Adopting a Retired Police or Army Dog

By Maya Marin

Retired police and military working dogs make great pets. They are fiercely loyal and protective of their humans. These dogs are rare finds, however, as they are usually adopted by their handlers once they retire from military or police service. But a few organizations specialize in adopting these pets to loving homes. Once you find the right dog, you must complete a rigorous adoption process. This ensures that each dog finds a loving, caring "forever home," and each human family finds a dog that will fit well in the family unit.

Step 1 - Locate a retired military working dog or police dog from a rescue that deals with these animals. Some of these are linked in the References section below.

Step 2 - Fill out an adoption application with the rescue group you have chosen, and provide personal and veterinary references. The adoption coordinator will do a thorough background check to ensure that you are a suitable prospective home for a retired police or military working dog.

Step 3 - Host the adoption coordinator for a home visit and meet and greet. The adoption coordinator will ensure that your home meets safety standards for adoption, and conduct a brief interview with you to explain the adoption process and answer any questions that you may have.

Step 4 - Meet your prospective new family member. Not all dogs are a match for all people; canines have varied personalities just like humans. A meet-and-greet with the dog you have chosen will ensure that you are a great fit for each other. Many pets are returned to rescues and shelters every year because they didn't get along well with their humans; this is stressful for both the dog and the human.

Step 5 - Attend a training class with your new family member. Retired police and military working dogs are highly trained, highly disciplined animals; the training class is more to benefit the human and teach you how to interact with your new pet. These classes will help you develop a deep bond with your new best friend.

By Maggie O'Leary

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References
Vietnam Security Police Assocation K-9 Section
Military Working Dog Foundation, Inc.
United States War Dogs Association
North American Police Work Dog Association
National Police Canine Association
United States Police Canine Association

About the Author
Based in Oklahoma, Maggie O'Leary has been writing professionally since 2001. O'Leary has served in the United States military since 1997 and is a two-time OIF veteran. She has been published in several local military and civilian newspapers and national media outlets including "The Washington Post" and CNN. O'Leary has a Bachelor of Arts in history and legal studies.