Military Working Dog Veteran

A True Call to Arms: Contact Your Senator Today!

Last Friday on my Facebook page I posted breaking news about the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act. The act, which was incorporated into the house version of the National Defense Authorization Act, passed the House of Representatives handily.


This is wonderful news, but it is NOTover yet! Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act is far from being reality. The next step for the bill is parallel legislation in the Senate.

According to, the bill only has a 4% chance of passing the Senate. (It should be noted that they gave the bill a 2% chance of passing the House, so we have doubled our odds!)

The bottom line, though, is that the fight to get this bill passed isn’t over.

Our military dogs don’t have a voice. They need you to contact your senators to tell them that the current policies are antiquated. Below are the senators who have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill:

Sen. Ron Wyden [D-OR] (joined Mar 05, 2012)

Sen. Jon Tester [D-MT] (joined Mar 08, 2012)

Sen. Mark Begich [D-AK] (joined Mar 12, 2012)

Sen. Charles Schumer [D-NY] (joined Mar 19, 2012)

Sen. Patty Murray [D-WA] (joined Mar 27, 2012)

Sen. Kent Conrad [D-ND] (joined Mar 28, 2012)

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse [D-RI] (joined Apr 24, 2012)

Sen. Patrick Leahy [D-VT] (joined May 16, 2012)

Sen. Tom Udall [D-NM] (joined May 17, 2012)

Military Working Dog Anax hugging Marc

Anax lost his leg fighting for his country. He now has three. Specialist Marc Whittaker wants to adopt Anax. Anax saved Marc’s life countless times in Afghanistan. If this bill doesn’t pass then Marc may not be able to afford the veterinarian bills to care for Anax.

One of the problems is that there is a lot of misinformation out there, even from places that mean well. They are confusing the issue. Even the ASPCA and Save a Vet, plus several people on, have gotten it wrong.

I mentioned this weekend on my Facebook page that I had written the ASPCA about their call to arms for this bill. An email that the ASPCA sent out began with Military Dogs Should Be Adopted, Not Abandoned.

As I told them in my correspondence,

“Your call to arms is a complete misrepresentation of this wonderful act. It is also an insult to the thousands of military dogs that have been adopted by wonderful people since the Robby Law was passed. Please change it to accurately depict the purpose of the act.

An online petition has already been started on in which they quote your call to arms. You are promulgating an idea that our dogs aren’t adopted or cared for when they retire. This is false. The act is meant to enhance this care and streamline their adoption and properly care for them upon retirement.

The military dog program is full of animal lovers. Your call to arms is an insult to us all and prevents us from supporting your initiatives to garner support for the act.

Again, I urge you to do the right thing here. Set the record straight. I would love to jump on your bandwagon through my website.”

Writing the email and sending it made me feel better. But did it do anything? One thing I know is that I can’t find that misinformed call to arms on the ASPCA web site any longer.

Military Working Dog Honza with doggles

Military Working Dog Honza is currently in Afghanistan fighting for our country. Does “Honza Bear” look like equipment?

OK, a little more ranting for you.

Even Save a Vet, which is a great organization, got it wrong on their petition. They have almost 1,100 supporters.

And this week I wanted to start a petition on in support of the bill but was disappointed with the petitions already created to support the act. They had such calls to arms as:

  1. Help our military get working dogs adopted, instead of euthanized! (652 supporters; started by Ilya Bukshteyn)
  2. Congress: Stop euthanizing military dogs — instead allow the dogs to be adopted (only three supporters)
  3. Retire Military Dogs – Don’t Kill Them (956 supporters; started by Annie Hughes)

There are many more and I could go on with my list, but I think you all get my gist. I didn’t start my own for three reasons:

-I questioned their utility

-I was just disheartened to see so many BS ones already on the site

-I didn’t want to further confuse folks


A United States Marine and his MIlitary Working Dog

Improvised Explosive Detector Dog Ace is a living, breathing Marine.

The true story is that military dogs have been saved from being euthanized at the end of their service since Robby’s Law was adopted by Congress in 2000. Since then, it is the law of the land that military working dogs be available for adoption by their trainers, their trainer’s famlies, or by qualified members of the public.

The problem now is that, although there are many people who want to adopt these dogs, their veterinary care and transport to their new homes can carry prohibitive costs. This law would change that by making these valuable dogs no longer pieces of equipment but “canine members of the armed forces. It also provides for their care and transport through fundraising efforts, not through additional costs to the taxpayer. An awesome thing about the ASPCA is this link. They have made it so easy to send a letter to your Senator. So please click on this link and write your senator. You can do it in less than one minute. Can you spare one minute for a four-legged vet?

