Military Working Dog Rambo

Military Working Dogs Have Their Day in DC!

Back on March 7, 2011 my post informed you that military working dogs are classified as equipment in the military and subsequently:

  1. Retired Military Working Dogs are stranded at their final duty station.
  2. Military Working Dogs receive no medical benefits after retirement.
  3. Military Working Dogs receive no recognition for their faithful service.

I told you that this wasn’t the military doing….rather our politicians. I asked you to write your Congressmen and encourage them to support the Canine Member of the Armed Service Act.

After playing fetch and getting a bath, military working dog Hexa relaxes in the kennel office, but isn't willing to give up her tennis ball. Her eyes are cloudy due to a neurological disorder which is causing her to slowly drift into blindness. But, at almost 11 years old, she's spent her entire lifetime serving her nation and her handlers, locating explosives during two separate deployments to Iraq, one of which included doing work in the infamous city of Fallujah. Having honorably done her duty, she'll now be expected to play fetch, sleep and be loved on by her new adoptive family.

After playing fetch and getting a bath, military working dog Hexa relaxes in the kennel office, but isn’t willing to give up her tennis ball. Her eyes are cloudy due to a neurological disorder which is causing her to slowly drift into blindness. But, at almost 11 years old, she’s spent her entire lifetime serving her nation and her handlers, locating explosives during two separate deployments to Iraq, one of which included doing work in the infamous city of Fallujah. Having honorably done her duty, she’ll now be expected to play fetch, sleep and be loved on by her new adoptive family.

You did and the act passed the House of Representatives in May.

Thank you.

Though we knew the struggle wasn’t over so I asked you to write to your Senators urging them to support this bill. You did.

Thank you

Staff Sgt. Nicholas Pospischil, 506th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog handler and his partner Wodan, a military working dog, train on an obstacle course at Kirkuk Regional Air Base Jan. 7, 2010. Wodan began his military career in September of 2003 at the age of 2 and has since served six years, including three deployments.

Staff Sgt. Nicholas Pospischil, 506th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog handler and his partner Wodan, a military working dog, train on an obstacle course at Kirkuk Regional Air Base Jan. 7, 2010. Wodan began his military career in September of 2003 at the age of 2 and has since served six years, including three deployments.

This week the act passed the Senate and now our four- legged heroes are even closer to being considered members of the armed service.

The act still needs to be signed into law by the President.

There were so many forces behind this act from Lisa Phillips Founder and CEO of Retired Military Working Dog Association to Ron Aiello at United States War Dog Association to you who wrote your legislatures and demanded that this country cares for our 4- legged veterans properly.

Military working dog Max rests in a chair during his retirement ceremony March 23 in the 39th Security Forces Squadron guardmount room. To celebrate Max's distinguished career, members of Team Incirlik, to include many defenders, crowded the guardmount room to pay tribute to the military working dog who aided in protecting the base and residents.

Military working dog Max rests in a chair during his retirement ceremony March 23 in the 39th Security Forces Squadron guardmount room. To celebrate Max’s distinguished career, members of Team Incirlik, to include many defenders, crowded the guardmount room to pay tribute to the military working dog who aided in protecting the base and residents.

As an Army Officer with strong ties to the Military Working Dog Community I say thank you to all that have helped.

I thought it was only appropriate, as a tribute to our retired military working dogs, to share some pictures of our retired heroes!

The featured picture at the top of the page is MWD (R) Rambo (USMC), who now resides with founder and CEO of Retired Military Working Dogs, Lisa Phillips. It was Lisa’s college paper on the subject of retired military dogs, which drew the interest of Congressman Jones, which got this whole ball rolling!Military Working Dog Rambo

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33 thoughts on “Military Working Dogs Have Their Day in DC!

  1. Julia Hugo Rachel

    I am deeply touched by this plight and so glad to hear of continuing great progress. I think we must keep vigilant in our support for MWD’s. Thank You for once again bringing a great story to us!

    Reply
  2. Karen

    I am so happy. I hope our President does the right thing and signs this act into law. Our MWDs deserve to be treated as US Armed Forces Veterans just like their human counterparts.

    Reply
    1. Anne Slaton

      How long do these things take? Well since soldiers have been fighting for the lives of our canine soldiers since the end of vietnam war era, when approximate 3,000 canine soldiers where euthanize, deserted and handed over to a country that eats dogs, I’d say it takes approximately 45 years. I hope thats all it takes and the bill will be passed to reclassify them and treat them with the resepect and love they deserve.

