The   “ A B C ’s”  of        MWD  ADOPTION

1.Read all the requirements on the MWD Adoptions Application       carefully to make certain you can comply with them. Talk to all the   members of your family who will be involved in the retired MWD’s life to be sure they are all supportive of the adoption idea. 
ONLY send the MWD Adoption Application to the LOCATION FROM WHICH YOU ARE GOING TO ADOPT! Fax or email the application to Lackland AFB if you wish to adopt a MWD from THERE. If you adopt from a MWD FACILITY, the MWD Facility where you adopt your retiring MWD must generate the Adoption Packet which they will ultimately forward to Lackland AFB. Save time, effort, and paper!  



2.    CALL the MWD Facilities YOURSELF!
Please look at the MWD FACILITY CONTACT NUMBER PAGE to see if there may be any retiring MWDs available for adoption in your geopgraphic area. When calling the MWD Facilities...get straight to the point about your reason for calling. Be diligent in your follow through, and if you leave a message, CALL BACK AGAIN! Long distance return calls are not usually authorized, so CALL BACK!! Handlers conduct training , care for dogs , keep up with certifications, and on and on it goes ad infinitum! They are busy, but they always take the time to try to get a retiring MWD a good FOREVER home!  Keep in mind you are talking to warriors, who with their MWD partners, have put it all on the line countless times to protect their fellow soldiers and to protect and defend all of us in America. Be courteous and don’t forget to take a minute to say a special “Thank you for your service”!!!

                               Here’s sample of what you might say to
                               find out the information you want to know:

                 Hello, my name is___. I am calling to see if you have any 
        dogs which have been declared *“excess” or *"pending disposition"                 and are due to retire that might be suitable for CIVILIAN adoption?
            *(A MWD has to first be declared EXCESS and then retirement plans are quickly set into motion.)
            * (This means that the paperwork is in the process of going through, or sometimes has already gone
                                                   through to evaluate this dog for adoption. )
                                     If the answer is “NO”… 
ASK them to take your name and number and to call you if a dog becomes available at their MWD Facility. Overnight, dogs can develop an unforeseen military career-ending injury of the type that would only be a minimal problem to them in civilian retired life.

                               If the answer is “YES”…ASK IF

 A) …the dog has already been declared excess. 

 B) …the Adoption Suitability Test has been videotaped and sent to Lackland.

 C) …any handler is in line to adopt the dog.
 (Handlers get first choice, Law Enforcement is second and Civilians are third.)                                                                                                                                                                   
 D) … if you can talk to someone who can tell you about the dog. 
  These handlers are super perceptive about the dogs in their charge. They are only too happy to answer all your questions because they want a good match between you and your MWD.        
BE HONEST about what you want! Keep in mind, however, that your dream MWD might be in a different package than you had previously conceived! I LOVE German Shepherds and definitely wanted one…but by the time I found Benny, I was so THRILLED that I could give a good home to a good dog, I didn’t even ASK what BREED he was!!! From the Kennel Master’s description, 
he sounded EXACTLY like what I was looking for!  I had already agreed to set the paperwork in motion, when I asked in what breed Benny’s GREAT HEART was packaged. Imagine my utter DELIGHT when I received an email picture of a truly gorgeous German Shepherd! Keep an OPEN MIND! MWD blessings come in different breeds, shapes, colors and sizes! 

E) … if you can start the paperwork to begin the adoption process NOW.
  The handlers have many things on their plate, however, they do want to complete the process as expediently as possible. They LOVE their dogs. KEEP CALLING TO POLITELY REMIND THEM THAT YOU ARE STILL INTERESTED AND WAITING. Persistent patience pays off…and politeness wins the day!

 3. CHECK TO SEE WHAT MWDs may be available at LACKLAND AFB. If you are not able to locate a retiring MWD up for adoption in your geographic region, you can then see what is available at the 341st Training Squadron, Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX. The folks at
 Lackland AFB are terrific, caring people. They are also extremely BUSY!! So, the BEST WAY to reach the MWD Adoptions Folks IS TO EMAIL THEM AT: ! They make every effort to respond within ONE WEEK of your PLEASE BE PATIENT...they are as anxious to get GREAT homes for their MWDs as you are to give our Hero MWDs a Forever Home! BE ASSURED, the folks at Lackland AFB WILL make it
Should you adopt a dog from Lackland AFB, please know that your request will be placed on a list of adopters in the order it is received. The wait to adopt a MWD can range anywhere from SIX MONTHS to FIFTEEN MONTHS depending on different variables. The experience of giving a home to a retiring MWD Hero is truly WORTH THE WAIT!! 
   Click here for the downloadable    MWD ADOPTION APPLICATION 
               ADOPTION DAY:   MWD Benny B163   January 4, 2008    Langley AFB, VA

                           I’ve Begun the Adoption…NOW what?

