Adopting Retired Military Service Dogs


Next Steps In Mwd Adoption

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All retired MWDs available for adoption are located at the Military Working Dog School, which operates out of Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. There is no fee to adopt a retired MWD, but you must pay for all transportation costs.

If you are selected as a candidate for adoption, you will need to provide proof that you meet all expectations for potential families . Any family that is chosen for adoption will be required to meet with military personnel for an official interview.

Once you are chosen to move forward in the adoption process, you will wait for a scheduled appointment to visit the base and meet with the dogs that match your lifestyle and interests. Your selected dog will complete a veterinary exam before being released to your family.

How To Adopt A Retired Service Dog

Amber is a professional writer and published author. She is also a professor of biology and veterinary sciences.

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If you’ve ever dreamed of adopting a service dog, you’re not alone. These noble canines have some of the toughest jobs around, and at the end of their careers, they deserve to settle down with a loving family. But that’s not all. By taking in a retired service dog, you could be saving their life. The dogs are generally between the ages of 7 and 10 when they retire from active service, but some organizations will consider working dogs older than 10 if they are healthy and active. Most service dogs are very well trained, and there is typically a long wait list of people looking to adopt these remarkable pets.

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K-9 war dogs have risked their lives for us. A new report shows that they were mistreated and abused by the U.S. military. The report, released today by The Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals , details the mistreatment and abuse of dogs by military personnel.

DoD is responsible for training, equipping, and maintaining the nations armed forces. It is the largest employer in the country, employing more than 100,000 people and providing health care, housing, food, clothing, transportation, recreation, education and other services to the military community.

In addition, it provides a wide range of services for veterans and their families, including housing assistance, job training and placement, medical care and disability benefits, as well as a variety of other programs and services.

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Why You Should Adopt A Military Dog

Well, there are several identifiable and worthwhile ways a retired MWD makes a wonderful addition to your household.

  • The most obvious reason you should consider a former MWD for your next pet is one weve already mentioned: they deserve a good home with lots of love.
  • Whether they left the training program as young pups or gave a full decade in military service, theyre hardworking animals who need care and affection.
  • They are extremely well trained animals of great benefit to highly attentive owners.
  • Theyre free. This is probably of least concern to you true animal lovers out there, but its still a plus.

Some Dogs Get Sick Or Injured And Must Be Retired Early

13 retired SAF military dogs looking for new home, adoption drive from ...

A military working dog that passes initial training may be retired early if the dog becomes ill or gets wounded. A dog doesnt necessarily have to have a terminal illness to be retired from duty. A condition that makes the dog unable to perform its duties could force its handlers to retire the dog early and try to find a good home for an animal that has served well, but simply cannot do so any longer.

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Who Is Doing The Adoption

There are many programs that help place military dogs. Some of these are focused specifically on military dogs, others may offer service animals from a variety of backgrounds. Be sure to ask if you are specifically interested in a military dog trained by the Army, Air Force, etc.

Criteria for the animals up for adoption will vary depending on the agency. You may find that the service dogs available from some providers must be at least two years old, and there may be specific health requirements.

Can You Adopt Your Military Dog

Military dog adoption uniquely allows civilians to rehome military working dogs. Military working dogs are also called MWD. These dogs are unique because theyre retired from serving. Military working dogs are on a special mission to find a new home after being retired from duty. Dogs are available for adoption through the U.S. Department of Defense and the United States Marine Corps .

USMC are responsible for the care, training, and housing of the dogs, as well as the adoption process. Each dog must be spayed/neutered, microchipped, vaccinated against rabies, heartworm, distemper, parvovirus, leptospirosis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis, human immunodeficiency virus , and human papillomavirus . Dogs must also be up-to-date on all vaccinations and have a clean bill of health.

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Can I Choose The Breed Of A Dog

On the application, you will be able to set your preferences in terms of gender, color, breed and more. It is no guarantee that the pets and the program will match your ideal desires but it could be possible to match up retired military working dogs that meet some of your requirements. All retired military working animals available for adoption have a stable temperament and are considered to be deserving of excellent homes.

Where Can I Adopt A Military Working Dog

Retired Marine from Orchard Park adopts his military working dog

After you visit the website and fill out the adoption application, youll be contacted seeking confirmation of an appointment and possible dates that you could come in and meet local pets for adoption. Each months scheduled appointments start with the oldest applications in your area first. Your application will be kept on file fromAfter you visit the website and fill out the adoption application, youll be contacted seeking confirmation of an appointment and possible dates that you could come in and meet local pets for adoption.

