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March 13 is National K9 Veterans Day. This is a day that commemorates the service and sacrifices of American military and working dogs.
This day is set aside to honor our working dogs throughout history; those who have served by the side of our own soldiers.
The assistance these military war dogs provide to our soldiers is tremendous. It’s so significant it could mean the difference between life and death.
Canine soldiers save lives every single day. Of course, our military views these dogs as heroes, but the recognition of their service alone means the world to them.
What Happens After?
What happens to our canine soldiers when they retire? This is a common question and one that may surprise some folks.
Generally, around 90% of canine veterans remain with their handlers. The handler and his or her dog develop a special bond throughout the duration of their time together. They may have been in training together, on tour together, or even in combat-type situations together.
Military working dogs (AKA MWD’s) are generally retired from duty due to age or some type of health condition. MWD’s make potential adopters nervous as they have been trained for specific purposes, but all adoptable military working dogs are required to pass a behavioral test before they can be adopted.
Which Organizations Offer MWD’s for Adoption?
There are quite a few organizations involved in the rehabilitation and adoption of military working dogs. The Lackland Air Force Base, in San Antonio, is where all military puppies receive their training. They also handle all their adoptions.
Mission K9 Rescue also assists in facilitating adoptions of MWD’s who can’t reunite with their handlers.
What Ages are Available?
You usually won’t see any young dogs available for adoption. Most retired military working dogs are between 10 and 12 years of age. The most common breeds are:
As to be expected, these dogs are intelligent, loyal companions.
Is There a Waiting List?
Yes, there is a waiting list, which is a good problem to have! There are so many good hearts waiting to add a military working dog to their family. As an average, around 200 people are waiting for a placement.
Are There Requirements?
There are certain requirements you must meet before being placed on the approved adopters list including:
Honoring K9 Veterans Day
Even if you aren’t interested in adopting a military working dog, you can be a tremendous help simply by sharing your appreciation for what these dogs do every day for our country. You can do your own research and read/listen to stories of what our dogs have gone through, the lives they have saved, and the relationship they share with their handlers.
Happy K9 Veterans Day to our canine friends and all those who care for them!