Do you know about the K9 soldiers? Have you ever wanted to adopt army dogs? Well, you heard that right, that it’s not always that brave men or women who guard the nation. K9 soldiers of the Indian army have been doing so very well. And what more, here is an expert guide for you to adopt these brave dogs when they retire.

Colonel Ajay Ahlawat
K9 fighter image by Colonel Ajay Ahlawat

“No matter how much gratitude we show to the Indian Army and its soldiers, even their bravery doesn’t measure up to that gallantry of the K9 soldiers. Yes, you heard that right it’s not just the men and women of Indian army that guard the country but also Indian Army’s K9 soldiers,” said Colonel Ajay Ahlawat.

Col Ahlawat then added, “The dogs serving the country under the K9 section of the Indian army, serve till the age of 9, after which they are given an honourable retirement and transferred to an old home for the dogs.”

However, this definitely was the scenario, a few years back. “It was only after Maneka Gandhi’s persistent efforts and rallying that euthanasia of animals having served the Indian army was done away with. However, this move came in as late as 2016,” informed Colonel Ajay Ahlawat.

Colonel Ajay Ahlawat
Colonel Ajay Ahlawat

Once this decision was taken, a lot of effort was put in to set up old homes for the retired Army dogs in India. “Maneka Gandhi’s effort resulted in the setting of two old homes for retired K9 soldiers. One in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh and the other in Uttarakhand’s Hempur,” revealed Colonel Ajay Ahlawat.

However, not all retired Army dogs are sent to rehab centres. Quite a number of them are adopted by army individuals to serve them as a home guard. It’s only the remaining dogs who are sent to the rehab centres. “Life for the retired K9 dogs is not good in these homes. Most of them are used to leading a physically active life. But in these foster homes or rehab centres, there is no scope for such physical activity,” pointed out Colonel Ajay Ahlawat.

Thus, post-retirement, the life of these dogs with great smelling sense and sharp hunting skills, when it comes to hunting drugs and explosives and even missing people. “The fact that they can follow commands makes dogs reliable K9 soldiers,” added Col Ahlawat. However, to develop these special acumens, these dogs under rigorous training to not just be physically fit but also develop skills that help follow both non-verbal and verbal commands.

“We can’t deny the fact that these K-9 recruits play a pivotal role in the Indian Army. However, as per army rules, despite their incredible performance, they are discharged from their services the moment they turn nine,” said Col Ajay Ahlawat.

However, all this and the fact that retired army dogs can be adopted was not known to the common man, till a Facebook user recently made this information public. “Anita Deshpande, in her Facebook post encouraged the common man to adopt retired Army dogs. Within minutes of her sharing the details, the post went viral. It was shared over 3000 times,” said Col Ahlawat. In her Facebook post she wrote, that not many of us are aware of the fact that once an army dog turns eight or nine, he or she is retired from the army after getting all the honours. “Post-retirement, they are shifted to the RVC centre in Meerut, which is an old age home for the canines, where they spent their remaining life. Despite being old most of these dogs are fit and active. Often they are adopted by individuals and kept as guard dogs. Many of dogs are even supposed to have won medals for their achievements,” informed Col Ahlawat.

 Founder of PET FED, Akshay Gupta, who organizes India’s biggest pet carnival, where these army dogs can be adopted, however, maintained that these army dogs, can’t be legally adopted by civilians and even if does happens then it gets done after maintaining the army protocol and not through agencies.

“We need to congratulate the army and defence ministry for coming up with this unique concept, where these dogs, who have served the nation is not euthanized but given up for adoption,” said Col Ahlawat.

However, remember, adopting a retired arm dog is not that easy. “You need to keep a lot of thing in mind. For you will be screened jointly by Indian Army Remount and its Veterinary Corp, which will put things into place for the adoption of these retired army dogs.

 So, if you are planning to adopt a dog, then you can definitely try your luck at these two old age home for the retired army dogs. Not only will you be bringing home a really honest pet dog, but also a guard to take care of your home and family in your absence.

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