Open letter to Barack Obama and family-adopt a military working dog!
Dear President elect Barack Obama and Family,
I would like for you to consider the possibility of being the first presidential family in history of having the opportunity to adopt a military working dog veteran.
Prior to November 6, 2000, military working dogs were never allowed to be adopted by civilians after their time in service was complete. That all changed with the Resolution H.R. 5314. Now, if you are capable of caring for one of these courageous animals, you have the opportunity to welcome a hero into your home.
To have a better understanding of what it means to embrace a retired military working dog in your home you must consider the history military working dogs have and the impact they have made.
A military working dog’s impact on a large scale first came during World War II when Dogs for Defense was created and asked our patriotic citizens to donate dogs for use in the military. Of the 20, 000 dogs donated about half were actually utilized. The few dogs that survived the war were returned back to their original owners or taken care of by their handlers.
Dogs continued their service during the Korean and Vietnam Wars with 1,500 and about 4000, respectively, being utilized. This time being credited in having saved thousands of US lives. In the Vietnam War alone it is noted that military dogs saved the lives of over 10,000 US troops. You would think that after serving so admirably on the front lines alongside their handlers they would be brought home and taken care of just like our brave soldiers that fought for our country. However, of the estimated 4000 dogs that served in Vietnam only 204 came back to the United States. Of those 204, none of them were allowed to be adopted out of the military. The dogs that did not return were classified as surplus equipment and left behind. A tragic ending for the dogs that sacrificed so much for our nation.
Dogs continued to serve during peacetime in the military and again were utilized during the Gulf war. Throughout the military’s history of utilizing dogs in the military, they were never allowed to be adopted and taken care of by patriotic families. Instead, older military working dogs were euthanized or if they were lucky, adopted by their handlers.
With the passage of Resolution H.R. 52314 civilians can now embrace the dogs that serve so faithfully within our military’s ranks.
With the war on terror, and various other conflicts that continue throughout the world, we are welcoming a new generation of veterans. Military working dogs are part of this special generation of veterans that have served honorably and have sacrificed for their country. They bear the heat of summer in Iraq, the mountainous terrain in Afghanistan, and the firefights and attacks our troops endure. They find bombs, locate insurgents, and they bring companionship to our troops.
Some of these military working dogs have done three or more combat tours and have come back wounded. These dogs were first being used on our front lines around 2004. Now these dogs are finishing their career and need a home to live out the rest of their lives.
A dog can bring so much joy and love into a home. What if it can bring so much more? What if you had a dog that has given it’s life so that your family’s life can be better and safer. It has already proven itself to be loyal and dedicated. It is very well trained and has a record of sacrifice and accomplishments worthy of honor. A dog so special that the question is not whether the dog is worthy of your home, but if your home is worthy of him.
When you look at your dog’s eyes you would know they have seen the misery of war. They have endured the worst the world had to offer. They also served with the best that there is. They have protected their troops and have brought them joy. You know it will give it’s life to protect your daughters. It will be your guardian of the night.
At no other time has our president had the chance to adopt one of our veteran military working dogs. It would be such an enormous symbolic gesture if the Obama’s would welcome a four legged hero into their home. A dog that represents all the dogs that served so faithfully throughout the years and are no longer forgotten. To embrace a retired military working dog veteran is to embrace the legacy of honor, courage, commitment, companionship, loyalty, and protection these dogs have so willingly provided.
Sgt Mike Dowling
Military Working Dog Handler, USMC