Liz D., the New York Foster Coordination Liaison, Victoria S., the Northeast Regional Director, Jamie even recruited her mom and dad into helping.

Putting the word out finally paid off when a friend of Jamie’s recommended a friend of his who was a veteran himself who loved dogs. Thinking this was the ideal solution Jaime sent her husband, David, to Dayton, Ohio, to pick up Zeus while she went to do a home visit. What she discovered was shocking. “It turned out that he was a hoarder and there was not even one path through his rooms, he lived alone and things just unfortunately got out of hand. So I was panicking. I would not leave my dog there; it was dangerous. It was dangerous even for him (the hoarder) and I didn’t feel comfortable.”

Meanwhile David was almost to Columbus and thankfully Jamie’s father lived there so David was able to put his trip on hold and stay the night in Columbus. Once again Jamie was in a panic. “I called everybody I knew, every single dog person I knew…got the word out there because we needed a home right away.” Luckily Jamie found a woman in New Jersey who had just signed up to be a foster and although she wasn’t 100% comfortable at first knowing that Zeus was such a large dog, she finally came around when Jamie explained that Zeus was an older dog and he was a big teddy bear and a couch potato. For the first time in a long time Jamie was finally able to sleep easy without worrying about where Zeus would go.

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Clarence, Zeus and David

“So I called my husband and said instead of coming back home with him you’re going to Cape May, New Jersey with Zeus. He said yup that’s fine.” About an hour later disaster would strike once again. “Like an hour later I get a call from the woman in Cape May in tears.” It turns out she lives in a community where they can’t have dogs that weigh over 50 pounds. “So at that point we’re back to square one and Zeus is in the truck.”
Jamie immediately began calling more people in her Pennsylvania workbook including calling people that had pets. With little hope of finding a home that would work, Jamie made one more call to a woman named Martha. “She’s a brilliant doctor that does a lot of volunteering with different humane societies and her local shelters. She has horses and goats and dogs and cats and I said no way it’s gonna work there and she said yea drop him off it’s fine. She (Martha) just stepped up, like there was no thought involved. I told her this whole desperate story and she was like yea drop him off, no big deal. Like “well” you don’t understand he’s an Akita. Yea that’s fine. You don’t understand he’s 8 and he doesn’t get along with anybody. Yup that’ll work.” So once again Jamie called her husband and had him change directions. He was now headed away from New Jersey and toward Pennsylvania.

Zeus finally arrived at his new foster home and the big test was going to be seeing how he would get along with all of the various animals that lived on Martha’s farm. As Martha so eloquently put it, “I knew it was a big risk because I didn’t know anything about this dog because he’s big and potentially he could have eaten me and eaten everybody else here but he was a lovely dog.” (I have to say I was relieved to hear that Zeus didn’t eat anybody or any of the animals at Martha’s farm!)

Back in Dayton, Clarence tried not to worry about Zeus as he moved into transitional housing at Volunteers of America. He was working at Kroger as a greeter and saving up money so that he could get back into an apartment or house where he could keep Zeus. He would periodically make calls to Martha to check on Zeus and they would exchange emails, but he said it was emotionally difficult to have Zeus so far away.

But despite missing Zeus, Clarence needn’t have worried about Zeus’s care. Martha was making sure that all of his veterinary needs were taken care of and he had plenty of pals to play with. “He (Zeus) and the goat and sheep played a lot. The sheep and goat would chase him and then he’d chase them.” Zeus was also a gentleman when it came to the chickens, horses, cats and other dogs. According to Martha, “He was probably the best trained dog that I’ve ever had. So even though he was huge he was very nice which made it much easier.”

Jamie also stayed in contact with Martha and made sure to send her heart-worm and any other supplies she needed.

Zeus vet story
Gentry, Clarence and David at the Volunteers of America

What was originally supposed to be a 4 month stay turned into 10 months. But eventually the day came to take Zeus back home and Jamie was determined to get him there. “So finally when he got an apartment, I thought, whatever we need to do to get Zeus back home let’s do it and Martha’s like I’ll drive him out, no big deal. And she did. She drove him 5 hours one way and met him, did the whole reunion thing, drove back all in one day. She is awesome.”

Martha told me that she wanted to drive Zeus home. She wanted to meet Clarence and let him know about some health issues that he (Zeus) developed and make sure he had food and any other items he might need.

When she arrived she said, “I was like totally excited and just almost in tears when I saw he had a lovely quiet little cottage with a little nice yard around it and trees and, oh my gosh, Clarence is a wonderful man, beautiful man.”

When Zeus got out of the car Martha said, “He just jumped on Clarence’s shoulders, put his paws up there and danced around at his feet!” After that she jokingly said he was so excited he had to stop and do his business! Clarence described his reunion like this. “I thought it was great! A week later I became a granddad for the first time and it’s kind of like the same experience.”

Martha and Clarence both experienced something special from this arrangement. Clarence said of Martha, “Can’t ask for a better friend and I just don’t really know why people do things for you like that; it’s just amazing.”

But Martha shared a mutual respect for Clarence. “He’s a real gentleman, nice guy, and I really was just amazed and thankful that everything’s gonna…I think he’ll be okay.”

