The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : The Troops Are Coming Home - What Will Happen to the Military Working Dogs?

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Troops Are Coming Home - What Will Happen to the Military Working Dogs?

Now that the Troops will be coming home, what will happen to the military working dogs? The United States has more military dogs than any other country in the world. It is estimated to be around 2,800. Most are German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and Labrador.

These dogs have become important members of their teams, Recently in southern Afghanistan, they sniffed out 20 finds of unexploded devices, weapon caches and other materials. They also provide a measure of protection for their handlers. When it’s time for them to retire, however, the highly-trained dogs are sometimes put down because they may be too aggressive or too sensitive for most civilians to handle.

There have been more, and more dogs coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. The head over the animal behaviour program at Tuft’s University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Nicholas Dodman says that dogs can easily get a type of PTSD which is very similar to the disorder in humans.

There is a not-for-profit group in northern Illinois called Save-A-Vet, that works to find suitable adoptive homes for military working dogs. They are trying to get the message out that working dogs should be considered veterans instead of equipment, and they still have value after they retire.


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