SAN ANTONIO – The 341st Training Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland hosted its first-ever military working dog expo.
“We’re really glad to get some exposure for our military working dogs and the different programs that we have with adoptions, the breeding program, as well as our trainers who get to demonstrate the hard work that they do each and every day,” said U.S. Army SPC Callie Hornsby.
The expo showcased the valuable skillset K-9 defenders use in and outside of combat and security operations.
“The dogs are procured, and then we train them up to 120 days, and then they go out to be a military working dog for the actual military as qualified military working dogs,” said Joshua Brock, Lead Training Instructor, MWD Course.
But not all the dogs that head out to boot camp make the cut for service, and many who have served are up for retirement.
“They’re good, sweet dogs. They’re either retired, they served in the field and came back here, or they were training aides, and they trained our new handlers and our military working dog handlers. Course, otherwise, we do have some that just didn’t meet our strenuous training requirements and some that just weren’t meant to be a military working dog,” Hornsby said.
This means the dogs will need a cozy home and a loving family to go to, and there are adoption programs in place to make sure that happens.
“That’s a big program, because these dogs have worked very, very hard and very long. Some of them don’t make it, some of them do make it, but they deserve the right to being in front of a fireplace when they retire. I mean, we go home, I think they should be able to do the same,” Brock said.
If you are looking for a more temporary situation where you can help mold a future warrior, that’s an option too.
“I have two litters that are cooking right now. They’re due to be born December 12 and 13, and they’ll be going out to foster’s in late January. So, I got about 15 puppies probably that are going to need foster homes here, soon. I have a few people on the list, but we need more. So come on, you guys can do this. It’ll be fun,” said Tracy Cann, DOD Breeding Program Foster Consultant.
If you don’t have more than three dogs at home, don’t have any children under 5, and have a large backyard with a tall fence and no cats, you could be eligible to give these highly trained warriors a home to live their best life.
“Some of these dogs are the sweetest dogs you’ll ever meet. They might act a little hard and you might think they are because of the breed. But again, there are some of the most loving dogs in the world. They’re awesome,” said USAF SSgt Heather Albright.