Sunday

Adopt a Retired Military Dog



When I was a child our family lived across the street from a man named Leonard Holland. Mr. Holland raised German Shepherd Dogs specifically for the military. Each litter was kept until they reached young adulthood and then they went to join their military handlers for training.
You have no idea how facinated I was as a child with Mr. Holland and his beautiful dogs. When Mr. Holland showed me how to fix their dinner of baked kibble and raw meat and supplements I tried to memorize the ingredients...when he discussed training and behavior, I hung onto every word. And when he allowed me to groom his dogs I thought it was such an honor....and it was. Mr. Holland told me stories of canine military heroics from the Korean War. He told me how important the jobs his pups were destined for would be to our country's future security.
Years later, a local family had a retired military dog chained in their back yard.
The father had retired from the Army and he adopted his canine companion who was also set to retire. Sadly, the father passed away shortly after retirement. He left behind a bereaved family and a former Military Police dog they were terribly afraid of. The dog was fed and watered with the help of a broom. She was shooed away and her bowl grabbed, then she was fed by pushing the refilled bowl just within her reach. Her water bucket was not touched until it was nearly empty,which meant it was always slimy....she had NO HUMAN CONTACT. This beautiful dog who had served our country had been chained for so long that her collar had grown into her neck and maggots had laid eggs in it.
It was at this point that I learned of her condition and went to her aid. She was a lovely dog albeit very overweight from no exercise and large quantities of food slathered in bacon grease pushed her way. Her diet was so bad I am surprised that she didn't develop pancreatitis.
After a few minutes of speaking to her I undid her chain, rubbed on her a while, and then proceeded the unpleasant task of removing her collar, cleaning out and medicating the maggot filled wound. She was so happy to have a human pet her.
As she healed, I began walks around her neighborhood with different family members, she was not aggressive, but they needed to become comfortable around her. I explained to them that she had been loved by their father and had been his military service partner and he would want her to be a family member. Eventually the eldest son took a real interest in her and she received the love and attention she deserved. It was a testament to the fabulous temperments of Military Dogs that she could have endured what she did at the hands of a frightened family and have no resentment towards them.

I mention all this because by now you have heard about the heroic dog who accompanied the Navy Seals into the Osama Bin Laden compound. These Navy Seals are some of the most skilled that our country has to offer...and when President Obama went to meet the Navy Seals and thank them for their heroic efforts, he included the dog who accompanied them. Military Dogs are real soldiers and there are Military Dogs out there who need adopting. Once their duty is over, they are either adopted or put down. Civilians CAN adopt retired canine military veterans. A website has been launched to help promote the adoption of our canine military heroes.
Please check it out.. http://www.militaryworkingdogadoptions.com/index.html
Not every dog is adoptable but many are and deserve good homes after all they have done for our country...
The stunning photo above is from the Straits Times. The work these dogs and their handlers do never ceases to amaze me. And I also salute the dedicated breeders as well because it starts with breeding the right temperments....