Giving retired police dogs a good home -

Giving retired police dogs a good home

We've all heard dogs referred to as ‘man's best friend.' That also includes in battle. Today there are over 2,500 military dogs deployed with American troops overseas. And each year about 400 of those dogs are retired from service and need a good home. Our pet pro shows you how to adopt these "retired" dogs and tells you what you need to know about taking care of one.

"A lot of people are interested in adopting a retired police or military working dog. And it is possible. But a highly-trained canine is no ordinary pet," says Luciano, "I first started working with dogs at Lackland air force base in San Antonio, Texas."

All U.S. Military working dogs are trained there and then sent to operational units throughout the Department of Defense. The DOD deploys mostly German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois and Labrador Retrievers that have been trained in either security and protection work, or explosive and substance detection.

Once these dogs have reached the end of their useful working life, many are offered to the public for adoption. There are more than a thousand applicants every year. And while there's no cost, you must demonstrate that you're capable of handling and humanely caring for a retired military working dog.

Like me, Kenyon Evers trained at Lackland Air Force Base. After completing his own military service Kenyon continued his canine career as a deputy with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.

Kenyon says, while many retired police dogs are adopted by their handlers, some of these four-legged cops are taken in by private citizens.

"The dogs can be put up for adoption and some of these people who want to try and do something that's really nice get these dogs that they just have no concept of. And they don't realize what they're getting. It's kind of a gamble, what type of temperament the dog has. They don't know what they dog has been through. They don't know what may trigger the dog. And in that split-second that you forget about that police dog that has been trained to bite and protect is now in the blink of an eye is biting your relative. And now, guess what happens? You don't want that dog any more," says Kenyon.

During his years on the sheriff's department, Kenyon brought his canine partners home when they were off duty. But Kenyon says that meant he, himself, was never fully off duty.

"It's pretty much a 24/7 job. When I brought my police dogs home, it was 24/7. The dog was part of the family. They would be in the house but I'm always, you know, have one eye on my dog. You really have to think and prepare yourself. You have to be ahead of the dog and what may occur in different situations. You never know what's going to set it off. For the most part, all of the dogs I've had, after a certain point, you can't say you trust them 100% because you can't just let your guard down," says Kenyon.

"If you're going to take a police dog, a retired working dog, you should know what you're doing. You should at least have some kind of concept of what the dog has gone through. You should understand that it is not just going to be a lap dog. You get a very, very high-drive dog and if they can't get rid of that energy, they're going to start destroying things," says Kenyon.

Although Kenyon's Belgian Malinois Benci is no longer an active-duty police dog, he works with him every day to maintain the dog's discipline.

"As much as I trust him, I wouldn't be comfortable with in being in the backyard by himself with the grandkids, just because something could happen to set him off. So I have to basically try to control his environment so that he's safe and my environment is safe," says Kenyon.

If you think you've got what it takes to handle a retired police or military working dog, consider looking into it because there may be a K-9 hero out there in need of a home like yours. 

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