I urge you all to help me spread the truth about the purpose of this bill. If you know any of these people or know someone from Save a Vet, please urge them to correct their petitions. Please have them contact me and I will be happy to rewrite it for them.

Military Working Dog Chuck in Afghanistan

Military Working Dog Chuck recently re-deployed from Afghanistan. He spent a year sniffing out explosives. He saved countless Soldiers lives. He is a Soldier.

OK, lets take it back to what is important—the dogs! Please write you Senators. Use this link to do so. It takes about a minute!

Please comment and let me know you sent a letter to your Senator!

Should I start my own petition?

Is there any utility to this site?

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41 thoughts on “A True Call to Arms: Contact Your Senator Today!

  1. Joyce McCarty

    Message sent to the New York Senators, I am a Democrat and if they don’t want to support this bill then they won’t be getting my vote again anytime soon. It’s time we take care of our K-9 heroes and give them the best life possible after they have served our country. That goes for our two legged heroes too!

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      Thanks so much Joyce. The Dems didn’t do so well in the House. Lets see if they can change course in the Senate!

  2. Jen

    I saw that this had passed the house! Hopefully it will pass Senate as well.

    I used to think that online petitions didn’t really carry much weight, but it’s looking more and more like well-worded ones that receive a good deal of response do receive attention.

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      One down….one more to go Jen.

      Have you ever seen on online petition actually an effect on legislation like this?

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  4. Sally Lowen

    Tom Udall has signed on which pleases me. My adopted MWD is lying right beside me as I write. Belgian Malinois aka Maligators rock.

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      I’m sure your Maligator is psyched about the news! Probably chewing on something right now!

      This bill is for them but also for great folks like you, Sally. Folks who open their homes to these retired heroes deserve assistance in their care if they so choose.

  5. Nancy

    “Writing the email and sending it made me feel better. But did it do anything? One thing I know is that I can’t find that misinformed call to arms on the ASPCA web site any longer.”

    Unfortunate that there was a mixup with ASPCA about your message. From your post, it sounds like they corrected the misinformation. Which, in turn, suggests that the professional, mature and courteous thing for you to do would be to thank ASPCA for listening and correcting the erroneous information. Whatever you think of its mission or tactics, ASPCA is at the forefront of improving animal welfare in this country. Had there been no ASPCA, you would have no voice in bringing this important issue to the attention of animal lovers. I hope you remember that.

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      Hi Nancy. Thank you for your comment. Do you speak on behalf of the ASCPA? Do you know there was a mix-up with my message?

      I have no problems with the ASPCA and think what they do is great. What would lead you to believe otherwise?

      You are dead wrong about MWD advocacy. There are plenty of committed people and organizations that have been actively campaigning on behalf of MWD for years. How do you think the Roby Law got passed over ten years ago? I’m just glad that the ASCPA is throwing their voice and considerable influence into the fight. We can use all the help we can get. I hope more animal loving organization join the fight.

      1. Nancy

        No, I don’t speak for ASPCA. I support them with regular donations and I admire their work, but that’s the extent of my involvement. I’m not talking about 10 years ago or even 50 years ago. ASPCA was founded in 1866 and gave voice to animal welfare issues. That’s what I meant when I said they made it possible.

        1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

          No worries Nancy…just thought you had inside info! :-)

          It is wonderful that you support the ASPCA.

    2. Debbie Kamdoll

      In response to the ASPCA…this whole thing was conceived by our the efforts of our organization since 2008! MilitaryWorkingDog and US War Dogs ( were instrumental in bringing this WHOLE issue to the awareness of Congress a YEAR AGO! Senator Blumenthal asked for our assistance in PROOFING the Bill. We have been working and pushing and prodding and networking tirelessly…and then the ASPCA picks up the fight. Instead of giving credit and JOINING the fight…they HIJACK the bandwagon…and as has been pointed out here…THEY GOT IT WRONG!

      This is the TRUE…BEHIND THE SCENES story! So, had it not been for the EFFORT of OUR ORGANIZATIONS …the ASPCA would have never even been able to take credit!

      However, whatever path OUR proposed legislation has taken…we are DELIGHTED that our Amazing MWDs are going to be getting what they NEED and DESERVE…no matter WHO GETS THE CREDIT!

