Ever since a military service dog named Cairo helped take down Osama bin Laden, Americans are clamoring to adopt retired war dogs.
Military Working Dog Adoptions, a rescue organization that places retired military dogs in civilian homes, has reported more than 300 adoption inquiries since the beginning of May, when Cairo became famous for her role in the Navy SEALs raid that resulted in the death of the world’s most hated terrorist.
History of Military Dogs
Ever since World War I, war dogs have been helping soldiers with missions. Originally trained as scouts, trackers, sentries and mine detectors, now military dogs jump out of helicopters with their handlers, parachute from great heights and sniff out explosives.
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“They made a really big deal about Cairo being a super dog, but all dogs in the military are super dogs,” says Ron Aiello, president of the US War Dogs Association. “These dogs are fully trained, are worth probably $40,000 to $50,000 each at least, and it’s a dog that has been saving American lives.”
Retired Military Dog Adoption Process
Civilians have been allowed to adopt retired military dogs since November 2000. About 300 retired military dogs are put up for adoption each year, mostly through rescues that work solely with 4-legged veterans.
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The process for adopting a retired military dog is similar to what you’d expect with any rescue: an application, an interview, reference checks and an adoption contract.
Watch the heartwarming story of a soldier who adopted the dog who saved him:
The Fate of Retired Military Dogs
Although the rise in popularity of any dog breed is alarming for someone concerned about animal welfare — Disney is fond of making movies about dogs that every child in America must have but then dump in the shelter 3 months later — I’m not worried about the fate of these retired heroes.
Who would mess with a German Shepherd trained to fight alongside the Marines?