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How to Adopt a Retired Military Dog

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.

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  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. 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. 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. 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. Complete the necessary adoption paperwork.

  6. Tip

    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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