Finding Caregivers for Servicemembers’ Pets

Finding a good caregiver for a pet could become a burden for a servicemember about to be deployed. But online listing and networking site “Dogs on Deployment” could ease that burden.

The site offers military members with pets a connection with boarders willing to open their hearts and homes temporarily to the animals — for free — during the owners’ deployment.

“A servicemember can concentrate on the mission, with peace of mind that their furry family member is loved back stateside,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Alisa Johnson, co-founder and president of Dogs on Deployment LLC. She and her husband, U.S. Navy Lt. Shawn Johnson, co-founded the nonprofit organization and developed the site in 2011.

Dogs on Deployment isn’t just for dogs, Alisa added. “We help all types of pets. ALL animals! We’ve had ferrets, chickens, snakes, and turtles.” Boarders find it rewarding watching a servicemember’s pet, Alisa also said. “Not only are they helping an animal in need, which fulfills the desire to help animals, but they are greatly helping a military member, which is a true act of patriotism.”

DogsOnDeployment Rec'd 8.8.17-c

U.S. Navy Lt. Shawn Johnson and his wife, U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Alisa Johnson — co-founders of “Dogs on Deployment” — are pictured with their dogs, JD and Jersey.  PHOTO: WESTWAY STUDIO

Military members seeking pet care can list their pets on the site, and volunteers willing to be boarders can register on the site. Once accounts are established, the pet owners and boarders can contact each other.

Boarding arrangements are set up by the pet owners and the boarders. Pet owners still have to do their due diligence in making sure a potential boarder is a good fit.

This could include extra steps such as doing background checks, and having face-to-face meetings. Even during deployment, a pet owner retains financial responsibilities for their pet left with a boarder contacted on this site.

Dogs on Deployment’s website lists some tips and other information for pet owners picking a boarder, and for people willing to care for a servicemember’s pet. To learn more, visit


  • Read Dogs on Deployment’s “Terms of Use” found at
  • After background checks have been done to the pet owner’s satisfaction, a thorough interview between the pet owner and potential pet caregiver should occur before finalizing a boarding agreement.
  • Schedule a meet-and-greet that includes the pet and the potential caregiver.Finding Caregivers for Servicemembers’ Pets.

    This blog was originally published as an article in the November 2017 issue of Auxiliary magazine.

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