How To Adopt A Retired Military Working Dog

Retired military working dogs are true heroes, having served their country with loyalty, bravery and dedication. These unsung champions protect our troops, detect explosives and perform countless other vital tasks to ensure the safety and well-being of those in the line of duty. After carrying out their duties, they deserve a loving and caring home in which they can comfortably live out their golden years. Understanding how to adopt a retired military dog is essential for those who wish to do so. The experience can prove to be mutually transformative with proper guidance and preparation. 

Keep reading to learn how to adopt retired military dogs.

How To Adopt A Retired Military Working Dog

Benefits of Adopting a Military Working Dog

Prospective dog owners should consider a dog’s breed and personality traits, as well as its history and skillset. Adopting retired military dogs can be an excellent opportunity for families looking for a unique and rewarding experience. 

Here are the benefits of welcoming one into your family:

Well-Trained and Disciplined Companions

Unlike adopting a pet from a regular shelter, you won’t need to worry about adopting a retired military dog with extensive training. Most of them are trained in a variety of skills, such as obedience, drug and explosive detection, and search and rescue. Their exposure to various situations and environments makes them adaptable and trustworthy companions.

Unique Skills and Capabilities

There is no doubt that military dogs are highly skilled animals. Their training involves a wide range of tasks, so adopting veteran dogs will allow you to benefit from their unique skill set. Some canines are even trained in therapy, assisting individuals with physical or mental disabilities.

Second Chance at Life

Military dogs often face the possibility of being put down upon retirement, yet they still have plenty of love and loyalty to offer. When you choose retired K9s for adoption, you are not only giving a deserving animal a second chance at life but also providing a loving forever home for a dog that has served their country.

Eligibility Criteria for Adopting a Retired Military Working Dog

Knowing how to adopt a retired military dog is not enough to take one home. Adopters must fit specific criteria to ensure the dog’s well-being and compatibility. Here are some standard requirements:

Adopters typically need to be at least 18 to be considered for adopting a retired military working dog. This ensures that individuals are legally responsible and capable of properly caring for the canine.

Citizenship: In many cases, adopters must be citizens or legal residents of the country where the military working dog is being retired. This helps ensure that the adoption process complies with legal regulations and that the dog’s welfare is prioritized within the country’s jurisdiction.

Secure and Fenced Yard: Many organizations prefer adopters to have a secure and fenced yard where the dog can safely exercise and roam without the risk of escaping or encountering potential dangers.

Adequate Space: Adopters should have sufficient indoor space to accommodate the dog comfortably. This includes providing a designated sleeping area, access to clean water and protection from extreme weather conditions.

Pet-Friendly Environment: If other pets are in the household, adopters should demonstrate that they can provide a harmonious and safe environment for the retired military dog and existing pets.

No Kids Below 12: One key aspect to consider when adopting a retired military dog is the age of the children in the family. Having a child under 12 in the household may not be the most suitable environment for a retired military dog.

Previous Dog Ownership: Previous experience owning and caring for dogs demonstrates a level of responsibility and understanding of canine needs.

Training Knowledge: While retired military dogs may come with basic training, adopters should be prepared to continue training and provide ongoing socialization to help the dog adjust to its new home and routine.

Understanding Special Needs: Some retired military working dogs may have specific needs due to their service history or age. Adopters should be prepared to accommodate these needs and provide appropriate care and support.

The Application Process for Adopting a Retired Military Working Dog

As loyal companions and highly skilled professionals, retired military working dogs deserve a comfortable and caring environment to rest and relax. Here’s everything you need to know about the adoption process:

Gathering Necessary Documentation and Requirements

It’s crucial to gather all necessary documentation and meet the requirements set forth by the organization facilitating the adoption of retired military working dogs. This may include proof of age and citizenship, documentation of your housing situation and property, and evidence of experience with dog ownership and training.

Completing the Application Form

Once you have all the required documentation in order, the next step is to complete the adoption application form provided by the organization. This form typically gathers information about your personal details, living situation, experience with dogs and reasons for wanting to adopt a retired military working dog. Be thorough and honest in your responses to ensure a smooth process.

