At SargesList, veteran and animal topics are near and dear to our hearts. We have a special respect and fondness for Military Working Dogs, or MWDs, and the many ways they sacrifice for our freedoms just like their human counterparts.
If you don’t know much about military working dogs, you’re missing out! The services they provide and the intense training they receive are second to none and we owe the lives of many of our men and women in uniform to the loyalty and watchfulness of MWDs.
The following list includes just a few facts about our furry partners in arms. Read to the end of the post if you’d like some resources for getting involved with helping these deserving animals.
Six Things You Might Not Know About Military Working Dogs
- ¬†Working dogs and their handlers serve with all the branches of service; the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.
- The most common breeds for MWDs include German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherds.
- Since Congress passed H. R. 5314, it became legal for retired or injured working dogs to be adopted by their former handlers or other willing caretakers. Although that law has made it substantially easier to find homes foe these animals, non-profits often have to step in to handle transportation costs for the animals because they are officially designated as “equipment” in the military. There has been a petition circulating that would legally reclassify working dogs, or at least not retire them until they are stateside, to make it easier to re-home them and prevent euthanasia in extreme situations. See below for organizations that help.
The nation’s first national monument dedicated to military working dogs is scheduled to open this year at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland and will be dedicated on October 28. The monument will display four of the most common MWD breeds and a bronze dog handler. This monument is meant to represent dogs and their handlers that have served through World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the War on Terror.
- Lackland Airforce Base is the official home of the DOD Military Working Dog School. If you’re interested in adopting a working dog or fostering one of the puppies in their program, you can learn more about it here.
- Military Dog Handlers have a special MOS and are also trained at Lackland, although specialized training between dogs and handlers also happens at other base locations.
¬†More Great Info About MWD’s
Want to Get Involved?
The Retired Military Working Dog Assistance Organization exists to educate people about military working dogs, financially support active duty and retired military working dogs, prevent cruelty to retired military working dogs and facilitate the adoption of retired military working dogs.
Retired Military Working Dog Assistance currently supports 15 dogs on a monthly basis, mostly with medications, tests and doctor visit fees. They also fundraise for special surgeries and other medical and care costs. Each of the dogs cost on average $200 per month for maintenance care, excluding special treatments, which can cost an additional several thousand dollars per month. RMWDAO relies solely on donations, so pitching in a few dollars is a great way to say thank you to our canine vets!
Although there is no charge for adopting retiring MWDs, there are fees associated with transporting dogs domestically or internationally for adoption. Military Working Dog Adoptions steps in to assist in these situations and also helps with dogs’ medical situations. The organization also assist in re-homing MWDs who do not work out with their first adoptive family. Donations help fund their efforts to help retired military working dogs forever homes.
The Retired Military Working Dogs facebook page is a great place to honor military working dogs at work and in retirement. They share a great combination of news, updates, articles and pictures. They aim to raise awareness and help fund special projects to support the health of canine heroes, supporting whatever the dogs need to enjoy their retirement.