For many military families, an overseas duty station assignment means having to make the incredibly difficult decision of whether or not it is going to be possible to bring the family pet along.

When my husband received orders to Germany less than three months from his report date, we were unable to make reservations for our beloved family dog, Layla, to join us on the military flight overseas. Thankfully, my sister volunteered to take care of her until we could get both of them on a plane to Frankfurt later that year, but it was hard to be separated from our furry family member for so long. By the time she arrived, we had spent close to $1,000 in vet fees, plane tickets and supplies, and, from what I have heard from others in similar situations, that is on the lower end of what it usually costs to ship a pet to Europe — not to mention all of the heartache and stress involved.

To help keep military families together by relieving some of the financial burden, SPCA International has started the Operation Military Pets (OPM) program. Since its launch in March 2013, OPM has been able to assist over 500 pets and their families by offering grants of $1,000 to help with hefty relocation expenses. The Operation Military Pets Assistance Application is open from the 1st until the 15th of each month.

If you are interested in applying for aid or learning more about OPM, visit

It is important to note SPCA International advises applicants to submit their request as soon as possible due to a large amount of application in process.

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