1. Download the “MWD
Read all the requirements carefully to make certain you can comply with them. Talk to all the members of your family who will be involved in the retired MWD’s life to be sure they are all supportive of the adoption idea. Fill out the application entirely and HOLD ON TO IT until YOU have located the MWD you wish to adopt.When appropriate, send the application to ONLY THAT location!! Only fax the paperwork to Lackland AFB if you are adopting a MWD from THERE. The MWD Facility where you adopt your retiring MWD must generate the Adoption Packet which they will ultimately forward to Lackland AFB. Save time, effort, and paper! THERE IS NO ADOPTION CHARGE OR
2. CALL the MWD Facilities YOURSELF!
The folks at Lackland AFB are terrific, caring people. They are also extremely BUSY!! So, while they may graciously take the time to give you some referrals of MWDs in your geographical area, those referrals are not always up-to-date. In my own personal experience, I was given five referrals. After calling the various MWD Facilities, three dogs were adopted by their former handlers (always a WONDERFUL thing!!!), one failed the *Adoption Suitability Test and one had died in the interim. (*This is a test required by the DoD given and videotaped by the handlers to determine if the animal is suitable for civilian adoption)
3. BE DILIGENT when calling to see about the availability of retiring MWDs!!
In my personal MWD adoption experience, my retiring MWD was NOT listed in the Lackland database even though he had been declared “excess” one month before I even began my search for a MWD to adopt. The “Why?” is not important. Fortunately, for me and for my MWD Benny B163, I continued to call MWD Facilities in my geographic region. I made approximately 20 calls before I discovered Benny was available. I began my effort to locate a retiring MWD in need of adoption at the end of November 2007. Benny had been declared “excess” in October 2007. He was scheduled for euthanasia and necropsy in December 2007 or January 2008. Don’t get discouraged…a noble MWD’s future happiness may depend on YOU!!!
4. Get straight to the point about your reason for calling. This is the best way when contacting the MWD Facilities. Remember these military members are BUSY! They have training exercises to conduct, dogs to care for, certifications to keep up with, and on and on it goes ad infinitum! They are busy, but they always take the time to try to get a retiring MWD a good FOREVER home! Keep in mind you are talking to warriors, who with their MWD partners, have put it all on the line countless times to protect their fellow soldiers and to protect and defend all of us in America. Be courteous and don’t forget to take a minute to say a special “Thank you for your service”!!!
USE THE FOLLOWING “BUZZ WORDS” WHEN MAKING INQUIRIES
Here’s a sample of what you might say to
find out the information you want to know:
Hello, my name is___. I am calling to see if you have any
dogs which have been declared *“excess” or *"pending disposition" and are due to retire that might be suitable for CIVILIAN adoption?
*(A MWD has to first be declared EXCESS and then retirement plans are quickly set into motion.)
* (This means that the paperwork is in the process of going through, or sometimes has already gone
through to evaluate this dog for adoption. )
If the answer is “NO”…
ASK them to take your name and number and to call you if a dog becomes available at their MWD Facility. Overnight, dogs can develop an unforeseen military career-ending injury of the type that would only be a minimal problem to them in civilian retired life.
If the answer is “YES”…ASK IF
A) …the dog has already been declared excess.
B) …the Adoption Suitability Test has been videotaped and sent to Lackland.
C) …any handler is in line to adopt the dog.
(Handlers get first choice, Law Enforcement is second and Civilians are third.)
D) … if you can talk to someone who can tell you about the dog.
These handlers are super perceptive about the dogs in their charge. They are only too happy to answer all your questions because they want a good match between you and your MWD.
BE HONEST about what you want! Keep in mind, however, that your dream MWD might be in a different package than you had previously conceived! I LOVE German Shepherds and definitely wanted one…but by the time I found Benny, I was so THRILLED that I could give a good home to a good dog, I didn’t even ASK what BREED he was!!! From the Kennel Master’s description, he sounded EXACTLY like what I was looking for! I had already agreed to set the paperwork in motion, when I asked in what breed Benny’s GREAT HEART was packaged. Imagine my utter DELIGHT when I received an email picture of a truly gorgeous German Shepherd! Keep an OPEN MIND! MWD blessings come in different breeds, shapes, colors and sizes!
E) … if you can start the paperwork to begin the adoption process NOW.
The handlers have many things on their plate, however, they do want to complete the process as expediently as possible. They LOVE their dogs. KEEP CALLING TO POLITELY REMIND THEM THAT YOU ARE STILL INTERESTED AND WAITING. Persistent patience pays off…and politeness wins the day!
I’ve Begun the Adoption…NOW what?
A. Make sure you have all your paperwork complete and submitted to the MWD Facility with which you are working. Have your phone references on “Stand-By”, letting them know in advance that they might be called when you go there to pick up your MWD.
