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AMEDDC&S helps retiring pets find homes

By David DeKunder | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | April 7, 2017

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —

The U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School is giving service members and the public an opportunity to adopt military or government-owned pets looking for a new home.

AMEDDC&S has launched a new website, https://ke.army.mil/petadoption, to help retiring dogs and cats housed at the AMEDDC&S Veterinary Training Center, Animal Health Branch, at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston find a new owner or family to take them in.

Service members and the public can adopt an animal free of charge. The photos and information of the dogs and cats that will be put up for adoption can be viewed on the website, as well as the AMEDDC&S adoption policy and online application for adopting a pet.

The animals being put up for adoption have served for several years at the AMEDDC&S Veterinary Training Center in helping to teach Army animal care specialists, or veterinary technicians, the basics of caring for animals, including health checks, physical exams, vaccinations and husbandry tasks like routine grooming.

None of the animals being put up for adoption are retired military working dogs or have been trained to do detection and/or patrol work.

“The goal of the adoption program is to retire our animals to a loving home after their service,” said Dr. Susan Gogolski, AMEDDC&S Department of Veterinary Science, Animal Health Branch, supervisory veterinary medical officer/instructor. “The animals are so loving and patient. The right thing to do when they become older is to find that relaxing couch and home.”

Gogolski started the idea for the pet adoption website when she arrived at the AMEDDC&S Veterinary Training Center in 2014 from JBSA-Lackland, where she worked in the military working dog hospital. She based her idea from a website at JBSA-Lackland that puts retiring military working dogs up for adoption.

With the help of AMEDD Public Affairs, the adoption website for dogs and cats went online three months ago.

Lt. Col. Douglas Owens, AMEDDC&S Department of Veterinary Science Animal Health Branch chief, said all the animals that are being put up for adoption are tame, well-behaved and non-aggressive. 

“They are very social,” Owens said. “They are very good with other pets and used to being handled by people. All of these animals, dogs and cats that we have, are very calm and very good-natured.”

Owens said the animals at the Veterinary Training Center are well cared for, getting routine medical and physical checkups, annual dental cleanings, toys, treats and lots of exercise either on walks with staff members or playtime with the other animals.

“Both the animal interaction and human interaction they get on a daily basis helps them to be very well-adjusted,” he said.

Service members and the public who apply online to adopt an animal will be able to come by the Veterinary Training Center to meet the potential pet before deciding to go through with an adoption.

Before the animals are adopted out, Owens said AMEDDC&S veterinarians will screen them to make sure they are up to date on vaccinations, spayed or neutered, and healthy on physical exam and up to date on vaccinations. All of these services will be provided free of charge to anyone adopting the animal.

In addition, new pet owners will be provided copies of portions of the animal’s medical record to give to their local veterinarian.

Owens said government-owned animals who help in the training of Animal Care Specialists deserve to have a good quality of life after their service ends.

“In a way it’s a service for these people to adopt these animals to give back for what they have contributed to teach our Soldiers,” he said. “Without these dogs and cats, we could not do what we do. In our viewpoint, this is serving your country by making sure these animals have a good quality of life in their retirement.”

Desire Michaelian, AMEDDC&S Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee Administrator, said the new adoption website will serve the needs of retiring animals and members of the public looking for a new animal companion.

“We want these dogs and cats to have great homes,” Michaelian said. “For the animals, the benefit is obvious, they get to be someone’s loving companion. The people will benefit by having that companionship of dogs or cats. Also our staff benefits because we know that these animals are going to go somewhere and live life peacefully and happily.”

To adopt a dog or cat on the website, fill out the adoption application by clicking on the link titled “Adoption Application” at https://ke.army.mil/petadoption/ and email it to usarmy.jbsa.medcom-ameddcs.mbx.dvs-ahb@mail.mil. The adoption policy can be viewed at https://ke.army.mil/petadoption/docs/policy.pdf.