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Answering the bark

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Amber R. Kelly-Herard
  • Air Mobility Command Public Affairs
Tens of millions of stray animals roam without a home in the U.S.

A stray animal who crosses paths with Air Mobility Command's Army Lt. Col. Christopher Carrier and his family; however, should consider themselves lucky, because if found by the Carrier family, they would no longer be a stray.

The Carriers have rescued more than 200 dogs, cats and birds since 1998 and have no plans of stopping there.

"There are too many abandoned animals that may even be abused, so they are close to our hearts," said Stephanie Carrier.

Stephanie's love for animals came at a young age, when she raised quarter horses on a ranch in Napa Valley, Calif.

"I would always find stray cats and dogs on our ranch," she said. "We kept a couple, but for most of them, we tried to find loving homes."

Now in their Lebanon, Ill., home, it is not unusual for the Carrier family to find stray pets on their property.

"People bring us animals they don't know what to do with," said Stephanie. "I will also safely pull over for any animal that I see on the side of the road and bring them to a no-kill vet."

Their 12-year-old son Connor saved about nine birds he found on the side of the road recently, to include a Peregrine Falcon.

"I like that we are teaching our children humility, because any child who is nice to a helpless animal will certainly be a better human being," said Carrier, AMC U.S. Army Liaison officer. It may be surprising that the Carrier family only owns two dogs, but they have fostered 15 dogs since moving to Scott Air Force Base. While the Carriers will take any dog, their focus is on rescuing older dogs.

"It's important, because people want puppies, so older dogs may not have a second chance," Stephanie said.

Taking their cause a step further, Stephanie has used her home office to complete a book to educate children about empathy and animal homelessness. She also reads to children at the Child Development Centers on Scott Air Force Base to teach them about homeless animals.

Also in the future, the family might assist with the adoption process for military working dogs.

The Carrier family spends its free time volunteering at local animal shelters. The family encourages everyone to help out either by donating to shelters or volunteering time.

"You don't always have to adopt a dog," said Stephanie. "You can donate time or money or even items. Every time I go grocery shopping, I grab a few items to give to shelters."

Editor's note: Since this interview, the Carriers are in the process of another adoption from Spencer kennels. The Pomeranian, used in the photos for this story, was abandoned at a truck stop in Arkansas and found by a truck driver. He was given the name Charlie, but Connor has since thought he should be named Jack.