We have four small dogs, so finding a home that accepts our fur-children is always a challenge.
So, you just got your orders, and you’re making plans to move to New Military Installation USA…
If you’re planning to live on-post, be sure to check with the housing office regarding their pet policies before you get there. Some installations (like Joint Base Lewis-McChord) will allow you to have up to four pets per household. How awesome is that?! Other installations (like Ft. Drum) only allow two pets per household – no exceptions. Bummer, especially since that’s where we’re about to PCS.
Knowing this information will help you decide whether or not living on-post will work for your family.
“Aggressive” breeds (Pitbulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, etc…) are banned from on-post housing. Of course, we know that these breeds are not inherently “bad” or “mean,” but that’s the housing policy. If you have one of these breeds, off-post housing will be your only option.
Living off-post with pets is much different. Be prepared to spend quite a bit of money! Most apartment complexes and rental homes charge extremely high, non-refundable pet deposits (anywhere between $100-500 per pet)! Prepare yourself well in advance. We always have at least $1,000 set aside in savings for pet deposits when it’s time to PCS. We have 4 dogs, so we factor in $250 per dog, which is what the average landlord charges. It’s an outrageously high upfront cost. You might try asking your landlord if it would be possible to pay the pet deposit in installments each month until the deposit is paid. Some landlords will be perfectly fine with that. Others will require the entire deposit in full. Not all rental properties welcome pets, so be sure to ask in advance. Always, always, always be upfront and honest about your pets!
Make sure that your pets (and pet deposits) are indicated in your lease before you sign! Read the lease agreement, then read it again. It is important that you know what your obligations are regarding any damages done by your pet. I cannot stress this point enough.
Finally, it’s important to understand that a PCS is a huge change for our pets. Accidental escapes can happen, especially when movers are going in and out of the house, so make sure your pet is confined to a safe area. It will take everyone some time to get used to a new environment, and patience is key. Allow your pet the opportunity to explore on their own, but watch for territorial marking (especially with dogs). Take your dog on long walks around your neighborhood shortly after you arrive, and stock up on their favorite treats so you can reward them for good behavior in their new home. With a little extra TLC, they’ll adjust in no time.
PCSing with pets can be challenging. However, if you are prepared, it can be a fun adventure!