LADSON, SC (WCSC) - Many military men and women are often forced to give away their pets when they deploy. However, there's a program helping to make sure that doesn't happen.
After half a year serving overseas, U.S. Air Force First Sergeant Tiffany Robinson is home safe and reunited with her two dogs.
"I thought they were gonna forget me, but they didn't," said Robinson
Six months ago, Robinson found out she was being deployed to Africa.
"You took the oath to serve, protect and defend the country," said Robinson. "So, you have to deploy. There's no other option."
Robinson said she was excited to go, but had one big concern.
"I was just kinda at my wits end and I was like 'I don't know what I'm going to do with my dogs, I want someone who can care for them, who can love them'," said Robinson.
A friend told Robinson about Dogs on Deployment, a national non profit organization that connects service members with families who are willing to care for pets while their owners are deployed.
"It's so important just because no military member wants to have to give up their pets to do their job," said Darrah, Dogs on Deployment volunteer.
Through the program, Robinson was connected with Darrah, a military wife living in Ladson. Darrah said she knows first hand about the stresses that come with deployment.
"I know how hard it is," said Darrah. "For me, this was an easy, simple thing to do to help out."
At no cost to Robinson, Darrah and her family took in Rocco and Rogue while she was away. Darrah said they receive no money from the program. They pay for food and care while hosting the pets.
"Its all kindness of the heart," said Darrah.
That kindness is something that Robinson is overcome with gratitude for. Robinson said coming home from deployment is an adjustment and it's much easier to do with her two dogs that she lovingly calls her "kids."
"It's priceless, there are no words," said Robinson. "They're like my family here, since I don't have any family in Charleston."
Both families said the hardest part of the reunion was having to separate Rocco and Rogue from Darrah's dogs. They've all gotten very attached to each other. But Robinson said she'll be back to visit soon.
Dogs on Deployment was founded in 2011 and so far nearly 500 pets have been taken care through the program.
You can find more information about dogs on deployment on their website.