Another way to support the troops: Foster their pets

Shortly after Thomasa Jordan’s husband was deployed to Iraq in June 2008, life for the young military wife became increasingly difficult.

She had a 5-year-old daughter and another baby on the way. Pregnancy-related medical issues left her sick and tired, and to make matters worse, she was feuding with the family next door to her at Fort Hood.

So, Jordan said, she decided to leave Killeen and stay with her brother in Virginia until her husband returned home.

Only there was no room for the family’s beloved German shepherds, Logan and Dixie.

"I couldn’t bring the dogs because the apartment I was going to didn’t have a back yard," said Jordan, 24. "I started looking through the phone book and went through 32 hours of searching. I called shelters, German shepherd rescue agencies, anyplace I could think of where they wouldn’t get put down.

"Everything was full or they wouldn’t take them because of their age."

Then, Jordan said, someone told her about an organization that fosters pets for military families, called Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet.

She anxiously dialed the number.

Barbara Lawrence, 53, a doctor of internal medicine and an animal lover, lives on 3 acres near Aledo.

Since the Gulf War, she has been supporting America’s troops by writing them letters and sending care packages.

One day last year, she said, she was browsing a Web site and saw a link to Guardian Angels for Soldier's Pet.

That March, she applied to become a foster pet parent, specifying that she was willing to take a large dog.

"After the initial excitement of the invasion wore off and people turned back to their own lives, it didn’t change the fact that people were making huge sacrifices and giving up things, such as their pets, to fulfill their obligations," Lawrence explained. "I saw it not only as something I could give to a service person but to the family at home."

Seven months later, Lawrence received a call from Guardian Angels asking whether she would be willing to foster two big dogs.

"At that time, they had these clients — the Jordans — with two adult German shepherds and they were trying to place them," she said. "The Jordans had tried hard to find a place for them and hadn’t had any luck and were resigned to giving up their pets."

A short time later, Lawrence and Thomasa Jordan spoke by phone. Lawrence said she was eager to take Logan and Dixie but was concerned how they would get along with her new puppy, Dolly.

Jordan offered to make the 2 1/2 -hour drive from Killeen to Aledo to see how the dogs interacted.

"She was nine months pregnant and ready to deliver at any time," Lawrence said. "I had visions of her going into labor on I-35, so I drove to Fort Hood and met her and brought Dolly."

The dogs got along fine.

Later that day, Lawrence started back to Aledo — with Dolly, Logan and Dixie.

"I was so excited," Jordan said. "My husband called and I got to tell him that I had found someone to take both dogs together and that he was going to be able to see them again. He said it was a godsend."