Tag Archives: pets

Love Your Pet Day

by Staff Sgt. Jarrod Chavana
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

For many pet owners, their dog, cat, horse, or ferret is a true part of their family. On Love Your Pet Day, Feb. 20, we asked our social media followers to share photos of their special “fur babies” for this special Air Force pets blog.

We received so many photos that we can’t share them all. Here are a few of our favorites:

“Through all the turmoil & uncertainty that being in the Air Force for 15 years has brought us, it is our fur babies that have been the constant. They have always been there comforting & protecting us. Maggie passed away Feb. 19 and her remains are being spread at the base of Mount Rainier near her favorite campground.” – submitted by Laura Schreiber

Courtesy photo of Maggie submitted by Laura Schreiber

“This is Rebel. He’s the culmination of my lifelong dreams. The Air Force has provided us with many opportunities in the past three years. Having horses back in my life has been a treasured and unexpected one.” – submitted by Jaclyn Kent

Courtsey photo of Rebel submitted Jaclyn Kent

“This is my Friesian mare, Izabeau. A few years ago, I was finally stationed where I could have her with me. She is a very special girl. She was the first baby that was born on my family’s farm. Izabeau also helped me find out that I had stage one thyroid cancer and was a big part of my road to recovery.” – submitted by Tonya Wigger

Courtesy photo by Tonya Wigger

“Sasha means so much to me. I’ve struggled to really get into running my whole life, and this girl makes me so motivated to get moving. I could not ask for a better running and hiking partner in a dog. She is truly part of the family and is my best friend. There’s not much out there that beats the unconditional love of a great dog.”  – submitted by Samantha Rule

Courtesy photo by Samantha Rule

“This is Daphnie and after my wife and kids, she’s the best thing to ever happen to me.” – submitted by Barton Boma 

February 20 is love your pet day and we asked our Facebook fans to provide us with photos of their pets to be placed on our blog.

“Her name is Vinczi. We cook, clean and travel together.” – submitted by Karolina Biernacka

Courtesy photo by Karolina Biernacka

“This is Hayden. She’s very loving, playful, keeps us both entertained and on our toes. When she was little, she used to climb up my boots and ABU pants to sit on my lap… Just like this photo and she’s about six months old now. She’s a big part of our military family and we love her very much.” – submitted by Eric N Angelique

Feb.20, has the unique distinction of being called "Love your pet day," we asked our social media followers to provide us with photos of themselves and their pets, so we could add them to our blog.

“Her name is Athena. My world revolves around her EVERY day because she is mine….and I am hers!” – submitted by Mike Marsden

Feb.20, has the unique distinction of being called "Love your pet day," we asked our social media followers to provide us with photos of themselves and their pets, so we could add them to our blog.  (Courtesy photo by Mike Marsden )

“At first, our partnership was a learning curve…But, now we’ve really bonded. We really are a true team with an unbreakable bond. I trust this dog every day with my life. I could do this for years and I really hope to said,” Senior Airman Samantha Baker, a  380th Security Forces Squadron dog handler. – submitted by U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. April Lapetoda.

Senior Airman Samantha Baker gives her partner, Penny, a hug after successfully completing a training session. Baker is a military working dog handler deployed to the 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. April Lapetoda)

Thanks to everyone who submitted a photo!

Saying goodbye to my best friend

by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Larlee
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

There are some experiences in life that are just miserable. Having to say goodbye to our family dog of 10 years provided me with one of my worst days.

Cheyenne was a rat terrier mix we adopted from a pound when she was about 2-years-old. My wife and I often wondered how she even got to a pound in the first place. She was a well-behaved dog that was always affectionate. We often thought she may have been abused, because she was always jumpy and disliked quick movements and people coming up quietly behind her. She never once bit us or our children. She was equally comfortable running around in the backyard or snoozing in her bed during a family movie marathon. In short, she was the perfect pet.

This is a courtesy photo of Cheyenne given to us by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Larlee.

She had been slowing down recently, but we just thought it was because she was getting old. The end arrived much too quickly. One day I received a frantic text from my wife that there something wrong with our dog. The scene I came home to wasn’t good. Cheyenne was lying on her side and shivering like she was cold. She did not even have the energy to walk. I didn’t even think, I scooped her up and drove her to the veterinarian’s office as quickly as I could.

When I got to the office, they found that her body temperature was 9 degrees cooler than it should be. After warming her up, they took her in for X-rays.

After what seemed like an eternity, the veterinarian technician returned. I could read from her face that she did not have good news. Cheyenne had a huge tumor on her spleen and it was causing her to bleed internally. They could attempt to remove it by surgery, but it would cause our dog a lot of pain and there was no guarantee she would live through the procedure.

The technician proceeded to talk to me about Cheyenne’s quality of life versus quantity of life. I was in shock, but I could read the writing on the wall. It would be unfair and selfish to try to extend my pet’s life a few months because I didn’t want to lose her yet. A slap in the face to the many years of companionship and love she had given us over the years. The logical part of me understood this and made my decision to euthanize her quickly. The emotional part of me was crumbling, and I felt like I was giving up on my friend.

We hastily gathered my family at the veterinarian’s office and said a tearful goodbye to our faithful pet. A trooper to the end, she refused to lie down and received our hugs, kisses and pets standing up with her tail wagging. Doing this must have taxed her greatly. The technician inserted some liquid into the dog’s IV, and in what seemed like seconds, she was gone.

Pet ownership is a weird part of the human experience. At the most you can expect about 15 years with a dog or a cat. Barring you suffering an accident or sudden illness, you are going to outlive your pet. But even with how painful the last few weeks have been for me, the happy times with Cheyenne more than balance out the ledger.

Reflecting back on her life it is hard not to think about how intertwined she became with a good portion of my career.

During her ten years with my family, Cheyenne traveled to four bases. A southern dog her whole life, at 8-years-old she was forced to spend three years in Alaska. I have to admit it was kind of funny watching her try to go to the bathroom in the snow for the first time. The shock of the cold snow caused her to jump into the air out of her squat and glare at the ground like it had just bit her. She quickly adapted, like she did with every challenge. She was probably the happiest member of the family to be leaving Alaska at the end of my assignment there.

While video conferencing with the family during deployments, she could always be seen walking around in the background and would sometimes perk up if she heard my voice from the computer speakers at home. She was always the most hilarious part of a homecoming. She would hop wildly around on her back legs and about take me out at the knees in her excitement.

As military members, we perform a difficult job in a stressful environment. Family and animals provide the anchor that keeps us connected to a more normal style of life. A hug, smile or a wag of the tail is a priceless gift when you come home from an especially bad day.

Cheyenne did her job as an anchor perfectly, and she will be missed.

PHOTO: Cheyenne, a rat terrier mix, brought many happy years to the Larlee Family. (Courtesy photo)

Photo of the day, Dec. 15, 2011

U.S. Air Force canine

Photo: Rambo, a patrol and explosive detector dog assigned to the 447th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron (ESFS), attacks U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Stephen Hanks, a 447th ESFS military working dog handler, while training on an obstacle course in Baghdad, Iraq, Dec. 9, 2011. For the past six months, Rambo and Hanks have supported Operation New Dawn by providing explosive and psychological deterrence. Hanks is deployed from Patrick Air Force Base (AFB), Fla., and is originally from Amherst, Mass. Rambo is deployed from Kirtland AFB, N.M. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo)