We're going to be hearing the phrase "Support the troops" a lot in the coming weeks, so here's a way that you can actually do something to support them: You can be a foster caregiver for their pets.
[Army Staff Sergeant Dwayne] Armour is stationed at Fort Hood, whose 48,000 soldiers make it the largest army installation in the world. The 265-square-mile base is near Killeen, 180 miles northwest of Houston.
Thousands of dogs and cats were killed on American soil during Operation Desert Storm. Soldiers like Armour couldn't find a friend or relative to pet-sit indefinitely, so they abandoned their animals on country roads or dumped them at the pound -- and animals that enter the pound usually don't leave alive.
In 1991, Killeen had a mass slaughter of military pets, says Carmen Wallace, who volunteers at Second Chance, an animal shelter in Killeen.
The Killeen pound "couldn't even hold the pets but a couple of hours," Wallace says. "They were euthanizing them left and right."
To prevent mass mutt murders and keep dogs and cats off casualty lists, Wallace is organizing a foster program. Armour saw it on the news last week; he called and the next day Wallace had several potential foster parents who promise to send him pictures and updates while he's gone.
"Time is getting short. I would never just abandon her," he says. "I was really getting depressed about it. We're getting closer and closer, and I didn't know what I was going to do."