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Thursday, August 30, 2012

[Open-your-mind] Retired Military Dogs

Philip,I thought you might find this interesting.  Maybe you know a few people who are looking for companions.

Many people were outraged at the prospect that Rocky would be put down: a 9-1/2 year old, disabled retired MWD and three tour Iraq war veteran. Most thought it callous that the military would simply end his life after he had given his in service, but that’s simply not the case.
Like many working canines, during his last few years of service Rocky had many different handlers. While the vast majority of war dogs are adopted by their handlers - more than 90% – Rocky no longer had a steady handler, no special bond with any one person. And while he was eligible to be adopted by other military personnel that might have wanted him, the unique challenges of his disability meant that Rocky couldn’t just go to any home – he needed someone who had ample time and patience to care for him. Since no suitable adopter was found and the kennels on base were ill equipped to address his specific disabilities, the military felt it had no choice but to slate him for euthanasia.
By chance, Pets for Patriots was contacted by a concerned animal lover. After verifying the story and basic facts, we posted Rocky’s plight and – well, the rest is history. A flood of applicants hit Lackland and Rocky was saved. We’re grateful that the veterinary team at Camp Pendleton shared Rocky’s story and gave us the opportunity to change his fate for the better.
Rocky, a retired, disabled military working dog who was saved by our appeal, exposed a lot of misconceptions about the fate of military working dogs once they’re retired from service. Most of these animals are eligible for adoption and are placed into appropriate and loving homes.
Until recently, it was legal and common practice to abandon or put down military working dogs, known as MWDs, at the end of their useful service. Historically viewed as “surplus equipment,” they weren’t seen as having value beyond the military purpose for which they were trained. That mindset has changed dramatically, due in no small part to the public’s growing awareness of how these animals were treated after years of dutiful service. But it was one military war dog in particular – a dog named Robby – whose own fate changed that of other MWDs to come. Robby’s Law (H.R.5314) was signed by President Bill Clinton in November 2000 and required that all MWDs suitable for adoption be available for placement after their service. Unfortunately it was too late to save Robby, whose former handler fought valiantly to adopt him, to no avail.