10/02/2013 – Life after the military hasn’t always been bright for the dogs who serve our country. While many human veterans battle for care after service, the military labeled the dogs “excess equipment” when they could no longer serve. Many were put down simply because they were no longer needed by the military. While dogs have been faithfully serving our country officially since World War II, records show that they played a role in our military since the beginning. Filling such roles as mascots, bomb-sniffers, scouts, mine detectors, and even tactical dogs, these four-legged soldiers could do what many human soldiers couldn’t do.
But for that excellence in service, many of them came home to find that instead of being treated as heroes, they were surplus inventory and were euthanized. These dogs did not ask to serve our country. Instead they are taken as puppies and put through rigorous training. Many dog owners worry about teaching their dog how to sit and stay. While dogs at home are strapping on PetSafe anti-bark collars, military dogs are strapping on bulletproof vests. Our pets are dealing with electric fences to keep them in, while military dogs are climbing through barbed wire fences into mine fields in enemy territory. Our pets may protect our families at home, but military dogs are saving whole platoons of soldiers. It is not an easy life for the dog who serves in the military. But they train hard and serve without complaint next to their handler.
So it is no wonder that when these dogs came home, their handlers, other soldiers that served with them, and many dog lovers wanted to adopt these noble dogs. However, prior to 2000, and the passing of H.R.5314, better known as “Robby’s Law,” adoption wasn’t permitted. By signing Robby’s Law, President Bill Clinton made it possible for these dogs to be eligible for adoption after service. Organizations such as PetsforPatriots.org and Saveavet.org have worked hard to bring awareness to the country about these war heroes who need our help.
Now, upon completion of their service to their nation, military dogs are returned to Lackland Air Force Base, where they began training for a military career. They are evaluated for adoption by law enforcement agencies, their handlers, or soldiers they served with. They are also evaluated for adoption by the public. Due to the nature of their training and experiences in the military, not all dogs are eligible to be adopted by civilians or make good family pets. However, some are suitable and are offered. All military dog adoptions are handled by Military Working Dog Adoptions. Anyone interested in more information or adoption of one of the canine heroes can find more information on their website. The site explains about how the program works, what dogs are available for adoption, how to contact them, and more. Welcoming these brave dogs home and giving them the life they deserve after service is the least we can do for these loyal and brave soldiers who walk on four legs.