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Air Force Looking For People To Adopt Retired Military Dogs

The U.S. Air Force has issued a statement emphasizing how serious the current need is for civilians to consider adopting retired military dogs.

Rescuing a dog can be a wonderfully rewarding experience.

Unsplash | Luzelle Cockburn

It is estimated that on a yearly basis, around 6.5 million cats and dogs enter animal shelters.

Of that 6.5 million, approximately 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats, according to the ASPCA.

However, it is not only civilian dogs that are in need of adoption.

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In order to try and incentivize the public, Air Force officials based in Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland released statements asking the public who were looking to get a new family pet, or simply looking to do some good, to consider giving one of their retired service dogs a home.

There are dogs of all ages being put up for adoption.

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There are some puppies who did not make it through the vetting program to become a Military Working Dog (MWD), and while they are a popular choice for civilians looking to adopt, there are plenty of older dogs who have worked a hard life in positions such as being bomb sniffers.

So, while you're giving one of these older dogs a place to call home and relax in their older years, they may also be able to save your life should the situation arise.

The adoption process can take a bit of patience.

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The process of adopting an MWD can take up to two years, and people must meet certain criteria, including having a six-foot fence, having no kids under the age of five, and having no more than three dogs already at home.

37th Training Wing MWD dispositions coordinator, Jerry Britt, works to match prospective owners with their furry friends.

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He told Military Times:

"You get the satisfaction of giving the retired military working dog a good place to spend the twilight years."

Retired military dogs are no more dangerous than other dogs.

Military Working Dogs | Lance Cpl John Hall

Some people can be concerned that retired military dogs may be more aggressive than other dogs. However, this is far from the case.

All dogs are thoroughly vetted once they are considered to be put up for adoption.

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During this process, any deemed unsuitable for civilian homes are offered to their previous trainers or special organizations which care for special needs retired military dogs.

According to Taste Of The Wild, " Many [dogs] were never trained for combat missions, and civilian-available dogs are not considered any more dangerous than the average dog."

There have already been many success stories!

Sarayuth Pinthong

Professor Robert Klesges, pictured above alongside coordinator Jerry Britt and prospective adoptee Sofi, has long supported the program.

Back in 2013, Klesges adopted a German shepherd named Fida who had been a combat tracker for the Marines.

Sarayuth Pinthong

Klesges gave her a home for five years and loved his experiences with Fida. Klesges told JBSA:

"She was almost like a human with fur; she was that smart [...] She was the sweetest thing in the world. Fida was a child magnet."

Professor Klesges hopes to give another retired pooch a home.

Sarayuth Pinthong

Professor Klesges met with prospective adoptee Sofi, pictured above, to see if the two would be a good match.

Each prospective family meets the retired dog that Britt thinks may be a good match beforehand to see how they interact.

Since the word has been spreading, more people have been helping these veteran dogs.

Military Working Dogs | Taylor Curry

As the Air Force's call for help has spread across the internet, more people have shared their own experience with MWDs, and showered the dogs with praise for their service:

"We adopted one. Our sweet Rocky! He was retired because his night vision was almost totally gone at 4, almost 5 years old (he was explosives detection and patrol). He hasn't barked, except once in his sleep. [...] He will be 11 in March, and his eyesight is almost gone, but he is doing well. He just got a new orthopedic bed from my husband and me, and he is loving it!" — Shonda Hall

"These dogs deserve comfortable lives in their retirement. [...] We do not want these brave and loyal dogs to wind up in shelters for extended periods of time." — Darlene Orlando

Hopefully, these hardworking dogs will find their retirement homes soon.

Military Working Dogs | Senior Master Sgt. Mike Arellano

Adopting a rescue dog not only gives the gift of love, but those you give a home to will love you back with all of their heart, and enrich your life in the process.

If you want more information on the adoption process, it can be found on the air force's website. Or, if you are further afield and are still looking to adopt, you can always look online for shelters near you!

h/t: Military.com