National Dog Week is coming up! Held the last full week of September every year since
1928- this year that will be September 24-30 2023- it was established by Captain William
Judy, publisher of Dog World Magazine. An excellent way to celebrate Man’s Best Friend is
to honor those groups devoted to helping dogs.
Mission K9 Rescue, out of Magnolia, Texas and operating worldwide, is a very special
group devoted to giving Working Dogs the happy ending and peaceful retirement they
Over the past decade, Mission K9 Rescue has worked with and helped some 1200 Military
Working Dogs, Law Enforcement Dogs and Contract Working Dogs, reuniting 640 of them
with their former handlers. While the dogs are from a variety of different service
backgrounds, 80% of these animals come from the US Military.
Working dogs are an integral part of the efforts American law enforcement, military, and
supporting contractors undertake at home and abroad. Few of us are aware of the full
range of activities such animals perform. This reviewer was able to interview Co-Founder
Bob Bryant, Mission’s Chief Technology Officer, who provided the information in this
“Military dogs, regardless of the branch of service where they eventually serve, are all bred
and trained at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas”, he advised. “Dogs are
trained for specific jobs, which include attack, search and rescue, tracking, patrol, and
explosive detection, while the majority of their handlers- there may be up to 5-
are either Corporals or Sergeants”, Bryant informed that handlers are promoted by the
military – they can have many different ranks depending on their years of service.
He went on to explain, “A Contract Working Dog, in comparison, is owned by a private
company that has been contracted by the Department of Defense to work alongside U.S.
Military Working Dogs, performing the same tasks protecting our troops, as well as related
services, such as cargo detection at ports of entry and borders..”
Finally, Bryant explained, “Police dogs or K-9’s, have the same job as police officers do-
broadly speaking, to investigate and identify crimes. Specifically, these duties include
suspect tracking and apprehension, narcotic and explosive detection, and search and
“Mission K9 Rescue is a dedicated animal welfare organization that is saving as many
working dogs as possible in hopes of offering them comfortable, peaceful, and loving homes
in which to spend the remainder of their lives”, noted Bryant. Our mission, which we think
of as ‘The 5 R’s’, usually begins with a call from a dog’s handler when that animal’s
disposition is a retirement order.”
MISSION CANINE RESCUE’S ‘5-R’ PURPOSE:
- RESCUE – Mission K9 Rescue is committed to saving any and all CWDs (contractor
working dogs) and MWDs (military working dogs), as well as any other working dog that
may need help (such as retired police dogs). This work may include bringing them back
from overseas or rescuing them out of a poor environment stateside.
- REUNITE – Mission K9 Rescue prioritizes reuniting retired working dogs with a past
handler who is both interested in permanent adoption and has proven that they can offer a
safe and loving home for the animal. Mission K9 sees to it that the dog is transported to
their new home — often at great expense, due to the very limited number of airlines who
agree to transport these dogs.
- RE-HOME – For any working dog who does not have a designated handler, Mission K9
Rescue works tirelessly to find the perfect loving home for the dog.
- REHABILITATE – Retired working dogs frequently come to Mission K9 from high-
intensity and potentially traumatizing circumstances that have caused them severe anxiety
and stress. Many retire with issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These
dogs need time to decompress and reintegrate into society. Mission K9 Rescue works with
them as long as necessary to help them become suitable for adoption.
- REPAIR – Working dogs train like professional athletes their entire career. When they
retire, they often have extensive, costly medical issues. Since these dogs don’t receive
retirement benefits, Mission K9 Rescue raises the much-needed funding to assist handlers
and/or adopters with medical bills.
“We’re raising funds to take care of these dogs — to bring dogs back from all over the
world where they are stuck in kennels after retirement, and to provide medical care for
working dogs who have worked like athletes their entire lives and now have injuries and
health issues. It can be really costly to get them ready for adoption,” explains Mission K9
President Kristen Maurer.
Kristen adds, “Just like with two-legged soldiers, four-legged soldiers can come back with
emotional issues. Some of them have been isolated their entire life, and they need to learn
how to get along with other dogs and people. They need special rehabilitation. These dogs
were drafted into what they did; they didn’t choose it. They have selflessly given their lives
to protect our soldiers, our first responders, and our citizens.”
“There’s an assumption that these working dogs are automatically being taken care of after
they leave service,” says Maurer, “but that’s not the case. A lot of them are stuck in kennels
— not just in the U.S., but overseas. We really need to get them back. We want to honor
these dogs that have given their lives for us. We want to make sure they come back and get
the retirement they deserve.”
Photos are courtesy of Mission K9 Rescue
More information about Mission K9 Rescue