One of the largest, non-reimbursed PCS expenses is often moving the family pet(s). Depending on the location, and your particular pet, costs can be as high as several thousand dollars per pet. It can be quite a drain on the family finances during the already expensive process of moving to or from an overseas location..
Fortunately, there is the potential for some relief in the form of a grant from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Internation (SPCAI). Begun in March 2013, the SPCAI offers grants to help offset some of the costs of moving pets overseas. Because of the overwhelming popularity of the program, applications are put on a waiting list for funds to become available. Not everyone will receive assistance.
If you truly need assistance, fill out the application at the SPCAI website within three months of your pet's travel. All applications must include a price quote from the airline.
There are some limitations:
- Transportation costs must exceed $250.
- The application requires 6 photos of the family and pets, including one with the military member in uniform.
- Grants will not exceed $1,000 per family.
- Families are only eligible for one grant every 5 years.
I feel strongly that military families who choose to own pets should take responsibility for having the appropriate savings to pay for their pet's transportation costs if they receive orders to an overseas location. However, the world isn't perfect and often families don't have the savings required. Many thanks to the SPCAI for helping families keep their pets and avoid the need to abandon them to shelters.
If you are a pet lover, and looking for a worthy cause for your charitable giving, the SPCA will gladly accept your donations.