The voices of children call across the yards near the end of a cul-de-sac neighborhood, a 5-year-old boy, holds a flag to start the battery operated car race. The sunshine is warm, but the air has a crispness in what would normally be a light northern breeze.
Throughout history animals have been participants in military operations, and in recent years, military working dogs have played a major role both at home and on the front lines.
Together, dog and handler make a team.
Unlike a human, MWDs do not receive a paycheck upon retirement, but there is hope for these animals who have served our country, an adoption program.
The dog handlers have the first choice for adoption when the time comes for a MWD to be retired.
Army Sgt. Pamela Collen of Angels Camp, Calif., assigned to 163rd Military Police Detachment, 716th MP Battalion, Fort Campbell, Ky., 16th MP Brigade, Fort Bragg, N. C. adopted Astra after spending the last seven years and two deployments together.
Astra and Collen have been through a lot together, both on deployments and back at home.
If the handler is not able to adopt, the dog is available for adoption to anyone who can provide a ‘forever home’ for the veteran Soldier.
MWDs are very well trained, obedient and loyal animals. They have been exposed to training events and environments that many pets never experience, but because of these experiences, when the dogs retire their needs can be costly, which is something for Families to consider.
Sgt. Chloe Wells of Delray Beach, Fla., assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, here as a Behavioral Health Specialist adopted veteran MWD Doc. Doc has been diagnosed with Canine PTSD after a mortar attack threw him and his handler 300 feet. Like Jeta, Doc’s handler was unable to adopt him.
The C-PTSDA organization raises awareness for all dogs, military, law enforcement and shelter animals with C-PTSD. It also raises monies to help defray the medical costs of adopting a dog with special medical costs, and coordinate dog trainers who have the skills to help both the dogs and adoptive families work through issues.
Sometimes, it is not just the dog that needs help healing and overcoming obstacles. Master Sgt. Scott Peirsol of Seattle and his wife Faith Peirsol of Port Jefferson, N. Y. lost her 14 year old Doberman to cancer two weeks before the Peirsols adopted Bak.
Scott Peirsol, assigned to Military Information Support Operations Command at Fort Bragg, has been recovering from knee surgery less than a year ago. He and Bak have formed a symbiotic bond as veterans. Peirsol needs the morning walk and Bak enjoys living in retirement with someone who still wears a familiar uniform.
They were also present at the Special Operations Forces K9 Soldiers memorial when it was unveiled July 27 in a ceremony at Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, N. C.
For the past two years, approximately 23 MWDs have been adopted from the 16th Military Police Brigade to loving Families.