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People Power: Sheltering the Defenseless

Civilian spouse partners with The HSUS to help homeless pets on an Air Force base in South Korea

Civilian spouse partners with The HSUS to help homeless pets on an Air Force base in South Korea

Volunteers like Staff Sgt. Van Dodson (holding Josie, a dog housed at the facility) are great for providing socialization for the animals—and walks, too! DANNI ARMSTRONG
In the heart of a South Korea military base, Danni Armstrong has been a staunch defender of the vulnerable.

Homeless animals had few allies when she and her husband arrived at Osan Air Base in May 2007. During an orientation session for military spouses, Armstrong was dismayed to hear no mention of services for pets. She didn’t even know where to find a veterinarian for her four cats and two dogs.

So she checked out the base’s veterinary treatment facility, which is primarily tasked with caring for working military dogs and, to a much lesser extent, the base’s stray, abandoned, and relinquished animals.

There she saw animals living in a 25-by-6-foot room with one small, partly blocked window. Some of the pets lacked water, and all the litter boxes needed to be scooped and cleaned. There was no information identifying the animals or outlining their care instructions. “The final straw was when I saw a volunteer trying to walk a very fearful dog on a leash … and the volunteer turned and smacked the dog right on the butt,” Armstrong says. She offered to become the facility’s volunteer coordinator, and the veterinary technicians were happy to oblige.

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