Dogs have been used in armies since the Romans and Greeks sent Mastiffs equipped with full armor into combat situations. There are currently more than 2,500 military working dogs in the US forces. Military working dogs are deployed to war zones, help in search and rescue missions, detect drugs and explosives and accompany Special Forces operatives on special missions.
Around 500 dogs are deployed worldwide at a time and just like humans, military working dogs are susceptible to the ravages of war, including physical injuries and PTSD. More than half the dogs with PTSD are treated and redeployed but at some point, all dogs must retire due to aging, injuries or inability to perform the tasks. Some dogs may go on to work in non combat situations such as federal and law enforcement.
Dogs that do not continue to work in the military are often adopted by handlers as well as civilians who must go through thorough vetting to ensure that they will create an ideal environment for the veteran war dog. Further, retired military working dogs receive specialized treatment for PTSD and other conditions by highly experienced and trained veterinarians. There are initiatives around the country to provide free specialist veterinary care to war dogs after retirement in recognition of their brave services to humanity. It is estimated that the average military working dog saves one hundred and fifty to two hundred human lives by discovering the location of explosives and warning soldiers about these and other weapon caches.
The American Humane Association and U.S Ward dogs association are working together with veterinary doctors and clinics to ensure that retired dogs are provided the best health care possible. The American Humane Association along with other animal rights groups are also calling for