PACT (“People/Animals = Companions Together”) is an incredible non-profit organization based in Philadelphia, which develops, implements and administers programs that directly benefit both companion animals and their owners. PACT provides a number of amazing and inspiring programs to help pet lovers develop healthier, happier lives with our blessed, furry friends. Recently, we were able to pick Buzz Miller’s brain about the great work PACT does. Check it out below!
What inspired you to start PACT (People/Animals = Companions Together)?
PACT was formed as a non-profit in 2010 when we could no longer conduct all of the work we were doing to enhance the lives of companion animals and the people who love them within the framework of our retail store at Buzzy’s Bow Wow Meow. Buzzy’s Bow Wow Meow, was created as a companion animal education center and retail companion animal store that only carries quality pet supplies at reasonable prices. Our mission had grown to the point that we were ready to create our own non-profit to raise funding in order to hire employees and to implement a strong volunteer base throughout the country.
PACT’s Military Foster Program is one of our main missions these days. It was conceived because of a desperate need to help deployed soldiers who, in their eleventh hour before being deployed overseas, had nowhere else to turn. Before PACT stepped up to help, their choice was to place their “best friend” in a shelter where they would never see them again once they returned home, or worse, euthanasia would be the end result of that decision.
Most of the dogs that come into our program are not puppies and weigh 50 lbs or more. These deployed soldiers are young and in good physical shape, enabling them to usually choose a large strong dog, which at most shelters are less adoptable. No soldier should have to be faced with that decision. PACT makes it possible to foster during their deployment, and when they return home, they have their pet back home with them. A win, win, win, for the soldier, the companion animal and the foster family. PACT’s military program is quite special because the foster family has visitation rights with the pet they have become attached to and the soldier has an extended family who sends emails and photos during the entire time they are on active duty. No other program that I know of offers this to the soldier and the foster family.
I actually found out about this plight from shelter employees in the Philadelphia area when dogs surrendered by deployed military personnel were being euthanized. This became the impetus for me to create PACT’s Military Foster Program that is a labor of love but very overwhelming for me and my full time assistants.
What types of dogs are usually part of this program?
To date, all the dogs that have been part of PACT’s Military Foster Program have been Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German shepherds, Siberian huskies, Cane corsos, Bull dogs, Blood hounds and other large breeds/mixed breeds.
How do you see yourself expanding?
Our Military Foster Program is constantly receiving calls to foster companion animals located throughout the U.S. Until we are able to obtain more funding through donations, increase our volunteer base and ensure more qualified foster homes are available we have been forced to usually limit PACT’s Military Program to within a 60 mile radius from our base in the Philadelphia area. However, we have successfully placed a dog from Florida, two dogs from the South Jersey shore area and several others from outside our local area.
If we are successful in increasing our fundraising efforts through contributions from anyone who would like to be part of PACT’s Military Program, we will be able to include more soldiers in need of our services who can depend on us to save the lives of their “best friends” by taking them out of harm’s way and into a loving foster environment. The need for fostering for our military personnel is very real and has really been kept under the radar until now.
I only recently heard the horror stories that happen when these pets are surrendered to a kill shelter. The shelter staff are left with a lasting memory of the depressed look on that brave soldier’s face, wiping away tears and sobbing, as they say their last good byes. I was unaware, as most animal lovers had been. Hopefully, looking ahead, there are many kind and generous animal lovers who want to pitch in and help with contributions, volunteering or becoming a foster. We are working very hard to offer happy endings to every deployed soldier in need of this service.
PACT’s mission is to support our military personnel and their beloved companion pets with a strong foster network. The least we can do to say “thank you” for what these men and women do for us in the name of freedom and in their personal time of need, who ask so little of each and every citizen in the USA.