In the U.S. Military, more than 2,000 dogs currently serve. Each military dog saves the lives of 150 to 200 servicemen and women, aAnd we aren’t doing enough for our four-legged heroes.
In the not too distant past, military working dogs were left on foreign soil, never to be reunited with their human partners. As a result, many still believe that such practices are common, though that’s not the case.
Unfortunately, policy doesn’t always progress with the times and the old rules still allow for situations that reflect old school attitudes towards military working dogs. Technically speaking, if dogs are retired overseas, they become civilians and are no longer qualified to travel home on military vehicles. Fortunately, it’s not common practice to retire dogs overseas.
To prevent such unreformed policy from ever presenting such problems to military pups, Congress drafted some new legislation. On Oct. 7, the National Defense Authorization Act passed the House and Senate. This bill includes language supported by the American Humane Association mandating military working dogs be returned to U.S. soil upon retirement. Even further, the dogs’ handlers and families will have the first right of adoption.
The language, introduced in the House by Congressman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) and the Senate by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is a huge furry step forward for military working dogs and their best friends.
Thousands of veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress when coming home from war, and the dogs aren’t excluded from this. Keeping military dogs with their handlers allows them to help each other heal.
Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane Association president and CEO says:
“This is a great day for military heroes on both ends of the leash. We believe ALL our veterans — two-footed and four-footed — should come back to a hero’s welcome, a loving, forever home and the happy, healthy and dignified retirement they so deserve after a lifetime of service to their country.”
The bill now awaits the president’s signature and we are certain this bill will become law, because we all want every single one of our veterans, including the furry kind, to be brought home to love, respect and admiration.
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