B. Ask if the dog has been already neutered/spayed. If not, ask when the MWD will be scheduled for the procedure and if the dog’s “Outprocessing” can take place at the same time.
C. Ask if they can secure a rabies tag reflecting the dog’s last date of vaccination. The MWD doesn’t have to wear a tag, but your new civilian retired MWD must comply with all of the rules of your state and community. You really shouldn’t take “No” for an answer on this one...even if you have to volunteer to do the “footwork” to procure the tag.
D. Find out what the dog is eating and how much… Usually, MWDs are fed Hill’s Science Diet Active twice a day. A good food that makes for easy transition with little or no digestive upset is Hill’s Science Diet Mature 7+ Years. People food is especially not a good idea, since these dogs have had a structured diet for their working years. Pick lower fat doggie treats that contain the “little extras” that will benefit your retired MWD…such as those containing Omega Fatty Acids and Glucosamine Chondroitin. Anything that promotes dental health is good, too. Rawhides are NOT a good choice as they can lead to intestinal blockage…so NOT worth the risk. The more diligent your care, the longer your MWD will be with you and the better his health and comfort.
E. Find out what supplements your MWD is on… Many MWDs take joint supplements because of all the athletic work they do. Before adopting your MWD, you should be prepared to maintain him in his accustomed manner. If he takes Glycoflex III or Cosequin be prepared to have it on hand. In other words, don’t scrimp on food or diet. They are extremely important components in the longevity and comfort level of your MWD.
F. Find out when your MWD’s last teeth cleaning was, and also when he was last administered HeartGard Plus and Frontline Plus. Generally, the MWD Facility will send you home with a one month’s supply of these two products, but after that, it’s up to you. While you are getting the rabies tag, get the vet to write you a prescription for the Heartgard (required for purchase) In doing so, you will not have to immediately take your MWD to your vet at home. Most vets will not write a prescription without doing the heartworm check. If you still have six months left before your dog needs his heartworm blood test, you will be saving time and money. I have found an UNBELIEVABLY cost effective source for the medicines is www.EntirelyPets.com . WHEREVER you get your supplies, make sure you are ready for your MWD’s homecoming!!
G. Don’t forget to have two forms of I.D. for the Legal Office when you sign the legal paperwork to transfer liability and ownership. If you are NOT military or have Base/Post access, find out who will meet you at the Gate to escort you where you need to go.
H. Bring your leash and collar and have a couple of “big dog” toys on hand. You might consider having a couple of comfy dog beds waiting at home. They are a great alternative if you prefer not having the dog on furniture. Benny has three in the house and one in my SUV. He immediately goes to them whenever we go into a room. MWDs are SMART and APPRECIATIVE!
I. Make certain you receive a copy of your MWD’s medical records and verify that you have his microchip number.MWDs have a tattoo in their left ear as well as a microchip. Make sure that you can find the microchip number in the medical record. As soon as feasible, call the microchip company and have the microchip number transferred over to your ownership. The companies the DoD usually uses are Avid Microchip Company (1-800-336-2843 Transfer cost: around $18.50) and Home Again (1-866-738-4324 Transfer cost: around $12.50). In some cases, PetLink International Directory is the microchip company which can transfer ownership.
J. Make sure you ASK what COMMANDS the dog knows…and LEARN them!
Learn how to speak your dog’s language!
Just because the MWD is retired, does not mean that he can forget his basic obedience. He will be happier (and you will, TOO!) if you insist on obedience firmly and lovingly! Dogs…even the FABULOUS MWDs…will try to take advantage of your inconsistencies or uncertainties . BE CONSISTENT and FIRM, but LOVING. Just because MWDs have MORE than $75,000 in education does NOT mean that they don't need your direction and guidance!
YOU are now their LAST HANDLER!!!
MWD FACILITY CONTACT NUMBERS
Although this list is extensive, it is NOT
a complete list of every MWD Facility.