      1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

        Hi Debbie. Thank you for your comment. I know you and Ron have been at this fight for quite a long time. You and your organization, are the trailblazers in MWD rights- thank you. Ron (from the US. War Dog Association- for those wondering) and I talked about this bill from origin and I understand that there are many parties involved. Not everyone sees eye to eye on things.

        I completely agree with your assessment. I don’t care who takes credit and how we get there….. I just want the MWD to be cared for properly after retirement. This is a sentiment shared by anyone I have talked to in the military working dog community. It is all about the dogs! Woof!

  6. Adriana Johnson


    It was very intelligent of you to make the clarification on this matter. I remembered about the cost in getting the canine members to the United States:). The fact that it is through fundraising is appealing. You spread out the issue in further detail in this blog with another great hand hold to the exact link. I sent my letter to my senators. I re-stated your exact points simply, and specifically. In answer to your question I think your blogs are the best way for this cause. There are a lot of petitions out there. You have zoned in more accurately this way. Also, I did act on the last legislative move you pushed through your blog and did hear back from a Senator through the mail. Thank you for the research, your time and making items very clear for your cause. Lets get these dogs transported! We the people move…:)

    Adriana Villafane-Johnson

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      Thank you very much my friend. What did your Senator say when you contacted him/ her (?) last time Adriana? I certainly hope you hear from them again this time. We need to keep pushing this one. We are so close!

      1. Adriana Johnson

        Thank you Kevin:),

        Senator Jon Kyl, clarified in writing the status of (S. 2134) which is pending before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Mr Kyl stated he would keep my thoughts in mind should S. 2134 or related legistarion come before the senate for a vote. Keeping the Sentors thinking is a good thing:). You are completely correct we have to keep tapping on legistation when an act is in process. That is how act/bills are pushed through. I will let you know if I hear from them on this last communication. I redefined the initiative.

        I tend to like to “knock, knock on heavens door”, meaning legistation and leadership to bring ideas, questions and move this world. I I like to collect the United States Letters they are a great tool to remind us everybody has a voice. It also helps me stay polished in the style of writing people respond to. They have heard from me before. :).

        Adriana Villafane-Johnson

        1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

          At least you have them talking about it Adriana…..socializing of the concept is a huge piece to get the support we need!

          You are right….. I do appreciate living in a democracy! Keep speaking your mind girl!

  7. Rob

    Got the message sent to both of my Senators. (Both Dems which is very unusual for VA.) Since this is an election year and we are a big swing state maybe they will be listening more than usual.
    The ASPCA link was very easy to use, thanks for posting that on here. On that note, thanks for everything you are doing on here, Kevin.

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      My pleasure Rob. I thought the link was awesome….so easy to use since they put everything right there for you. Thanks so much for taking the time to write them. Thanks for your kind words as well.

  8. aj Melnick

    Kevin, I have already contacted both of my senators. I was pleased that Tom Udall is sponsoring the bill, and I just wrote and thanked him. I hope other people will follow suit and thank their senators who have sponsored the bill. Also, I certainly would like to know which Congressmen voted for it. Do you have that info?

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      Thanks so much AJ. Every letter matters. I will research that question today. Surely there is a list out there.

  9. aj Melnick

    Kevin, I just noticed that all of the senators who signed on to co-sponsor the MWD K-9 bill are all Democrats. What does this mean???


    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      I am certainly no expert on these matters. But it is telling to me when the co-sponsor of this bill is Sen. Richard Blumenthal [D-CT]. So we have Dem spt in the Senate.

      Likewise in the House, Rep. Walter Jones [R-NC3] is the co-sponsor and the bill got mainly Rep spt.

      I like many other Americans are so tired of politicians who vote with their party instead of what they believe in…… it is no wonder I am not very political.

  10. Kristen

    This is a wonderful thing you are doing. does indeed have a great track record for getting things accomplished, and if all else fails, it will at least get the word out so more people will contact their senators. :)

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      Thanks Kristen. I sort of looked at it like…does the good (people contacting their Senators) equal out the bad (people thinking dogs are not cared for after retirement). Still undecided on that one but hopefully their call to arms will move some folks to act.

