Just this morning I received an email plea from the ASPCA asking for a donation to bring home Rick, an 8 year-old German Shepherd, from a military base in South Korea. Rick's former handler wants to adopt him, but according to the email, bringing home retired military working dogs is an expensive international effort.
Curious about why the ASPCA was involved in the effort to bring Rick home, I sought out information about retired military working dogs. The following is from an article on a website called "The Daily Signal":
Under current law, the military classifies its working dogs as equipment, and those “retired” while overseas aren’t granted transport back to the United States. Just like a tank or armored vehicle, not all military equipment makes it back to the States, and some dogs are left in shelters in the countries where they end their service. Upon “retirement,” despite their assigned ranks, they aren’t treated as canine veterans.
I'll be following up on this issue in the days to come. I hope you'll join me in efforts to recognize and bring home our K9 military heroes.