Dogs have served us in many ways over the centuries, from guarding our livestock to helping us track and hunt game. In recent years, they have also become very common in the military, and have gone above and beyond with their loyalty and bravery. Fido’s amazing dedication is behind the next doggy holiday that’s coming up. March 13 is K-9 Veterans Day. A Lakeville, MN vet discusses K-9 veterans below.
Although many types of dogs can be working K-9s, the pups most often found in service are German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Belgian Malinois. These amazing pooches serve in a variety of roles, such as helping law enforcement, assisting search and rescue teams, or sniffing out bombs, to name a few.
K-9 veterans are sometimes retired due to age or injury. In other cases, they develop what is essentially PTSD as result of doing their jobs, and can no longer perform their duties. Although as many as 90% of K-9 veterans are adopted by their handlers, some still need to find forever homes. Due to a law President Clinton signed off on back in 2000, these pooches can now be adopted.
If you’re considering adopting a K-9 veteran, you may want to take classes on handling techniques. Fido was trained as a working dog, so it may take him some time to adjust to retirement. And, as with adopting any pet, it’s important to do plenty of research first. You’ll want to decide what kind of dog you want. Make sure you can provide everything your furry companion will need, from veterinary care to toys to, of course, treats. You’ll need to pass a screening and background check, so be prepared to answer questions and provide documentation. Be sure you are 100% committed before signing any paperwork!
Finding A Dog
There are now several charities that work with retired K-9 dogs. Some, like Soldiersbestfriend.org, pair veterans that suffer from PTSD with retired military dogs. Another good one is K-9 Lifesavers, whose site can be found here. You can also ask your vet or a local veterans’ group for recommendations. Even if you aren’t ready to adopt, you can still help these brave dogs out by offering donations, or even just by spreading the word about them.
Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Contact us, your Lakeville, MN animal clinic, today!