A.   Make sure you have all your paperwork complete and submitted to the MWD Facility with which you are working. Have your phone references on “Stand-By”, letting them know in advance that they might be called when you go there to pick up your MWD.

B.   Ask if the dog has been already neutered/spayed. If not, ask when the MWD will be scheduled for the procedure and if the dog’s “Outprocessing” can take place at the same time. 

C.   Ask if they can secure a rabies tag reflecting the dog’s last date of vaccination. The MWD doesn’t have to wear a tag, but your new civilian retired MWD must comply with all of the rules of your state and community. You really shouldn’t take “No” for an answer on this one...even if you have to volunteer to do the “footwork” to procure the tag.

D.   Find out what the dog is eating and how much… Usually, MWDs are fed Hill’s Science Diet Active twice a day. A good food that makes for easy transition with little or no digestive upset is Hill’s Science Diet Mature 7+ YearsExcellent long term foods are Natural Balance Reduced Weight or Nature's Recipe Weight Management.Be CONSCIENTIOUS about KEEPING YOUR MWDs WEIGHT DOWN. An overweight dog will be more prone to more health issues! Pick lower fat doggie treats that contain the “little extras” that will benefit your retired MWD…such as those containing Omega Fatty Acids and Glucosamine Chondroitin. Anything that promotes dental health is good, too. Rawhides or pigs' ears are NOT a good choice as they can lead to intestinal blockage…so NOT worth the risk. The more diligent your care, the longer your MWD will be with you and the better his health and comfort.

E.   Find out what supplements your MWD is on… Many MWDs take joint supplements because of all the athletic work they do. Before adopting your MWD, you should be prepared to maintain him in his accustomed manner. Whether or not your MWD is taking joint supplements when you adopt him, you should IMMEDIATELY start him on them. In other words, don’t scrimp on food or diet. They are extremely important components in the longevity and comfort level of your MWD.

F.   Find out when your MWD’s last teeth cleaning was, and also when he was last administered  HeartGard  Plus and Frontline PlusGenerally, the MWD Facility will send you home with a one month’s supply of these two products, but after that, it’s up to you. While you are getting the rabies tag, get the vet to write you a prescription for the Heartgard (required for purchase) In doing so, you will not have to immediately take your MWD to your vet at home. Most vets will not write a prescription without doing the heartworm check. If you still have six months left before your dog needs his heartworm blood test, you will be saving time and money. I have found an UNBELIEVABLY cost effective source for the medicines is . WHEREVER you get your supplies, make sure you are ready for your MWD’s homecoming!!  

G.   Don’t forget to have two forms of I.D. for the Legal Office when you sign the legal paperwork to transfer liability and ownershipIf you are NOT military or have Base/Post access, find out who will meet you at the Gate to escort you where you need to go.

H.   Bring your leash and collar and have a couple of “big dog” toys on hand. You might consider having a couple of comfy dog beds waiting at home. They are a great alternative if you prefer not having the dog on furniture. Our Benny had three in the house and one in my SUV. He immediately went to them whenever we changed locations. MWDs are SMART and APPRECIATIVE!

I.   Make certain you receive a copy of your MWD’s medical records and verify that you have his microchip number.MWDs have a tattoo in their left ear as well as a microchip. Make sure that you can find the microchip number in the medical record. As soon as feasible, call the microchip company and have the microchip number transferred over to your ownership. The companies the DoD usually uses are Avid Microchip Company  (1-800-336-2843  Transfer cost: around $19.50) and Home Again (1-866-738-4324  Transfer cost: around $12.50). In some cases, PetLink International Directory is the microchip company which can transfer ownership.

J.   Make sure you ASK what COMMANDS the dog knows…and LEARN them!
              Learn how to speak your dog’s language!



Photo Credit: Goldsboro News-Argus                                                                                                            Photos by Greg Sousa
This is NOT an official Department of Defense Military Working Dog Adoption site. 
It is based upon knowledge gained from personal MWD adoption experience.

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Just because the MWD is retired, does not mean that he can forget his basic 
obedience. He will be happier (and you will, TOO!) if you insist on obedience
firmly and lovingly! Dogs…even the FABULOUS MWDs…will try to take advantage of your inconsistencies or uncertainties . BE CONSISTENT and FIRM, but LOVING. Just because MWDs have MORE than $75,000 in education does NOT mean that they don't need your direction and guidance!
ENJOY the WONDERFUL Retired MWD who will share your life!

YOU are now their LAST HANDLER!!!
MWD Benny B163