A veteran dog waits with a soldier.

Much like their human counterparts, veteran dogs have done a great service to our country.

As retired military dogs, these brave canines were hand-selected to protect our nation because they demonstrated natural fearlessness and courage from puppyhood.

Serving Proudly

While their brothers and sisters were playing fetch and taking naps, military working dogs were undergoing years of rigorous training. They learned how to apprehend an enemy, attack on command, and detect explosives and narcotics through their sense of smell. Through intensive training, military dogs heightened their sense of drive and environmental and social stability.

When they were ready, these courageous canines joined fellow brave soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond. Military working dogs have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. Air Force, and the police force as sentries, trackers, search and rescue dogs, scouts, and more.

A Change in Treatment

In the past, dogs were euthanized when they became too old, injured, or weary to continue serving as military working dogs. But in 2000, new legislation was passed that permits the adoption of military working dogs after they retire.

Today, veteran dogs are adopted into loving homes across the country after completing their service. These dogs are released to centers such as the Warrior Dog Foundation and the Military Working Dog Adoption Program.

Veteran dogs are evaluated for temperament and sociability to determine if they are suitable candidates for civilian adoption. Aspiring veteran dog owners, in turn, must go through a strict evaluation process to demonstrate they can raise their dog in a healthy environment that emphasizes obedience and structure.

Interested in Adopting a Veteran Dog?

Retired veteran dogs are extraordinary animals and can be courageous companions to the right owner. They require a high amount of care, exercise, discipline, and structure, but the experience of adopting a veteran dog can be life-changing.

If you are interested in adopting a dog, you can visit the websites of organizations such as Warrior Dog Foundation and the Military Working Dog Adoption Program to submit an application. The wait to adopt a veteran dog is around 12 to 18 months, as there are often hundreds of applicants each year. The cost of adoption is free, though you should plan on spending money on special medications and treatment for older veteran dogs. After adopting, you will also have to have your dog spayed or neutered if he or she has not already had the procedure.

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