- Maxwell AFB 334-953-5602
- Fort Rucker 334-255-6994
- Redstone Arsenal 256-876-8090
-Eielson AFB 907-377-4744
-Elmendorf AFB 907-580-2091
-Fort Richardson 907-384-2880
-Fort Wainwright 907-353-7885
-Seward AFB 907-580-4301
-Davis-Monthan AFB 520-228-8127
-Fort Huachuca 520-533-2866
-Luke AFB 623-856-6743
-Little Rock AFB 501-987-6608
-Barstow Marine Corps 760-577-6180
-Beale AFB 530-634-2039
-Camp Pendleton Marines 760-725-4222
-China Lake Naval Station 760-939-2030
-Coronado Naval Base 619-556-7336
-Edwards AFB 661-277-4421
-Fallon Naval Air Station 775-426-2522
-Fort Irwin Training Ctr. 760-380-3773
-Lemoore Naval Air Station 559-998-4754
-Miramar Marine Corps 858-577-6470
-Point Loma Naval Base 619-556-7336
-Point Magu Naval Air Station 805-989-7405
-San Diego Naval Station 619-556-7336
-Travis AFB 707-424-3155
-29 Psalms Marine Corps 760-830-6501
-Vandenberg AFB 805-606-3180
-Buckley AFB 720-847-3647/3645
-Fort Carson 719-526-5322
-Peterson AFB 719-556-7333
-U.S. Air Force Academy 719-333-3363
-New London Naval 860-694-5654
Submarine Base 860-694-5655
-Dover AFB 302-667-6303
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
-Bolling AFB 202-404-7032
-Eglin AFB 850-882-8051
-Hurlburt Field 850-881-2254
-Jacksonville Naval Air 904-542-0969 x 144
-Key West Naval Air 305-293-2114
-MacDill AFB 813-828-4228
-Patrick AFB 321-494-2328
-Pensacola Naval Air 850-452-2006
-Tyndall AFB 850-283-2537
-Albany MCLB 229-639-5184
-Fort Benning 706-544-6007
-Fort Gillem 404-469-3411 -Fort Gordon 706-791-7838
-Fort Stewart 912-435-3123
-Moody AFB 229-257-4774
-Kings Bay Naval 912-674-6836
-Robins AFB 478-926-2697
-Fort Shafter 808-368-3456
-Hickam AFB 808-449-2323
-Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps 808-257-0183
-Pearl Harbor Naval Station 808-473-3781
-Mountain Home AFB 208-828-3296
-Scott AFB 618-256-2780
-Crane Div.Naval Warfare Ctr. 812-854-3255
-Fort Leavenworth 913-684-2108
-Fort Riley 785-239-8571
-McConnell AFB 316-759-4195
-Fort Campbell 270-798-5620
-Fort Knox 502-624-6048
-Barksdale AFB 318-456-2998
-Fort Polk 337-531-7826
- Brunswick Naval Air Station 207-927-2497
-Aberdeen Proving Ground 410-278-8613
-Andrews AFB 301-981-5212
-Fort George G. Meade 301-677-6453
-Hanscom AFB 781-377-7948
-Columbus AFB 662-434-7148
-Keesler AFB 228-377-3065
-Fort Leonard Wood 573-596-0594
-Whiteman AFB 660-687-8191
-Malmstrom AFB 406-731-3153
-Offutt AFB 402-294-4981
-Fallon Naval Air Station 775-426-2522
-Nellis AFB 702-652-6036
-Earle Naval Weapons Station 732-866-2416
-McGuire AFB 609-754-2681
-Cannon AFB 505-784-2331
-Holloman AFB 575-572-7945
-Kirtland AFB 505-846-2415
-Fort Drum 315-772-8091
-Camp Lejeune Marine Base 910-450-9091
-Cherry Point Marine Corps 252-466-5982
-Fort Bragg 910-396-7187
-Pope AFB 910-394-2298
-Seymour Johnson AFB 919-722-1348
-Grand Forks AFB 701-747-4225
-Minot AFB 701-723-2778
-Wright-Pattterson AFB 937-257-6268
-Altus AFB 580-481-7534
-Fort Sill 580-442-4713 or
-Tinker AFB 405-734-2900
-Vance AFB 580-213-7163
-Willow Grove Naval Air 215-443-2693
-Charleston AFB 843-963-1308
-Fort Jackson 803-751-1529
-Shaw AFB 803-895-6269
-Ellsworth AFB 605-385-2497
-Dyess AFB 325-696-5285 or 325-696-2428
-Fort Bliss 915-568-8039
-Fort Hood 254-288-9896
-Goodfellow AFB 325-654-3504
- Lackland AFB 210-671-2325
- Department of Defense 800-531-1066 or 341st MWD Training 210-671-3125 or Squadron 210-671-3153 or
@ Lackland AFB 210-671-5874
-Laughlin AFB 830-298-5860
-Randolph AFB 210-652-5800
-Sheppard AFB 940-676-2014
-Hill AFB 801-777-6665
-Fort Belvoir 703-806-2709
-Fort Eustis 757-878-5694
-Fort Lee 804-734-1099
-Fort Myer 703-696-3022 or
-Langley AFB 757-764-3436
-Little Creek Naval Base 757-462-4444
-Norfolk Naval Station 757-322-2506 or
-Oceana Naval Air Station 757-492-6541
-Quantico Marine Corps 703-784-2325
- Yorktown Naval Station 757-887-4186
-Bangor Naval Submarine Base 360-396-4150
-Everett Naval Station 425-304-3222
-Fairchild AFB 509-247-5700
- Ft. Lewis 253-967-6733
-McChord AFB 253-982-2894
-Whidbey Island Naval 360-257-3128
-Francis E. Warren AFB 307-773-2607
- Andersen AFB 671-366-4279
-Marianas Naval Forces 671-366-4279
-Fort Buchanan 787-707-3717 or 787-707-3593