K9 dogs are loyal, strong, and dependable servants used by police, military, and other important organizations. These animals are trained to perform tasks such as apprehension, protection, detection, and search and rescue. The average working life for K9 dogs ranges from 6 to 9 years, while their life expectancy is 10 to 14 years.
Sadly, sometimes when in the line of duty, these animals can become injured and have to be taken out of service. When a K9 animal retires, they are often adopted as pets by their handlers, but, in rare cases, these dogs can be adopted by civilians too.
If you’re interested in adopting a retired K9 dog that has been injured during their service, this article will help you learn how to love and care for them properly.
Is a K9 Dog Right for You?
Before adopting such an animal, ask yourself if a police or military dog is right for you and your family. While most of these animals were never trained for full combat, they still require more care than a traditional housepet.
These are trained protection dogs that are used to an active lifestyle and having a dutiful purpose. They won’t be content with playing fetch every so often.
Ask yourself these questions before considering adoption:
- Do I have a large, fenced-in yard with enough room for the dog to run?
- Is the house big enough to accommodate a large dog?
- Do I have the time to care for and provide attention to this animal?
- Are there any other pets in the house that could pose a problem?
If you’re confident that you have the right home, and the time to care for a retired K9 dog, then it’s time to start the adoption process.
Where to Adopt a Retired K9
Getting a retired police or military dog is trickier than going to the local dog pound as these are highly skilled and trained animals. You’ll want to contact a K9 training facility or your local police office to inquire about any potential adoptees.
Also, be prepared for a home inspection and additional questions as any reputable agency doesn’t just turn these K9s over to people who aren’t qualified to care for them.
Dealing with K9 Injuries and Stress
Because of the dangerous work these animals perform, many police and military dogs suffer from the same effects of stress that humans do, including PTSD. Some animals can become severely injured in the line of duty too which could require them to use a wheelchair, so taking care of a stressed and injured animal is a challenge.
Sometimes police and military dogs suffer the loss of limbs, which makes giving them proper care difficult, however, you will find the rewards far outweigh the challenges with these lovable companions.
Handling Injured K9 Dogs
If you adopt a dog in a wheelchair, or disabled in another way, there are things you must remember to keep the dog happy and healthy.
The military and police train these dogs to operate to a routine, and you should maintain a routine with your disabled pet too. Take your pet out at the same time every day, feed them at the same time every day, and give them playtime at the same time too.
Providing a routine and giving them tasks to perform keeps their minds sharp and helps them from becoming bored and from falling into the effects of PTSD.
Caring for a Disabled K9
Remember that your dog doesn’t feel pity for itself the way some humans do. Dogs are very sensitive to their owners’ moods and emotions.
If you feel pity and sorrow for your dog, you can make your dog worry, which will give them stress. Treat your animal the same way you would if he had full use of his limbs and he’ll love you for it.
Having patience is crucial when dealing with a disabled animal. Your dog doesn’t understand its disability and will try to perform as if he had full use of his limbs. When he can’t do the thing he wants to do, or that you want him to do, remain calm and patient.
Give him a little help if needed but let him do most of the work himself. Police and military dogs love to please their owners, and they’ll do everything they can to please you too. So let them.
Caring for a disabled animal can be trying so, it’s vital that you seek help from others in your situation to keep up your spirits for the benefit of the animal.
Thanks to the internet, there are plenty of online forums and groups who offer support for those dealing with these difficult situations. If you have a particular problem with your pet, you’ll be sure to find the help you need online.
K9 Online Community
Remember, your retired K9 doesn’t see its disability as a detriment. They only see it as a new paradigm and work hard to move on. If you provide them with the ability to continue doing what they love to do, both of you will be happy and enjoy your time together.