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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was an Army veterinary technician for 7 years and had the honor of adopting one of the dogs I worked for in 2010. Retired MWD Brix is the best dog I have ever had the pleasure to know. He was retired because he suffers from PTSD. He was in the US Navy from 2001 to 2010 and served his country well.

Not many people realize that these dogs only get retired when they have some kind of medical issue that prevents them from completing their job properly. This means the ones that do get retired are adopted out to loving families, but the dogs come with high medical expenses. Veterinary bills aren't cheap and many families today can't afford the bills they have already. There is a bill being drafted to help change the status of the Military Working Dogs from "equipment" (which they are more then just a stapler) to "canine service member". This would allow them to receive awards and have medical benefits.

T.C.T.B.E. (www.csmva.org) has been working on the bill, which makes it so that these benefits won't cost tax payers and money. Also Retired Military Working Dog Assistance Organization (www.rmwdao.org) is a nonprofit raising money to help support retired military working dogs medical needs to ensure that they continue to go to loving families after their service to the country is up.
 

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Very cool. Congrats on your adoption he is darling! TY for what YOU did as well as the dog! Fingers crossed that the dogs are able to be covered :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Another wonderful MWD story

From the mouth of Marco B127 USAF (Retired)

Obviously since I’m a dog, I can’t speak, nor write English…. but I can understand it. I was born, January 1997. My handlers know me well enough that my female handler, “Mom”, figured she could translate my story on my behalf. My story is based on my history, (which includes 13 years worth of military files), contact to many of my handlers and Vets throughout my career (including my male handler now) and also based upon my behavioral signs and abilities and temperament. I am a retired military working dog (MWD)…Marco B 127. They call me, Marco.
My first home was Lackland AFB San Antonio TX. It’s where the best of the best in military k9′s are chosen and begin their training. Because of my intelligence and ability to learn quickly, the military had a special job for me. The testing I had to go through to be chosen wasn’t easy. I had to prove I would listen and follow directions at a very young age. As a pup, I really did get to play a lot..what else do puppies know how to do? But I was smart, and they could tell I would be a valuable asset to the Military. I was chosen as a military Narcotic dog and it wasn’t long before I had finished my core “puppy” training and passed all my testing. On November 23 1999 I found my new permanent home at Hill AFB Utah, sniffing a LOT of boxes and occasionally attacking people, which was always fun… K9 training is constant, it continues throughout our careers and testing is frequent. We can never let our guards down, we have to be on top of our game at all times.
Eventually I was so good at my job, between ’02 and ’09 they sent me to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. My handlers at those times could tell you exactly, what I saw and what I endured. Nothing less than war. I stayed at my handlers side, searching for narcs in warehouses and other various places. My job was also to protect my handler at all costs…I would have laid down my life for any of them…and they would have done it for me. Thankfully, I always made it home to Hill. A few of my friends, Bandy, Chico, Erik and Liska shared the kennels with me there. It was always a good day at Hill to see a fellow war dog come home at their handlers side. They too have their stories….
Active duty K9′s are paid very little… treats and scratches behind the ears, a pat on the head. Sometimes our favorite payment is wrapping our teeth around the bad guy. Or sneaking to drink my handlers Mt Dew he left in the patrol car, was enough for me. My handlers really liked me… Every year on my birthday I got a steak, MMMmmmmm birthdays. Sometimes, depending on where we were deployed, my handler would let me sleep on their bed….talk about a treat! Our handlers are our family. A big, big family.
My last deployment was to Afghanistan in July of ’09. By then I was 11 years old. By Oct of ’09, I was at the end of the tolerating doing my job. I was tired and my hips couldn’t take it anymore.. At 77, I thought I’d done pretty well… On July 6th 2010, I officially retired. I was fortunate to be adopted by a family who took me back to Washington to enjoy the rest of my days and retired/civilian life. Which includes soft floors, the occasional pizza crust and bites of chicken breast off moms plate…
I didn’t have to do what was asked of me, I didn’t have to listen… I did it because I loved doing my duty, it was my whole life, and I was good at it. My Mom says she’s going to do whatever it takes to make sure I get my honors. Please share my story and remember that I am only 1 MWD, there are many, many others that deserve their honors too.
V/R
Marco B 127
 

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Hoorah.
 

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I just wanted to say that I admire what you're doing for these dogs! I had no idea about this health care issue with retired military dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the support everyone. I am trying to spread the word. The more people educated and supporting the faster these animals will be taken care of. I hope that all of you will pass this information along, so we can try and reach as many people as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Press Release from one of the Senators supporting our cause

Blumenthal Highlights Strategic Role of Military Working Dogs
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Hartford, CT) – Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) was joined by soldiers and National Guard officials in Hartford today to set forth bipartisan measures to significantly improve care for working dogs, who serve with our troops on the battlefield, once their service ends. He will introduce legislation providing for a national non-profit funding source and a streamlined adoption process to upgrade treatment of the military working dogs after retirement.
“Military working dogs routinely patrol ahead of the line - put in harm’s way to protect our troops. They show extraordinary strength and loyalty every day in saving the lives and limbs of our war fighters on the battlefield,” said Blumenthal. “These courageous comrades help detect and disarm roadside bombs and IEDs – some of the deadliest threats to our troops. They are critical partners to our combat teams. Retired military working dogs often continue to serve at home in offering companionship and care to war fighters. For their service abroad, these dogs deserve their loyalty and dedication to be returned when they are home.”
Military working dogs (MWDs) are regarded as a highly effective means for detecting improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that can be otherwise difficult, if not impossible, to find. Despite their importance, however, they are currently classified by the Department of Defense as “equipment,” leaving the dogs’ adopters or individual military units to bear the cost of transportation and care if they wish to transport retiring MWDs back to the United States from serving abroad.
"The Connecticut National Guard is proud of the fact we are the only state where a unit of the reserve component owns and operates a military working dog unit. Senator Blumenthal's efforts focus attention on our nation's responsibility to prioritize post service care for our dogs as members of highly valued and essential teams. This is just the right thing to do for both our soldier handlers and their hard working battle buddy" said Maj. Gen. Thaddeus J. Martin, Adjutant General and Commander of the Connecticut National Guard.
The legislation would assist MWDs by doing the following:

1. Improved Adoption Process. To standardize practices regarding the transfer of retired MWDs, those without suitable adoption options at the time of their retirement would be transferred to the 341st Training Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. These dogs could travel to the base by commercial air by using donated travel benefits also used to facilitate the travel of our service members.
2. A Voluntary Veterinary Care Fund. To ensure that our country’s brave MWDs are not forgotten after they retire, the bill establishes a “Retired Military Working Dogs Veterinary Care Fund,” with private donations to be used to provide care to adopted and retired MWDs. This fund would allow both the Department of Defense and private veterinarians to care for the dogs over the course of their lifetimes.
3. Recognition for Service. The legislation would empower the Department of Defense to honor courageous or meritorious dogs, or those killed in action, through appropriate recognition such as a letter of commendation.

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Press ContactKate Hansen or Lily Adams (202) 224-2823
[email protected] ; [email protected]
 

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That would be wonderful. Do you know the bill number? I'd like to get people writing our senators to get this passed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

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Petition signed. I will pass the site along.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you very much!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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