Frederick Walker had always wanted a dog and when he was ready to take on pet parenthood, he looked to the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) to find a new four-legged family member. It was there that he first met Wook, a one-year-old German Shepard-Lab mix, and it was love at first sight.
“I saw Wook and she immediately ran into my arms and I knew she was the one.”
When she joined the family, Wook quickly became a staple in the household, waiting anxiously for Frederick to greet Frederick when he returned from home each evening and growing close to his newborn son.
“She was very careful around him and was nice to see them growing up together,” said Frederick. “When he was learning to crawl, she would get down on the ground and crawl with him. Both are my babies.”
In the fall of 2017, Frederick, a member of the Marines, received orders for overseas deployment and was in desperate need of finding a good home for Wook while he was away. As the date of his departure grew near, some friends recommended Dogs on Deployment, an organization that “[gives] Military members peace of mind concerning their pets during their service commitments by providing them with the ability to find people and resources able to help them.”
“I heard great things about the organization and how they help Servicemen find a place for their pets while they’re away. They made everything very easy, expedited the whole process and found a home for Wook very quickly.”
Although he was not able to meet Dandi in person before he was deployed, Frederick put his full trust into the organization to find a safe place for his companion while he served his country.
Wook was placed in a loving home with Dandi Armstrong, a local pet parent who wanted to give back by helping Servicemen and women in need. Wook found her place in Dandi’s family within a matter of weeks, enjoying the companionship of Dandi’s two other dogs.
On April 17, Frederick was reunited with Wook at his local PetSmart store.
“When I saw her for the first time, she didn’t even hesitate and ran into my arms. That’s exactly how it was when I first met her.”
Dandi said, “Being at the reunion was the best part of the boarding experience. Seeing Wook’s reaction to her dad – a happy dog’s total contentment in being with her human again – was the rewarding part of the process.”
Over the past three years, Dogs on Deployment has been nominated by Jennifer La Plant, a PetSmart district leader in Southern California, to receive $15,000 in grants from PetSmart Charities. By supporting organizations like this one, PetSmart Charities is providing much needed assistance for pet parents in transition.
“Supporting Dogs on Deployment is how I can give back to those serving our country by providing peace of mind when they get deployed that a fellow pet lover, often a complete stranger will step in to foster their pets while serving our country,” said Jennifer. “Getting to witness first-hand the reunion of Wook and Sergeant Frederick was so special, you could see Wook’s joy having his dad back home safe. It reminded me just how powerful our mission is and the impact each of us can have every day to bring pets and pet parents closer together.”
Without organizations like Dogs on Deployment, Wook’s fate is unknown.
“I’m very thankful that there are programs like this one that help Servicemen out. I don’t know what I have done without them.”
Nonprofit organizations that are interested in getting support from PetSmart Charities, can visit the following link to learn more about Pet Retention funding opportunities.