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    Adoption next stop for MWDs servicing country

    Adoption Next Stop for MWDs Servicing Country

    Photo By Lt. Col. Deanna Bague | Maj. Andrew McGraw a staff internist at the Department of Defense Military Working Dog...... read more read more



    Story by Maj. Deanna Bague 

    Fort Bliss Public Affairs Office

    LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Once military working dogs retire from service, they are placed in an adoption program that finds them a permanent home, said Rodney Sparkowich, the adoption disposition coordinator for the 341st Training Squadron.

    "Basically when a dog's service life has come to pretty much the end and they're ready to retire, I get the dogs in the adoption program," said Sparkowich.

    Dogs that have medical issues at any age, when they are no longer serviceable, and young dogs that have been purchased to be trained as an MWD but are not able to complete training are also put in the adoption program, said Sparkowich.

    "So I have young dogs, old dogs — anywhere in between," said Sparkowich.

    MWDs receive medical services at the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Veterinary Service Hospital, Lackland's multimillion dollar facility, said Maj. Douglas Owens, chief of internal medicine and outpatient services at the hospital. Ownes said the hospital offers very specialized services including but not limited to computed tomography scans, sonography, rehabilitation and physical therapy sections.

    Law enforcement, private handlers or private citizens may adopt. Last year about 75 dogs went to law enforcement agencies. The dogs law enforcement does not accept go to private homes, said Sparkowich. Approximately 290 dogs ended up in private homes in 2009.

    Sparkowich said he believes MWDs can adjust to retirement as easily as they adjust to working conditions due to the skills they acquire as puppies through a foster program. Families are allowed to sign up and take out a dog for 3 months to help the puppy be a normal pup.

    Careful consideration is given to the MWDs and to those interested in adopting them. The dogs undergo temperament tests to ensure they are safe in a neutral environment. Applicants are screened and must meet certain criteria.

    "The mission of the 341st is to care for the military working dogs that are allowed to go home and keep the same dignity they had while they're here," said Sparkowich.



    Date Taken: 01.12.2010
    Date Posted: 02.01.2010 20:13
    Story ID: 44760

    Web Views: 625
    Downloads: 129