      Reply
  3. Linda

    This is so terrific for all of the MWD’s out there. What does this mean to those of us who have already adopted retired dogs? I am thinking especially of the medical part. Will we be reimbursed for future medical situations? My dog is fairly healthy now, suffering only from arthritis for which he receives daily medication. I do know from his records that he also has some back problems, a hearing deficiency and possibly some increasing sight problems. He will be taken care of by me no matter what, but it would be nice to know that there may be some relief in sight for future, or even current, owners and their expenses.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      Hi Linda. I am honestly not sure but will do some research. I am hopeful that they will be grandfathered in…..how could they not…..it just makes sense!

      You are right about the expenses of caring for our retired 4-legged warriors. These are service members who fought for our nation…..much like our two-legged vets….they are going to have health problems. If you are kind enough to care for one of these vets then you shouldn’t incur the financial burden. I have heard of many young troopers who just simply couldn’t adopt their dogs because it was financially impossible. This bill will prevent that from happening.

      Reply
      1. Leslie

        It is wonderful to know that someone is out there to care for these selfless animals. It is very sad to know that some soldiers cannot take their own MWD home due to financial problems. I really appreciate all your hard work to correct this and the other problems faced by MWDs. Thank you so much.

        Reply
        1. carol batten

          I also hope our country will give your soldier the medical care it so richly deserves.If there is good karma you certainly deserve it.

          Reply
  4. Mark Rudewicz

    It’s great to see that the military working dog will be recognized as a partner of the soldier and a valuble member of the US Miltary. These K9′s have saved countless American lives and the lives of our allies world wide for generations. They will finally receive the recognition and benefits they deserve post their military service. I am proud to see that one of the co- sponsers of the MWD Bill is from my home state of CT. CT Senator Richard Blumenthal.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      Hi Mark. Thanks for adding your sentiment! You are so correct about the lives these 4-legged warriors save on the battlefield…..now they will get the recognition that they deserve!

      Reply
  5. Ginger

    Kevin! Such great news! This is so much the right thing to do for these valuable members of our military! As you know, I’m a huge fan of dogs of all kinds and so grateful for the role they’ve played in my life–it’s time that the country showed gratitude to these great military dogs. Thanks for bringing this good news!
    Ginger

    Reply
  6. Julie

    Is there anything else to be done to ‘assist’ the President with signing the bill? Can we email, sign anything?
    Also, is there any way to sponsor a MWD. so that his handler can afford to keep him, if he or she wants to but can’t afford to?
    I’d adopt every one of these four-legged heroes if I had the space, but I could definitely manage a monthly contribution for a dog’s care.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      Hi Julie. The act is part of the 2012 Defense Authorization Bill. I’m sure there will be some political jockeying but I believe eventually the bill will be signed.

      There are two organizations that support retired military working dogs. They are:

      http://www.rmwdao.org/
      http://www.militaryworkingdogadoptions.com/

      Both have proven track records of helping retired military workings dogs. I’m sure they would welcome your support.

      Reply
  7. Sally Lowen

    Hallelujah! My retired Mal and I thank you and everyone who has helped make this happen. These heros must be recognized and cared for. Hope baby is well. How fun for your family to celebrate the holidays with him. Congratulations on your promotion.

    Reply
  8. SonomaLass

    Hi Kevin,

    I saw this posted on Facebook and got very excited! Can I ask where you got this information? I can’t confirm this news; everywhere I can find, the bills are both still listed as being in committee. I’d love to spread the word, but not without some confirmation.

    Reply
      1. Geoff Trowbridge

        Assuming we’re talking about bills H.R. 4103 and S. 2134, Govtrack.us is NOT reporting that these bills have been passed.

        Reply
        1. Geoff Trowbridge

          Okay, I think I’ve figured it out. H.R. 4103 and S. 2134 died in committee, so instead they attached similar provisions to the NDAA. This is bill H.R. 4310, and the relevant portion is Sec. 1049.

          Unfortunately, it isn’t as far-reaching as the original bills, but it does provide for medical care, adoption, and official recognition of retired military dogs.

          The NDAA isn’t yet ready for the president’s signature, as the House and Senate versions still have to be reconciled.

          Reply
          1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

            Hi Geoff. I don’t have any insight to the inner workings but I am assuming there was some compromise. Personally I am OK with that….it is a start….a foot in the door if you will to ensuring our 4-legged vets are taken care off!

            Thanks for providing the details!

  9. Pingback: Military Working Dogs Have Their Day in DC! | Kevin Hanrahan « The K-9 Experience

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  11. Karen

    Kevin, I posted your article on Facebook and encouraged my friends to contact their Senators to put back the original wording in the bill. I hope they will do this. Our canine vets deserve the best.

    Reply

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