Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Military Working Dogs

Military Working Dogs – http://web.archive.org/web/20120508173047/http://www.lackland.af.mil/units/341stmwd/index.asp

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • Who can adopt military working dogs?
  • What is the history of military working dogs?
  • What tasks are dogs giving in combat situations?

Description:

This is 2012 archived version of the adoption page for Military Working Dogs who have either 1) completed service to the Department of Defense but who are still healthy enough to be adopted out or 2) failed to complete their training. Dogs are offered first to local law enforcement agencies, then to former handlers, and then to members of the general public who have pass a rigorous screening process.While the adoption program is ongoing, there no longer appears to be a stand alone website for it, only a few PDF files with much less information.

For a writer there are least two perspectives that this website can inform – writing about active Military Working Dogs or about what happens to them after adoption.

If your main interest is in active Duty Military Working Dogs, click on “See our Fact Sheet.” It is a history of Military Working Dogs that includes the breeds used, their traditional and current uses and goes into some detail about their training. One particularly interesting fact to me is that Military Working Dogs were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2005 to help with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). The DoD was experimenting with a new form of training that allowed the dogs to roam off leash, unlike traditional bomb sniffing dogs. According to the Fact Sheet:

Since their initial fielding, these critical assets have been involved in nearly every major combat mission conducted across both theaters and have resulted in the detection, confiscation and destruction of literally hundreds of thousands of pounds of weapons, ordnance, explosives, and ammunition.

If your main interest is what happens to the dogs before, during, and after the adoption process, I would start with the Frequently Asked Questions. This three page document spells out why Military Working Dogs are being adopted along with the process. It also notes that 90% of dogs are adopted by their former handlers and that members of the public may wait as much as a year or more to adopt a dog.

After the Frequently Asked Questions, check out the “MWD Adoption News” as some of the stories relate to adoption and some of them are heart rending, mostly in a good way. I found Fallen Marine’s family adopts MWD to be particularly powerful.

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