Dogs have been used all over the world in military action dating back hundreds of years. The United States Military first started large scale use of Military Working Dogs (MWD) during World War I, and they have played a pivotal role in U.S. military strategy since.
Right now there are thousands of MWD’s on the front lines around the world protecting our soldiers. A lesser known canine hero—Contract Working Dogs (CWD)—also fight alongside our United States Service men and women. Unlike MWD’s, The Department of Defense does not own CWD’s. Instead, private companies that enter into working contracts with the Department of Defense own them. Just like the MWD’s, these canines train, deploy and fight with their fellow soldiers, often saving their lives. Police K9’s also do this great work here at home, keeping our streets and citizens safe.
Currently, when MWD’s retire in a non-combat zone overseas, they are considered “pets not vets” and are not provided with a ride back to the United States, nor are they provided medical benefits. CWD’s face even more challenges. Many are left in kennels overseas for months before getting a much-needed ride home. Once they are back in the United States, they often require medical care before being adopted into loving homes or being reunited with the handler with whom they deployed. Many come home with serious cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and need time to decompress and rehabilitate before being placed in permanent homes. Many police departments do not have retirement programs in place for their K9’s and often need assistance with placing dogs once they retire along with a need for continued care.
GreaterGood.org is working with dedicated organizations that specialize in the rescue of these retired heroes. They are working to bring as many Military Working Dogs, Contract Working Dogs, and Police K9’s home in order to either reunite them with the handlers with whom they worked or adopt them into loving homes.