There are lots of wonderful organizations that send care packages to our uniformed personnel overseas like the USO, Operation Gratitude and Soldiers’ Angels, which is the one my husband received packages from when he was deployed. Also, individuals can send special care packages directly to their loved ones and their friends.
But, did you know that you can also send a special care package to our four-legged military members?
Here is a list of organizations that support military working dogs with their top requests of items for care packages to support our K9 compatriots:
The United States War Dog Association
Founded by current and veteran dog handlers along with their supporters, the organization was created to assist, educate and promote military working dogs. They’ve established Operation Military Care K-9 that sends care packages to, what the organization labels as the “silent heroes that help our troops” overseas.
The organization asks for monetary donations, so they can purchase and put together care packages or you can request to receive contact information to a live Military Working Dog Team for you to send a care package yourself of the appropriate goods for them to stay combat ready.
Straight from their website, here is a sample list of the type of goods military dogs need:
- K9 grooming tools
- K9 beds or sleeping mats
- K9 Advantix, Flea and Tic Treatment
- K9 toys (recommended Kong 3” rubber balls and rope chews)
- K9 Ear Wash
- Doogles (goggles for dogs!)
- K9 Toothpaste & Toothbrush
- Towels to wipe paws
- K9 treats (MUST be made in the USA)
- K9 Shampoo & Conditioner
- Collapsible nylon water bowls
- and many more listed here.
Support Military Working Dogs
The idea of the nonprofit organization was initially started when a service member told his mother that the military working dogs actually needed a care package more than himself. It was mostly for cooling vests for the K9s to keep cool, but the group has evolved to fully equip military working dogs with everything they would need to fulfill a deployment more comfortably. They estimate is that it costs $400+ to get everything needed for one dog.
Military Working Dog Team Support Association
Similarly to the other nonprofit organizations targeting military working dogs, the Military Working Dog Team Support Association (MWDTSA) focuses on the well-being of military working dogs and offers support for dog handlers to provide desired care package items for dog teams. MWDTSA, in particular, has the Kongs for K9s program that gives military working dogs special dog toys to keep them engaged.
You can take matters into your own hands by reaching out to your local unit that includes military working dogs or an actual military working dog handler for personal recommendations. They might know of a unit that is currently deployed (if your personal contact isn’t already deployed) with special care package needs that you could help a military working dog directly, just like a personal care package.
Also, if you know dog handlers that could benefit from any of the above organizations, they can reach out to them directly for assistance for their furry four-legged partners.