LOS ANGELES (CBS) — They’re a group of people who care for beloved pets when soldiers are at war.
It’s an organization called “Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet.”
And as Suzie Suh reports for CBS2 and KCAL9, the work is a labor of love for all who volunteer.
Soldiers are matched up with thousands of people across the country who open up their homes to babysit — make that dog and catsit.
Tim and Kim Kuenn, volunteers who lives in Moorpark, have done just that and several times.
Says Kim,”It broke my heart to learn that these service men and women are sacrificing so much.”
‘Team ‘Kuenn’ is on active duty again. And armed with taste treats. The Kuenn’s have already fostered Rye. “We signed up and we’ll do what we have to do.”
Currently, only 3 out of the five dogs in their home actually belong to and Tim and Kim. The others? Guests for now.
And how long the two guests will be with them is unclear. The “guests” actually belong to a soldier deployed overseas. They’re watching canine sisters Bella and Jesse.
Jokes Tim, “We’re the goofy hat uncle that you go spend summer with.”
In times past, soldiers sometimes had to leave their pets behind or in shelters.
Tim, like many others, never thought about what happened to soldiers’ pets. “When we got into this, we didn’t know the problem existed.”
Kim understands the responsibility of watching somebody’s kids.
She tells Suh, “It’s just like they’re handing over their babies.”
Think the Kuenn’s are biting off more than they can chew? They don’t.
“They’re sisters so the owners wanted to keep them together. So we thought, well, we already have 3 so 2 more can’t be more of a full house.”
Suzie Suh took a hand at trying to walk all five dogs at once. “And imagine doing this everyday. As you can see, Jesse and Bella get plenty of attention while their owners are away.”
They’re used to long deployments. Rye’s owner was away for 5 months. Says Kim, “When he came back I don’t think Rye’s tail ever slowed down.”
Navy Chaplain Dave Glassmire returned from overseas one day after Osama Bin Laden was killed. In part, to thank them for watching his beloved pooch, he gave them the gift of an American flag that had flown in Afghanistan. Beam Kim, “You often hear people say that you’re proud to be American … I couldn’t have been more proud that day.”
After Rye, the couple took in Miles. When Miles and his owner Jamaine Parks — who was deployed for 9 months — were reunited, “I thought Miles was going to tackle him,” jokes Kim.
Suh says, the Kuenns are already sniffing out their next mutt mission.
Says Tim, “It’s so important to let these people do what they do without distraction.”
Kim says the soldiers always want to thank them for their service, but it’s really the other way around. “They’re always so grateful and thankful for us taking care of their pets and I always tell them it’s our honor.”
For more information about Guardian Angels For Soldier’s Pet, click here.