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 APPLICATION TO ADOPT A MWD
Official MWD Adoption Flyer
Frequently Asked Questions