ABOUT MWD - Military Working Dog ADOPTIONS:
BEFORE A DOG IS READY FOR ADOPTION:
It is ascertained if the dog can still work. If so, the dog is then sent to a government agency, such as a police department to continue working. If the dog is ready for adoption, the past handler is offered first option to adopt. If neither of the above happens, then the dog is offered to the general public.
Or so, that is how it is suppose to go, sometimes the handlers are not notified and they appear later looking for their dog. If you are a member of the general public, please keep in mind that the dog you adopted: worked with, was the partner to, and SAVED many lives... creating a bond for the handlers and warriors that is beyond most civilians comprehension. They need their DOG... so please consider looking for handlers or being open to them if they show up later on down the road to make the dog available to them... This can happen in a couple of different ways. Perhaps the Handler would like to have his or her dog returned to them. If you, general public, have bonded with the dog, this will be at great personal sacrifice on your part. However, sometimes for a multitude of reasons a Handler can not adopt, but would like contact, perhaps via pictures, phone and visits.
ALSO, PLEASE CONSIDER THIS... The dogs made available for adoption that returned home from war, will be offered for adoption because they can not work anymore. This means they may have multiple physical injuries and old age issues that will have high medical care costs. In some cases, extremely high cost. The dogs are not 'show-pieces' - they will need to be Adopted - Loved & Honored and will cost you much money. Most are not house trained, and most will continue working in 'their head', you will need to know what their triggers are... you will need to seriously educated yourself... Some adopters find their dogs needs to sniff all the cars in the parking lot or parked cars while walking down the street.... and much more. ( There is no 'official' medical care for retired Military or Contract Working Dogs )
Every base handles their own adoptions across the DoD. If individuals are interested in adopting from somewhere besides Lackland they would need to go through that unit that owns the dog.
The one drawback for public adoptions at operational bases is that nearly all of those dogs go to the handler and never make it to the public. This is the most ideal situation for the dog.
The dogs housed at Lackland don't typically have any handler assigned for an extended period of time which makes it much easier for the public to adopt. There are approximately 15-20 dogs that become available each month, however currently Lackland has close to 500 applications on file.
This could potentially cause someone interested in adopting to wait 12-18 months to adopt depending on the dogs that are available. That wait does not apply to operational units as they may only have one or two dogs a year retire out.