Would You Adopt Military Working Dog?
If like me you never thought you would... This blog might change your mind.
When my wife Kelly first told me about adopting Amos I was really unsure. She was in the Falkland Islands and I was in Bahrain and she sent me a video of him during a walk…
I remember thinking “aww he’s cute but if we adopted him, he would probably kill us in our sleep” he was a big German Shepherd and GSD’s get enough bad press as it is, let alone coming across one that’s been trained to a military standard to bite and bring down an intruder.
So, when I arrived in the Falklands, I went to visit Amos up at the Military Working Dog section. The facilities there are amazing and the team look after all of the dogs so well, you can tell that they’re all really happy. The new kennels were opened when I was last in the Falklands about 5 years ago, so they’re still quite new. The temperature is regulated so the dogs are never too hot or too cold AND they have the radio on 24/7 so it’s nice to know that the dogs are all big fans of BFBS Radio
When you walk into the Kennels all of the dogs get quite excited to see you and they’re all spinning around, barking and jumping up the walls etc but when we approached Amos’ kennel there wasn’t a peep from him. He was just lay on his bed gazing out at us and I knew straight away then, that he would become a member of our family.
Amos has been in the Falkland Islands all of his working life and he doesn’t really know anything else apart from his job, his kennel, walks, food and his Kong (he LOVES his Kong) so first of all we had to arrange a house visit to see what he was like inside a house and how he would react.
When we got him to the house he was sniffing everything and checking the place out that was soon to become his home. The thing we found funny was that he was fascinated by the clock, the ticking of the clock! I suppose in the Kennels it’s always quite loud and he’s never really had just a ticking clock in a silent room, so he just kept sitting and staring at the clock. It was very cute! When we dropped him back off at the kennels, he cried as we left which was a good sign that he was going to be happy with us, yet heart-breaking at the same time.
So the next time we went up to collect him for a house visit, it was to trial an overnight stay which went really well! We thought that he’d be up all the time, walking around, barking etc but he wasn’t, he was just happy to be in a home! He slept all through the night until he woke us up in the morning to go out for a wee.
Because this all went amazingly well, he didn’t actually end up going back to the Kennels until he was due to fly back to the UK. He just had to go back for a few weeks before leaving so that he could get his final checks done ready to travel.
HOW COME HE CAN FLY?
I hear you screaming out (especially people who live in the Falklands and are posted there with the military) because flying dogs to and from the Falklands is a big deal!
Well, it's because he was still a military dog and he didn’t officially retire until we formally adopted him back in the UK.
He flew into RAF Brize Norton where he spent a few days in the Kennels. Whilst there he had all of his vet checks for arriving back in the UK followed by an assessment to determine whether or not he was suitable to be re-homed. As expected he passed all of this with flying colours and one week later we went to pick him up.
He’s now enjoying all of his creature comforts at home with us and our other dog Poppy who is a Labrador X Husky and they are getting on really well!
So, after reading this would you adopt a military working dog?
If you would then you’re a legend because there are always dogs that need rehoming!
They’ve worked all their life and served Queen and country just like the men and women do, so to give them a loving home after their service is a lovely thing to do an I can tell you this… They know! They know you’ve rehomed them and given them a chance to enjoy their remaining years of their life in comfort.
Amos is about to turn 8 years old and he’s the most amazing, loving dog ever. He may look scary (mostly because he is a big dog with big teeth) but he’s so soft! If you have a play fight with him and his big teeth accidently catch your skin he’ll back off and come up to you for cuddles as if to say “oooh heck, I didn’t mean to catch you, are you alright”?
I never thought we’d adopt a military working dog, especially not a GSD but so far it’s been one of the best experiences of my life and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Amos is just amazing and I highly recommend doing it yourself.
There has been a lot of bad press about what happens to Military Working Dogs when they get to retirement age but from my experience the military make a conscious effort to get them rehomed and there are a number of sites and groups that help ex-military dogs make this transition. I know a lot of people who have successfully adopted them now, and the place to start if you are interested is via the Defence Animal Centre in Melton Mowbray. Their number is 01664 418668.
Good luck and I’m looking forward to seeing all of the pictures you have to share of you and your new furry friend.