Many military families these days have at least one pet in the household, and it can make for a complicated move when the time comes.
One Marine Corps spouse experienced this hardship first hand. After receiving orders to Japan earlier in 2018, Liz Hensel researched everything she needed to do to bring Prince, her German Shepherd mix, abroad with their family. It was during this research that she discovered military families were paying anywhere from $3,000 up to $10,000 to bring their pets overseas. This did not sit well with Liz.
“Our dog is a constant,” said Liz, who is also a Marine Corps veteran. She was injured during a deployment in Afghanistan and having Prince has improved the quality of family living. “It’s important for me to have our fur-baby.”
Liz understood the importance of the presence of a pet when moving to a foreign country, where about 80% of the time, the service member is deployed. She reached out to three animal loving friends, a combination of veterans and spouses, and Leave No Paws Behind was born.
Leave No Paws Behind is a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to assisting military families with their pet transportation costs when they move to and from overseas locations. Currently, the organization provides grants for ground transportation, air transportation, and crate costs. Families can apply for assistance via the website.
As a hands-on founder, Liz works closely with Leave No Paws Behind, even on important legislation to have pet moving expenses covered. This new amendment would create space in the defense budget to cover up to $4,500 for pet transportation.
The amendment was introduced to the National Defense Authorization Act in October, with the help of Senator Cory Booker (NJ).
“There’s a lack of communication between the service branches and travel agents or airlines and there are different ways to track a move,” said Liz when it came to common pain points. “We need to have the same system for all branches.”
Currently, Leave No Paws Behind is taking donations to help fund pet moving expenses for military families. If you are interested in helping this nonprofit, check out their website.