Alisa Johnson, co-founder of Dogs on Deployment

Alisa Johnson—co-founder and president of Dogs on Deployment, an online network enabling military service members to connect with people living in their area who are willing to care for their pets while they are deployed—recounts the predicament she and her husband, Shawn Johnson, faced when they received overlapping military assignments and there was no one, initially, able to care for their dog, JD. JohnsonsShe discusses how their own predicament served as a 55198_t607catalyst for launching Dogs on Deployment in 2011 and how, even from the get-go, they wanted the service to have national reach. Johnson estimates that there are now boarders—the DOD term for individuals or families who agree to look after the military members’ animals—at upwards of 100 bases. She outlines how the service works, drawing a loose comparison between the DOD network and online dating (including that, the name of the organization notwithstanding,  the pets involved may be cats, birds, lizards and others beyond dogs), detailing some of the criteria for would-be boarders and the obligations and responsibilities expected of both parties. Johnson explains that the average deployment during which the military members would need their animals cared for runs six to eight months, but can occasionally extend into two years, or even three years.  (,     

Dogs on Deployment

ALSO: We spoke briefly with Claire Wray, of Friends Of Strays, about the St. Petersburg-based organization’s current efforts to adopt out a slew of cats, with a particular emphasis on the always hard-to-place black cats.     (,

COMEDY CORNER: Nick DiPaolo’s “Animal Activists” (portion) (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” Buck Owens’ “I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail,” Booker T’s version of  “Get Behind The Mule,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  Norma Tanega’s  “Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog”


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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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