PACT Offers Foster Care For Pets Of Military Personnel - FOX 35 News Orlando

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PACT Offers Foster Care For Pets Of Military Personnel

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Right now, there are roughly 1.5 million US Service Members serving overseas.

It's hard enough for them to leave behind their spouses, children, parents and friends. Furthermore, what happens to their four legged friends when they get called to duty?

Reunions between a soldier returning from war and his devoted dog are heartwarming and highlight the unbreakable bond between humans and dogs. Army specialist Bryce Behymer, who adopted his canine companion Cabella from a shelter, can relate.

"When we got her, I actually walked through a kennel and I saw this little ball of red and I was like, ‘you are coming home with me,' so her and I have an attachment. She is definitely my dog." said Behymer.

It wasn't easy for Bryce to leave Cabella when he was deployed to Afghanistan for nine months. And once in combat, Behymer was busy saving lives.

"I am a Black Hawk crew chief," Behymer described. "We are the ones going in and picking up the patients. They would call us in, 'we've got an injured soldier' and we go get them in the battlefield bring them back and make sure they get the care they needed."

however, soon after Bryce left on his tour of duty, his wife Rachel and Cabella, were evicted from their apartment after the rules changed regarding having pit bulls.

"It was like what am I going to do. I'm not going to give her up. That is not going to happen," said Rachel Cole, Bryce's wife. "She was in a kennel for two week because I had nowhere to take her. I felt horrible."

"There are so many military families that have to give up their dogs because of deployment," she added.

Rachel turned to the Internet and that's where she found PACT, a nonprofit organization that finds foster families for military pets.

Buzz Miller, a passionate animal advocate, created the program.

"They can't take care of their animal and they love their animals and we're there to provide a safe haven because it comes down to a shelter or us," Miller told FOX 29's Dawn Timmeney. "This is my life and I love it. we have saved so many animals."

There is a tremendous need for foster families, so when the Wolgin family heard about the program, they were eager to help out. Carefully screened by PACT, they happily fostered Cabella while Bryce was overseas.

"We felt they were helping us out by serving our country, so we wanted to help them out by making sure when they came home from a very hard situation they could be reunited with their pet," said Tori Wolgin.

"It was a huge relief," remarked Cole.

"The best part, I kept getting emails while I was deployed and it was pictures of her and the kids and the dog out back running around," recalled Behymer.

Cabella, who was still a puppy at the time, made herself quite at home with Tori, Josh, their four children and their furry family members, especially Flash, the Burmese Mountain dog.

"She really fit right in. Everybody could walk her. She slept with our daughter every night," said Tori Wolgin.

"She just slept at the end of my bed and kept on schooching up until she got on the pillow," said Sacha Wolgin

"She really likes me and I like her too," said Tennessee Wolgin.

"Just having her. She was so much fun," said Arianna Wolgin.

While fostering a pet for a military family involves time, hard work and commitment, that was actually the easy part. The toughest part has to be giving the dog back.

"It was crazy hard, the entire family was in tears when Cabella and Bryce and Rachel left," said Josh Wolgin.

However, it was special and super rewarding and the Wolgins say they'll do it all over again for another member of the military.

"I think we feel really really good about it," said Wyatt Wolgin.

"It was great coming home and seeing her again. It was just awesome," Behymer said.

Equally awesome, the special friendship between the Wolgins and Bryce and Rachel, and of course between Cabella and Flash.

For more information on how you can foster a pet for members of the military go here: http://WWW.PACTFORANIMALS.ORG.

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