Even if only for a brief moment, Sabrina Ruckes wondered whether Puma, her 5-year-old Maltipoo would remember her.
Its hard not to think that way after so long, said Ruckes.
The love of an animal is only matched by our love for them. For Sabina and Puma, their reunion last week was a year in the making.
Hes a ball of personality, hes warm and fuzzy, said Ruckes.
Ruckes is a Sergeant in the US Army. Last year, orders came in that shed be heading to South Korea for a year after being stationed in Phoenix for the past two.
I was fine with Puma up until that, It happened so fast, I had to sell my home, I had to get Puma ready, get my household ready, said Ruckes.
Unfortunately, she says she didnt have any friends or family who could care for Puma while deployed. Thats when she found a special program and a special woman in the Valley.
Oh my God, Heidi became the best person ever, said Ruckes.
I just appreciate their service, they are risking their life for my safety, for my grandkid’s safety, I heard about this program, thats the least I could do, said Heidi.
Heidi is a volunteer foster mom for the Arizona Humane Societys Project Active Duty program. The program pairs military members who need to house their pets during deployment with locals ready to step forward for them back home.
Thats the last thing she had to worry about was her dog, she knew he was in great hands, said Heidi. She got to get lots of love and live alongside our dogs. She really became part of the family.
She would send me pictures, send me videos, keep me updated, said Ruckes. It was truly amazing.
The Humane Society says while most people have families who can watch over the pets of our service members, those who dont depend on programs like these.
This is a very special foster that were looking for because these are people who are willing to open up their homes for up to a year, said Kelsey Dickerson with the Humane Society. They sacrifice so much for us so this is a really special way for us to give back to them.”
The pet food, vet visits, and of course cuddling is all free of charge. The reunions when our soldiers return home speak for themselves.
It was just incredible how excited Puma was to see her, said Heidi. Her tail was wagging so hard, and she didnt hesitate for a second.
To learn more about this program or to get involved, click here.