As for Jamie, she still keeps in touch with Clarence to make sure he’s doing well. She has even helped Clarence with some vet bills for Zeus when he didn’t have the money because he’d just paid his rent. She told Clarence, “I don’t want you to have to worry about giving him up again because of some silly $200.00 thing.” She added, “It’s Clarence’s dog, he’s had him since he was a puppy. They need each other at this point.”

Clarence says he will be forever grateful to Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet, Martha and Jamie. “It kept me from losing him (Zeus) and we reunited and I’m passing the word on to other people at the VA.”

I would like to personally congratulate Jamie, her husband David, Victoria, Liz and all of those who assisted Jamie in getting the word out, Martha and Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet for a job well done and giving Airman Clarence and Zeus their happily ever after!
And to Clarence, God bless you for serving our great country!

 

Article Written by Laurie Sickles

Foster Coordination Liaison Volunteer Recruiting Need

We are looking for individuals who wish to become part of the Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet mission as a Foster Coordination Liaison (FCL) involved with working with our service members, wounded warriors, veterans, and families of our fallen warriors who need assistance via our MVP Foster Home program, which also includes vetting and interacting with those individuals and families who have registered as potential foster homes through our organization.

Primarily at this time we are looking for FCLs to cover the states of AR/OK, AZ, CO, LA, MN, MO, NV, AL/GA, NC/SC, TN, VA/WV, MD/DC, and TX.

This is a virtual volunteer role where your efforts can be accomplished via the phone and Internet (emails) and includes the following criteria:

  • A passion to help our military service members, wounded warriors, veterans, and families of our fallen warriors.
  • Interact and maintain communication with our registered potential foster homes, plus work with others (inside and outside the organization) as required
  • Be a self-starter, has excellent organizational, interpersonal, and management skills, plus able to work independently and as a “team” player.
  • Understand and agree to follow and adhere to the Organization’s mission, purpose, operating procedures, and organizational policies/guidelines.
  • Comfortable using and access to MS office (such as Word, Excel), communicate via the internet, phone calls, and email.
  • Previous customer service, volunteer nonprofit managerial and animal related coordination/placement experience helpful
  • Help promote the organization, it’s mission, and programs with others via sharing our flyers, brochures, and other items as requested by the organization’s National office.
  • Able to commit at least 1 year in this position
  • Provide the required monthly reports (coordination activity and volunteer service hours) by the date as determined by the organization’s National office.
  • Estimated Volunteer Time per Month: averaging 25-30 hours – Please be advised actual hours per month is variable on a state by state basis.

Those interested in learning more about the volunteer positions or to apply, visit HERE.

Honoring and Remembering the Chattanooga 5

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On Thursday, July 23, we lowered the flags to half staff honoring and remembering the Chattanooga 5 Fallen Warriors in Tennessee at the entrance to our property in Texas.  The flags will remain at Half Staff until the morning of August 1, 2015.  As part of the “Fallen Warriors Memorial Garden” at our Texas property there will be one brick for each warrior known as the Chattanooga 5 as part of the wall surrounding the memorial garden, plus a “red rose tree” in the garden will be dedicated to the Chattanooga 5 so to further ensure they are never forgotten.


*Chattanooga 5 Fallen Warriors

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Scott Smith (OH)
Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist (WI)
Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt (AR)
Lance Cpl. Squire K. ‘Skip’ Wells (GA)
Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan (MA)

“Never to be Forgotten”

Submitted by: Linda Spurlin-Dominik, Founder/CEO, Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet©

URGENT HELP Needed to Replenish Military Pet Assistance (MPA) Fund

GingerPic
Ginger, veteran’s pet that has been helped through the MPA fund this month

WE NEED YOUR HELP! So far this month we have spent  over $1,200 dollars via our Military Pet Assistance (MPA) fund helping homeless veterans and their companion animals (for necessary veterinarian care and temporary pet boarding). As of this morning we have below $800 in the fund with four open cases (AR, MA, and IN) with two possibly forthcoming from CO and MN.  Therefore we need to raise a minimum of $3,000 between now and 6/30/15  to handle these cases and additional cases expected over the next couple of weeks.  We have applications in for grants and a couple more being worked on, but those take time and no guarantee funding will be available although we have confirmed our program is eligible and were advised to submit the applications.

We hope those who can help will do so and help us spread the word about this need to continue helping our homeless veterans so they can get the “hand up” via the VA or VA approved Homeless Veteran Transition programs across the country.  Please consider doing a third party fundraiser benefiting the MPA fund program as an individual via your employer.  It’s also a good time of year to give your children something to do (dog wash, coin walk, car wash, etc.).

Though deployments are down to a certain degree, helping our veterans, especially the Homeless Veterans, the work is just beginning as the various agencies across the country helping these veterans are learning about our programs and services.

For those who can contribute may do so in any of the following ways:

  • PayPal using email: mpa@guardianangelsforsoldierspet.org
  • Click on the first “Donate Button” on our website (all contributions coming in between now and 6/30/15 will be allocated to the MPA fund program).
  • Check/money order payable to: Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet (Memo Line: MPA) and mail to Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet, 9725 FM 1783, Gatesville, TX 76528-4739.

Thank you all for helping in any way you can. Our veterans (pre- and post- 9/11) need our help and we need your help (donating or spreading the word to others who may be interested in donating) to continue this program.

 

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