What to Expect During the Waiting Period

There is usually a waiting period after submitting the application. This is because the organization needs to review your details to assess your suitability as an adopter. During this time, you may be contacted for additional information or clarification if needed. Patience is vital during this stage as the organization works to find the best match for both you and the retired military dog.

Being Matched with a Dog and Meeting Them in Person

Once your application is approved, you will be matched with a retired military working dog based on factors such as your lifestyle, experience, and the dog’s needs and temperament. You will have the opportunity to meet the canine in person and spend time getting to know each other before finalizing the adoption.

Finalizing the Adoption

The final step is to complete the adoption process. This may involve signing adoption agreements, paying adoption fees (if applicable) and receiving information about the dog’s medical history, care needs and any ongoing support the organization provides post-adoption.

Preparing for Your Retired Military Working Dog’s Arrival

Before your retired military working dog arrives, it is essential to create a safe and comfortable space where they can adjust and feel at ease. 

This may include:

  • Designating a quiet area or room where military dogs for adoption can rest and retreat if needed.
  • Providing a comfortable bed or crate with soft bedding for relaxation.
  • Ensuring the space is free from hazards such as loose wires, toxic plants, or small objects that could be ingested.

Preparing the necessary supplies and equipment in advance can significantly facilitate your dog’s transition into its new environment. It’s essential to have food and water bowls that match the animal’s size and breed, along with high-quality dog food.

Additionally, it is crucial for safety to ensure your dog has a suitable collar, leash and updated identification tags with contact information. Providing toys and chew items can help keep your dog mentally stimulated and engaged, while grooming supplies like brushes, nail clippers and shampoo contribute to their overall well-being and hygiene.

Adjusting to Life with a Retired Military Working Dog

Taking home military dogs for adoption is a rewarding experience, but it also requires understanding, patience and proactive care. Here are some key aspects to consider:

Understanding Your Dog’s Unique Background and Potential Challenges

Retired military working dogs often have unique backgrounds and experiences that may influence their behavior and needs. Learn about your dog’s history, training and potential challenges.

Establishing a Routine and Implementing Basic Training

Consistency and structure are essential for retired military working dogs. Establish a daily routine that includes regular feeding, exercise and rest periods. Basic training, such as obedience commands and leash manners, helps reinforce positive behaviors and strengthens your bond with the dog.

Socializing and Bonding with Your Dog

Socialization is crucial in helping your dog adapt to new environments and interactions. Gradually expose them to different people, environments and experiences in a positive and controlled manner. Spend quality time bonding through play, training sessions, and calm interactions to build trust and companionship.

Immediately Address Any Health Issue

Stay proactive in addressing any health concerns or behavioral issues by consulting with your veterinarian or a certified dog trainer. Regular check-ups, preventive care and ongoing training contribute to a fulfilling and harmonious life with your retired military working dog.

Mission K9 Rescue Can Help You Give A Hero a Home

There’s no doubt that adopting a retired military working dog brings with it immense gratification. These hardworking and loyal companions have dedicated years of their lives to their missions, working alongside brave soldiers in often daunting conditions. So, when it comes to saying thank you and providing them with a forever home, you can rest assured you are doing a great thing.

Mission K9 is committed to rescue, reunite, re-home, rehabilitate and repair retired working dogs. Not only will you give a retired military working dog a loving home, but you’ll also be supporting Mission K9’s ongoing efforts to ensure these canine heroes live out their days in comfort and happiness.

Now that you know how to adopt a retired military dog, contact Mission K9 and begin your journey. It’s time to give a hero a home.

Donate –

If you prefer Paypal, we are listed as “Mission K9 Rescue”.

If you prefer to mail a check, please use this address for donations by mail:

Mission K9 Rescue
P.O. Box 395

Needville, TX 77461-0395


EIN 46-4302698 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization
Previous Post

Belgian Malinois – Heroes of the Working Dog World

Next Post

What You Need To Know About Giving A Retired Military Hero A Home