Each months scheduled appointments start with the oldest applications in your area first. Your application will be kept on file from the date of receipt and then you will be contacted within 30 days before the booking of your appointment to visit a local base to meet a perspective animal. If you do not reply to the courtesy e-mail or phone call your application will be deleted from the waiting list. You will need to reapply in order to secure a new slot within the program.

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If you would like to learn more about adopting a service animal, be sure to visit the nationwide adoption page or contact your local MWD adoption organization .

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Do Service Dogs Make Safe Pets

With the types of service the dogs have seen, many will have some issues. Just like their human handlers, these dogs can suffer from PTSD and other issues. Dogs with PTSD receive specialized retraining to treat the disorder. Many of them can go on to families that can provide the love and patience these dogs need. Service dogs can also suffer from anxiety and depression. They may also show signs of aggression, separation anxiety, etc. These dogs also go through retraining programs and/or re-socialization to prepare them for retirement with a loving family.

Some of these dogs will also have other issues they may not be housebroken, they may have allergies or other health issues, etc. However, they will have had all their vaccinations and they will have been spayed or neutered. In addition, before theyre ready to be adopted, former service dogs go through a behavioral evaluation and an adoption test to make sure theyre ready for life with a family, including being around young children and other pets. So, if youre interested in adopting a former service dog, you can rest assured theyve been properly trained and evaluated to make certain theyll make great companions for you and your family.

Some Dogs Have Been Adopted But Need Foster Homes

Some military working dogs are adopted by the dogs handler or partner, or by a third party, but circumstances force the owner to put the dog up for adoption due to deployment, reassignment, hardship duty, remote assignment, etc.

These dogs found a home, but need a new one and often come up for foster care or adoption as a result.

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Why Are Former Working Dogs Up For Adoption

There are various reasons that working dogs are put up for adoption. One of the main reasons is due to age. Many service dogs work up until theyre about 7 to 8, or 10-12 years old, these pups have worked hard and are ready to retire when they reach this golden age. Other dogs may have failed their training, whether for police, military or other types of service. By failing, we mean that these dogs generally dont have the personality thats needed for the type of work they were in training to perform. These precious pups are also called career change dogs.

While these dogs are labeled as failed, theyre anything but failures! In fact, to even be accepted into training takes intelligence, agility, etc. These pups were simply too nice or too scared to do the work, thats all. They just didnt have what it takes in order to pass their training. One more notethese pups are generally younger dogs that didnt meet the requirements for their training. With a failed service dog adoption, you can rest assured your pup will be a wonderful part of your family. Then there are other dogs that are retired because of health issues. Maybe they were injured in the line of duty and arent healthy enough to go back to work. However, theyre healthy enough to live long lives with the right family.

The dogs who made it through training and have seen active service may have been trained to:

  • Defend officers
  • Search & rescue
  • Detect explosives

What Is A Military Working Dog

These are the 3 Steps to Adopt a Retired Military Dog

MWD is the official name for retired police and military dogs. MWDs have been retired from duty usually due to the inability to perform required tasks, and sometimes due to health or age. Many have worked as field or training dogs, and have a unique set of skills honed for a specific purpose. In some cases, this can make potential owners nervous, but worry not all adoptable dogs have to pass behavioral tests to ensure theyre outgoing companions and a good fit for civilian adoption.

Dogs with specialized skill sets or who dont pass the civilian adoptability criteria are made available to their former trainers and nonprofit organizations for special needs MWDs.

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Requirements For Adopting A Military Dog

The specific requirements for adopting a working dog will vary depending on the agency, but lets examine the rules for the Pets For Patriots program to get an idea of what you can expect in this area:

  • Driving distance requirement: Pets For Patriots requires the applicant to live within a specific, reasonable driving distance to a shelter that has partnered with the agency, and within a specific driving distance of a veterinary partner.
  • Proof of Service: Military members are required to provide proof of current service or military discharge.
  • Pets For Patriots requires additional documentation for those suffering from mental health issues.
  • Pets For Patriots does not train or adopt animals intended to be service dogs. It adopts out canines specifically for companionship purposes. That means the dog can have a service background, but it will not receive any service training as part of the adoption process.