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  12. Robin Inman

    Hi Kevin,
    I was very happy to see that one of our Alaskan Senators Mark Begich signed on. I will send an e-mail through the link to our Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski and Representative Don Young. What I was very saddened by though is seeing the senators who supported and signed on the bill were just all Democrats. It’s sad that politicans are so party driven these days to the point where it can hurt causes such as this that need to be supported by ALL Americans regardless of their parties.
    Keep up the great work and advocacy for these precious military members. ALL our military members deserve support weather they be two or four legged variety. I hope everyone seeing your article contact their senators. It really helps more than folks think.I can’t votch for other states but here in Alaska our senators will step up to the plate for us weather we are Democrat or Republican hopefully other state are the same.
    Take care and good luck with this. Keep us updated. :-)

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      Hi Robin. Thanks so much for taking the time to write your Senators. I know and it frustrates me to no end. I fear the act will go nowhere because of the bill it is attached to. I’ve read that POTUS may even veto it. I guess my world is simplistic- If I were a Senator I would vote for what I believe to be right for the country. I fear that there are other agendas.

  13. Steve Shaffer

    Kevin, thanks for the easy link. Letter off to Ohio (D and R, 1 each). Public opinion makes a BIG difference. I remember some years back when there was pending legislation in the Fed for regulating the size of water closets! Yikes is right. That issue generated about 20x the normal mail, etc. to Congress and got dropped like a hot potato. If I remember correctly it was even an off year.

    I agree it’s about the dogs, not credit, but don’t worry Debbie, truth has a way of getting out, it likes the light of day.

  14. Reeco Rees

    To the Brave & Proud Soldiers these are just more than working Dogs, they become as close as Family itself. God Bless Them All. ATB. Reeco from Wales UK

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      Hi Reeco. Thanks for saying hello and introducing yourself! You are absolutely correct in your thought process. Dogs are fellow service members…they are part of our family….. our military family.

  15. jaclyn conroy

    I am confused. The bill info states that “working dogs arestranded at their final post upon retiring.” But, you say they ARE beibg adopted out? So, then they are NOT
    literally stranded? Also, what is the deadline for senater signitures? Thank you for everything you do for the animals!!!!

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      Hi Jaclyn. Almost all military dogs are adopted to living families. The problem arises when a dog retires from overseas (Germany, Italy, Spain, Korea, etc).

      Take for example Anax who just retired. Marc adopted Anax and had to pay to fly Anax from Germany (where they are stationed) to Marc’s home in Texas. This act would cover those costs for Marc.

      Honestly I am not sure about the dealine. I am travelling this week but will do some research when I get a sec. :-)

  16. Monica

    Thank you so much for your clear explanations, and for the ASPCA link. I’ve posted it on Facebook and hopefully it will get a few more people aware of what’s going on. I know there are a lot of important issues going through Congress right now, and we’re in the middle of a Presidential election, but I think we can all agree that veterans come in all shapes, sizes, and species, and we can’t just say “I support the troops.” Supporting means remembering, means taking a few minutes to do something that could really affect so many lives at so little cost to ours.

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      That is wonderful….thank you Monica. I completely agree… I believe that most serving today would agree with me. Our K9 Corps are veterans and deserve to be treated as such. Thanks again for your support.

  17. Fran Livingston

    I contacted my senator when this bill was still in committee and he assured me he would support it. I had also contacted both my congressional representatives at the same time. Thanks for bringing this issue back to the forefront.

  18. Rhoda Shanley

    I just came across your website, just “liked” the support military dog sites on Facebook & followed you on Twitter. I am a breeder/owner/handler of Spinone Italiano’s. I no longer breed or show, but I do still train and have won awards in AKC field trials, Conformation Shows, and Obedience/Therapy Dog Titles. I am now an official rescue person for Friends of homeless Animals. Your cause is of particular interest to me since I have 2 cousins, one a fighter pilot in the Air Force & another in the Naval Academy, plus my daughter’s boyfriend plays football for the Naval Academy & will be deployed next year. Dogs are my true calling in life and I feel a need now to contribute to help military dogs. My question is, what is the status with the Canine Armed Forces Act? Did it pass the Senate? I am a volunteer and am working for one of the Presidential Campaigns. What can I do, write to Senators, post of Twitter for contributions, etc.? (sorry for long comment) Rhoda Shanley

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      Hi Rhoda. Thanks so much for your support! I just Google Spinone Italiano’s because I had never heard of them. They are really neat looking dogs!

      Wow…you are surrounded by military folks! :-)

      The bill is still stalled in the Senate. I have just been so busy I haven’t been able to track down why the stall. I recommend you write to your Senator…..maybe you could ask for an update for us all? That would be just wonderful! Thanks

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