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San Diego County nonprofit Dogs on Deployment helps military pet owners

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Posted at 8:56 PM, Jun 02, 2021

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) -- Reunions are an anticipated part of the military, but hugs and kisses aren't always reserved for spouses or children.

For some in the military, pets are an important part of the family. Just ask Lt. Commander Anthony Ortman, who was separated from his dog Onyx for nearly 9 months. But thanks in part to the nonprofit Dogs on Deployment, he knew his 2-year old pit bull mix was in good hands.

"It feels amazing to be able to provide this service, " says Cameron Thompsen with the Hope2k9 Foundation. "Service members are often deployed for long periods of time without solutions for their pets, as they go away for months, and sometimes a year at a time. Often, if family or friends are not local, dogs are at risk of being re-homed."

Cameron says fostering a dog is free, and calls it an easy way to give back In fact, she's volunteered a number of times. She had Onyx for 275 days and was so excited for the reunion with Ortman.

"It was great," says Ortman. "I've been wanting to meet back up with him."

He calls Dogs on Deployment and Hope2K9 a match made in heaven.

"Hope 2K9 sent me pictures and videos of Onyx all the time and it was great. It's kind of cliche when they say your dog is like your kid because I don't have kids and it is definitely tough," Ortman said.

It was certainly a tough 9 months, but now Ortman and his best friend Onyx are reunited.