How to Adopt a Retired Military Dog

Written by ehow pets editor
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In 2000, a law was passed that made retired military dogs eligible for adoption. There are special requirements, but if you meet the criteria, you can open your home to a retired military dog. Here's how.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Prove you are capable of humanely caring for a retired military dog. Since military dogs require special care, you may need to show that you have cared for similar types of dogs, such as retired police dogs or search-and-rescue dogs. You must meet all the criteria on a suitability checklist.

  2. 2

    Contact the National K-9 Enforcement Rescue Organization (NERO), an agency that focuses solely on the adoption of retired military dogs (see Resources below).

  3. 3

    Prepare yourself to deal with a potentially belligerent dog. Specialized training may leave some dogs with an aggressive nature. You frequently may need to engage the dog in play to let out its aggression. Adopting a retired military dog requires you to spend a lot of time working with the dog.

  4. 4

    Agree not to hold the government liable for any injuries or damages resulting from owning a retired military dog. For instance, if the dog bites a family member, you can't seek legal action against the government due to this agreement.

  5. 5

    Complete the necessary adoption paperwork.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are in the military but don't work as a dog handler or trainer, volunteer at the base kennel. This gives you access to the dogs and increase your chances of adopting a retired military dog later.
  • If you belong or have belonged to a law enforcement agency, or have worked as a dog handler or trainer, you have a better chance of winning approval for adoption.

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