I want to take this opportunity to personally thank the offices of Congressman Lou Barletta and Representative Doyle Heffley for their assistance this past week with the needs of one of my clients.
My client is the mother of one of our servicemen who was reassigned from "in country" to overseas. He has a pet who means the world to him, and has traveled with him every place he's been deployed. Unfortunately his orders forced him to leave the U.S. before the appropriate paperwork for his pet could be processed.
The pet ended up being shipped to my client (his mother) who doesn't drive. She therefore had no means to get the animal examined and have the necessary international health certificates performed and approved within the 10 day time window imposed by the foreign government. I could provide the medical examination at the home, but I could not guarantee that the paperwork would be processed by the USDA and returned to her in time.
I then called Representative Heffley's office for help. The very gracious lady at the Lehighton office promised to call me back, and did so within 10 minutes. She informed me that Rep. Heffley's office did not have the jurisdiction to provide the help that was needed, but gave me the direct name and number of the military liaison in Congressman Barletta's office.
This gentleman is an Afghan War disabled veteran who not only intimately knew the international requirements, but also was familiar with the internal military paperwork of which I was not aware. They expedited the approval procedure and returned the paperwork to me with three days to spare. The soldier and his pet were reunited yesterday.
There's one more post script to this story. The USDA certification process has a charge to it. My office wrote the check to pay for this serviceman's paperwork but I was ONE DOLLAR off! USDA would not accept the check plus a $1 bill from Congressman Barletta's representative to pay for the certification. Going "one more step" the gracious lady wrote her own check to cover the sergeant's cost. When I tried to repay her, she cited "ethics" and totally refused any payment. Her exact response was "we will do anything and everything we can to help our military".
My salute and sincere thanks to both Representative Heffley and Congressman Barletta, their offices, and personnel for performing FAR beyond the expected in assistance to and for our military servicemen.
Dr. Renny Shoop
Poco West Mobile Equine Services