How Can I Adopt A Retired Military Dog

Bringing a former military dog into your home is a relatively lengthy process, as far as pet adoptions go. Depending on availability, it can take up to two years. There are several steps you must take so both you and the adoption agency are sure of your abilities to care for a retired military dog.

Just loving dogs is not enough to qualify for adopting a military dog. Before you even consider starting the process, know that youll need to meet certain conditions to apply:

  • No children under age 5 in your home.
  • A large yard with a minimum 6-foot fence. Even older MWDs are large and fairly athletic, so theyll need a large, contained space to stay active and happy.
  • Two references willing to attest to your suitability.
  • No more than 3 other dogs living in your home.
  • Have a veterinarian selected and willing to render their services as your dogs medical provider.

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What Causes Reverse Sneezing


Theres no single cause for a reverse sneeze. Like regular sneezing, its often triggered by an irritation or inflammation in the nose, throat, or sinuses.

It often occurs when dogs wake up from a nap, or after eating, when their breathing pattern may have rapidly changed. Its also caused by irritants in the airwayanything from dust to an inhaled hair!

Some dogs experience more frequent reverse sneezing in springtime when the air is full of pollen and other allergens.

Others reverse sneeze more in the winter, when sudden temperature changes between outdoors and indoors cause the nasal passages to contract.

Another common cause of reverse sneezing is pressure on the throat and neck. A too-tight collar, or straining against the leash, can irritate the throat and lead to a reverse sneeze. Thats just one more reason to consider a harness for your dog.

Finally, some dogs reverse sneeze after exercise, or when theyre overexcited. This is particularly common among brachycephalic, or short-nosed, breeds like pugs and bulldogs.

When they get worked up, they may inhale their elongated soft palates into the throat, triggering an episode of reverse sneezing.

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Military dog adoption uniquely allows civilians to rehome military working dogs. Military working dogs are also known as, MWD. In brief, these dogs are especially unique as theyre retired from serving.

Notably retired from duty, military working dogs are now on a special mission, by all means, to find a forever home. To point out, before 2000, military war dogs were euthanized or given to an allied army. In 2000, President Clinton significantly signed a law approving military dog adoption.

Military Working Dogs May Have:
Assisted in law enforcement.
Aided with search and rescue.
Served as mission scouts.
Worked as field or training dogs.
Employed as therapy dogs.

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How Much Does It Cost To Adopt A Retired Military Dog

Adopting a retired military dog is a completely free program. Theres no cost associated with adopting a animal if you are approved for the adoption process. The owner will ultimately be responsible for all costs dog care as well as transportation. If you adopt a pet as a service professional or as a law enforcement agency, you will be responsible for establishing a transportation solution for the dog from a facility.

There is a strong public interest in adopting retired military working animals so prioritizing the thousands of applications each year comes down to finding a person that has been approved and is next in line for the approval process. The program is a first-come-first-served basis and the suitable dog goes to the next party that has waited the longest after the application process.

If you are going to be coming for a service visit to meet a dog in the program and cant make the appointment, you need to make sure that you cancel the appointment as soon as possible to make room for another applicant. As this is a program with demand from thousands of participants across the United States is very important that you work to maintain appointments when required.

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What About Retired Handicapped Military Dogs

Just like people, army dogs may sometimes become handicapped during service. Adopting those army dogs takes more patience and love. There are many things you can do to help a handicapped dog adapt to a new home. Secure the areas where your new family member will be and take a tour of the house when you get home.

Make sure to maintain a routine. Its essential that your new friend can predict what will happen each day. Be ready to give it its space, but still show love, give attention, and remain patient. Prepare toys for the arrival of your new dog to help it feel welcomed and loved.

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The Benefits Of Rescuing A Canine Hero

There are a lot of benefits to adopting retired military dogs instead of buying one from the store or breeder. You may be surprised by how many people you know have adopted these animals before! Theres an excellent chance someone in your family has owned a retired military dog in the past, and if not there are plenty of people you can call!

Veterans looking for a companion animal that will love them unconditionally. Retired military dogs have been trained to be loving companions who enjoy giving their attention to one person. They work well with children since they have been around so many throughout their career and also do well with other pets.

In order to be available for adoption, a military dog must be evaluated by the commander of the last unit the dog was assigned to and deemed suitable for civilian life. Not every dog trained for combat is able to make a transition to pet life.

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