Retiring military dogs return home — and get adopted by their former handlers

Dogs play a huge part in the U.S military, they are heroes that save lives fearlessly in the battles and take down enemy combatants, and also provide support for their fellow soldiers.

These brave dogs deserve an amazing life after they get retired from the service, this is why one group has been reuniting military dogs with their former handlers, who will give them a loving forever home.

During May was the Humane Societ Military Appreciation Month, putting the spotlight on their work with the US military, which includes teaming veterans with therapy dogs to deal with PTSD and other conditions.

Also they help retiring military K9s adjust to life after their service ends by helping to reunite them with the handlers they worked with overseas.

American Humane  shared some successful recent stories, for example Popeye, a 7-year-old German shepherd who got a sweet surprise after seeing a familiar face.

According to the reports of the Humane Society, sweet Popeye was handled by the U.S. Army Specialist Mike Steponovich while they were stationed in Korea. They quickly became close friends.

Mike retired from military service after working there for 6 years and relocated to Las Vegas, the goodbye was sad for both him and Popeye.

“When I had to leave him, it was really emotional –  you never know when it’s going to be the last time you see your dog,” Mike said.

After Mike leaving the dog’s behaviour changed, it was clear he got so attached to his handler.

Popey was showing separation anxiety signs and would chew on his tail constantly. The military took the decision to allow the pup to retire early.

American Humane helped the dog back to Us and reunited with Mike, who immediately agreed to give his furry friend a forever home.

The duo reunited finally last month at The Mirage in Las Vegas.  

 “Having him back in my life is going to be absolutely amazing. I am so excited to just show him the area, take him on my adventures, and do stuff here in Vegas,” Mike told American Humane. “Just having him around day-to-day is going to be amazing.”

This was just one of successful stories of the group reuniting veteran K9s with their former handlers.

Sergeant Wade Alfson of U.S air force staff worked with a Belgian Malinois named Xanthe for over a year while he was stationed in the Middle East. According to American Humane, the duo were part of dangerous missions, “putting themselves in harm’s way to keep their fellow troops safe from danger.”

“She’s such a caring and charismatic dog – she was like the morale for all of us soldiers who served together and we all loved her,” Alfson said, according to the Daily Mail.

After Ssgt. Alfson was reassigned to an Air Force Base in Hawaii, he had to be separated from his old friend for over a year, but he was sure he would give her a good home once she was retired from service.

“I kept in touch with everyone and then once the time was coming, they kept me updated and I made sure that I was the number-one slot to get her,” Alfson said.

When finally the time came American Humane helped him handle all the logistics of getting Xanthe to his new home in Hawaii.

After one year apart the duo finally reunited, they were both so happy seeing each other.

“The first few moments getting to see Xanthe again was pretty much exactly how I wanted it to go,” Alfson said.

“I was a little worried at first about how she would be, but once she was in close proximity she knew exactly who I was and jumped towards me. That felt great because there’s always a worry that they’ll forget you but she definitely remembered me and was happy to see me.”

These reunions always make us happy.

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