Resources For Soldiers Wanting To Adopt Pets Overseas

Our question this week was:

Last week a user (a soldier) sent us a question about caring for a cat in Iraq. We sent him some tips but also got a very thoughtful and useful response from a user that we wanted to share in hopes it helps other pets and soldiers.


Dr. Debra,

I was so touched by the recent questions of a U.S. soldier stationed in Iraq who wants to properly care for the kitten he has adopted while there. As I read, I thought how unfair it seems that both he and Durka (the kitty) have to say goodbye when his tour is over–after all the comfort they’ve received from each other through their bond.

While I can’t financially afford to help him, I did some surfing on the web and found some sites that might be helpful to him. In particular, the SPCA International seems to be helping soldiers bring home the dogs and cats they adopt while in war zones. The soldier who wrote you may
have to work harder than a stateside American adopting from a shelter, but it seems it may actually be possible for Durka to become an American kitty. Please share with him (or post in your newsletter) the list of sites below, especially the top two links for SPCA International, or pass along my email address to him if you are able.

From my research, his “unique” position isn’t quite as unique as he may think. MANY individual soldiers and entire units have adopted local strays, and the lives of both the humans and the animals are immeasurably brightened. The pets help the soldiers retain their humanity, and the soldiers give the pets lives filled with love, affection, and reliable meals. The soldier(s) would lose a friend upon coming home, but more tragically, an animal who became tamed and loving, and who learned to rely on benevolent people would be thrown back into the streets to fend for itself. All involved deserve better.

I don’t know how long until he is sent home, but I urge you to share this information with him as soon as possible since I don’t know how much red tape–and therefore how much time–is involved in getting these pets to their new American homes. If he leaves before the process is finalized, it may be difficult to find Durka.

If you have a problem with ANY of the links, please contact me. I’d hate for even one soldier-animal relationship to be ended unnecessarily.

Thanks so much.
Laurie A., Charles Town, WV