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Military Working Dog Adoptions

"A bond is built forever - Forever and a day - Built on love - Built on trust  - That's the canine way" 


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  Military Working Dog


Official MWD Adoption Flyer

Frequently Asked Questions


Contract Working Dog


Piper's Rescue

Mission K9 Rescue

(updated 11/26/15)

Per Lackland: Title 10 US Code 2583 gives priority first to civilian Law Enforcement Agencies, then to prior handlers, and finally to the general public. In the event that a dog’s age or fitness precludes it from being considered for Law Enforcement duties, then a former handler is most often selected. Better than 90% of former MWDs are adopted by their handlers at field units.  

The dog is offered to the last handler first, if s/he does not take the dog, then the dog is offered to the next previous handler, the one before that and so on.

MOST TIMES WITH THE TEDD PROGRAM THE HANDLERS WERE NEVER NOTIFIED THEIR PARTNERS WERE READY FOR ADOPTION.  THE TEDD PROGRAM is a different program than Lackland, TEDD dogs were owned by the ARMY.  In early 2013-14 countless MWDs from the TEDD PROGRAM were adopted out in North Carolina to private citizens where they still reside today.  Most of these private citizens FLATLY REFUSE to even consider returning these War Dogs to their Handlers. To refuse to return a MWD to it's Handler is not a very nice thing to do, this is an unacceptable way to treat our Military members.  It is NOT PATRIOTIC.  A Handler and MWD put their lives on the line for all Americans. They were, still are and always will be a team.  There are numerous civilian families who are refusing to return the dog to it's Handler, if you know one of these families, please encourage them to return the dog to the Handler.

If you are a member of the general public, please keep in mind that the dog you adopted: worked with, was the partner to it's Handler, together they 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.


Official MWD Adoption Flyer

Frequently Asked Questions

Acronyms are -

T.E.D.D., Tactical Explosive Detector Dogs - Owned by the Army.

IED - Improvised Explosion Detection

IDD - Improvised Detection Dog

EDD -Explosive Detection Dog

SSD - Specialized Search Dog or Detection

PEDD - Patrol Explosive Detection Dog

MPC- Multi Purpose Canine

EDD/P -  Explosive Detection Dog & Patrol

IDD/P - Improvised Detection Dog & Patrol

PATROL DOGS (PD) - MAY NOT BE SUITABLE WITH CHILDREN - Search for, locate, and apprehend insurgents, criminals, and terrorists.  Deter criminal and insurgent activity.PDs can be dual-trained to locate explosives (PEDD) or narcotics (PNDD) and can take on dual assignments.

CWDs are not MWDs. CWDs  are owned and trained by a private contract company and deploy with military handlers. When deployment is over, the dogs are given a new handler or returned to the company, where they either train again or are sold to another law enforcement agency or retired and adopted.  they will not be adopted out through Lackland, as they are not Military Working Dogs and are therefore not owned by the military. They will be adopted out through whatever company owns them.

In some cases, CWDs are brought home early by private non-profits and they are eligible for adoption.


Piper's Rescue

Mission K9 Rescue

If you are interested in fostering a pup for the DOD MWD Breeding Program, send an email to MWD.Foster@us.af.mil
There are some additional requirements that foster volunteers have to meet.


Military Working Dog Adoptions - by former US Military Working Dog Handler's & Veterans

An Amazing Uli Story (retired military dog) by Mitra.  "I wish sometimes I could get inside of Uli's mind and know what he knows. When I posted his Bday photo's on another page I noticed a comment, a Bday wish from the wife of Uli's handler. It touched me that she would comment. I was talking to Uli in a regular voice and told him what she said and I said her name. Its not a common name that he would hear in any other situation. Uli jumped up and began dancing up and down the hallway. One would have thought I said the word "Car Ride" or something exciting. Then I wondered how many times Uli would have heard her name in conversations with his handler. While they were deployed together how many times his handler would have said her name. I am not sure what the name meant to Uli except it was obviously a word he remembered with joy. His dancing up and down the hall just about brought tears to my eye... he would still remember his handler? yes Uli still remembers."


You can contact Barb Kirk on facebook if you are a past handler.

UPDATE: MWD Lodd passed away on August 23, 2014

Barb Kirk adopted Lodd on Jan 16, 2011 from a person who could no longer care for Lodd and is now looking for his past handlers. 

On Lodd: His vet military records start in 2003 in Europe with immunizations and the last one entered was 2004. However, it picks up again in 2009.....the previous owner told me her boyfriend who was Special Forces told her about Lodd coming up for adoption. My question is: Since I am unable to get anything record wise from 2009 back....was he Special Forces? He had horrible PTSD and, reacted to gunfire which I used diversion training on and got him through that. The last entry was when he was brought in for: Excessive retraining and, being unwilling to sit so that is when he was retired, medically. He entered the military in 2002 at Lackland AFB, Tx. Anyone with info on him can send me a FB msg....Barb Kirk (Seguin, Tx) and I'll get back with them. I've had Kennel masters who all say "I have never had so many problems trying to get info on a dog." I would love pictures if anyone has them as well as history.

 MWD adoptions by former US Military Working Dog Handler's

MWD Kira J080 (USN, RETIRED!!) was reunited in San Diego, CA, with her former handler KT    JR - MWD - Beny-J471-USA-retired 

Corporal ML survived a roadside bomb with her military service dog Sgt. Rex.  Megan adopted Rex after a long separation  

People are extremely happy that our War Dogs can now be adopted by their handler's and the public.  But it didn't always used to be with way.  If you are new to the history of War Dogs, here is some history you may want to know.

Even though military dogs are credited with saving 10,000 lives in the Vietnam war, they were left in Vietnam at the end of the war. Considered equipment, no plans or provisions allowed for their return to the United States or retirement after their dangerous service to our country.

That all changed when Congress passed Robby’s Law in 2000. Robby’s handler had made every effort to adopt his companion, but he was euthanized anyway. Although the law didn’t save Robby, the law allows for the adoption of retiring military dogs. Officially they are considered obsolete equipment. Today none of the adoptable dogs are euthanized. In fact, there is a waiting list of people wanting to give them retirement homes.  A dog is offered first to other agencies such as law enforcement, then to former handlers and finally to qualified families who apply.

Understandably the screening process is quite stringent. It’s important that the people want the dogs for the right reasons. And they have the experience to handle a highly trained animal. Some Military Working Dogs do not make warm fuzzy pets and may suffer from PTSD just as humans.  The complex application process is crafted to find the most qualified adopters for these soldiers. People must have the skills and abilities to handle the dogs, as well financial resources. These are older dogs who have been in battle zones, and many have health issues.  Check out some FAQ's

MWD Bruno and Handler O share "a moment" at Creech AFB - "These dogs, no matter what their specialty, are saving US troops," www.militaryworkingdogadoptions.com


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