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    Service Dogs Retiring

    Service Dogs Retiring

    Photo By Spc. Alicia Clark | Staff Sgt. Joshua R. Smith holds Dago's short leash as 3-year-old Trevor Stewart pets...... read more read more



    Story by Pfc. Alicia Clark 

    20th Public Affairs Detachment

    By Pfc. Alicia C. Torbush
    20th Public Affairs Detachment

    FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - Service dogs have been a part of the Army for many years, but what happens when these canine soldiers retire?

    Dago, a retired Army service dog, served as a bomb detecting dog with the 28th Military Police Detachment at Ft. Wainwright, Alaska for eight years.

    The Dutch Shepherd began his initial training in 2001 at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Dago's numerous handlers continued training him throughout his time in service.

    Dago retired in January and like many retired service dogs he is now awaiting adoption.

    In 2000, Bill Clinton passed a law that required handlers of retired service dogs to rehabilitate and retrain the dogs to make them adoptable.

    Each retired dogs goes through a process to make it adoptable. A video of aggression test performed on the dog are sent to Lackland AFB to be reviewed and evaluated to determine whether the dog is adoptable.

    Sadly, that is not always the case. If a service dog is determined unadoptable or is not adopted in a certain length of time, the dog may be euthanized. Euthanasia is the act of killing a sick or injured animal for reasons of mercy. Dogs not adopted or euthanized for medical reasons are sent to Lackland AFB for use in training dog handlers.

    Dago is reaching the end of the allotted adoption time and having been deemed not medically fit for reassignment, is nearing his time to be euthanized.

    "When (Dago) is in the Army, he's just like a soldier," said Sgt. Hector E. Perez of the 28th Military Police. "He is taken care of, he goes to the vet just like we go to the doctor, but when he retires, he's just another dog."

    Dago has completed the process of retraining and evaluation, and is now awaiting adoption. Until he is adopted or euthanized will remain with the 28th MP.



    Date Taken: 05.16.2008
    Date Posted: 05.16.2008 10:03
    Story ID: 19462
    Location: US

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