America's Military Working Dogs Need Our Help

Thursday, July 5, 2012 - 3:15pm

Guest Blog from Lisa Phillips, Founder and CEO of the Retired Military Working Dog Assistance Organization

Independence Day is one of America’s most celebrated holidays. It is a day to reflect on America's freedom and the wars that were fought, and are still being fought, to keep us free. Many remember our two-legged heroes, but few realize that there are also four-legged heroes who have fought and died for America.

My name is Lisa Phillips, and I was a vet tech in the Army, taking care of our nation's Military Working Dogs (MWDs). During five years of active duty, my passion and love for these animals grew. I saw firsthand the key roles these loyal and dedicated heroes play in keeping America safe. When I was in the process of being medically discharged in 2005, I adopted my first MWD from Lackland AFB: Gizmo A085. I was his vet tech for the previous two years. In 2007, I was able to adopt MWD Bianca W229, also from Lackland.

MWDs are currently classified as equipment by the military. Equipment doesn’t breathe or bleed; dogs are living breathing creatures, not equipment. When their service to our country is completed, they are considered excess equipment and our country's responsibility for them ends. My love for these heroes is what kept me going on my mission to reclassify them and get help with their medical expenses and final transportation after they are retired.

U.S. Representative Walter Jones of (R-NC) and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)  have introduced in Congress the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act. This bill has bicameral and bipartisan support to reclassify our MWDs as "canine members of the armed forces" instead of equipment, provide financial help with medical bills after they retire via a non-profit, provide final transportation via donated frequent flyer miles, and decoration or other appropriate recognition to recognize particularly meritorious and courageous military working dogs.

On this Independence Day you can help our MWDs win their independence from being classified the same as a table, a chair or a computer and contact your two U.S. Senators and ask them to sign on as a co-sponsor of the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act. 

Add new comment



Alicia vega

How would I go about inquiring as to adoption? My father in law is a retred veteran of the Korean war. He has been hinting he would like to get a dog.


Check out this page if you want more info on how you can help our nation's 4-legged heroes! :)


Dogs are not equipment! They need to be treated as if they were living creatures! They would lay down their life, just like a solidier! In my family, we think of our dogs as family, not property!


it's unfair!!Dogs aren't weaponz!they should have a vote on this:(
my vote is NO

Deanise shewokis

Dear Mrs. Shewokis,

Thank you for your message regarding S.2134, the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act, which I introduced in the Senate. I appreciate hearing from you.

Military working dogs (MWDs) show extraordinary strength and loyalty every day in saving the lives and limbs of our war fighters. These courageous compatriots help detect and disarm roadside bombs and IEDs — some of the deadliest threats to our troops — and protect against intruders and illegal drugs.

Despite their important work in our military operations, MWDs are currently classified by the Department of Defense as “equipment,” leaving the dogs’ adopters or individual military units to bear the cost of transportation and care if they wish to bring retiring MWDs back to the United States.

In response to the requests of Connecticut citizens like you, I am proud to have introduced bipartisan legislation to improve care for military working dogs once their service ends. My bill, the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act, would provide for a national nonprofit funding source and streamlined adoption to upgrade treatment of military working dogs after retirement. It would also empower the Department of Defense to honor courageous or meritorious dogs, or those killed in action, through appropriate recognition such as a letter of commendation. Importantly, it would designate the dogs as “canine members of the armed forces,” ending their classification as “equipment.”

I am pleased that the House of Representatives included the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act in the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA). I intend to offer an amendment incorporating my bill on the floor of the Senate when the Armed Services budget authorization is considered. Already, in the Senate Armed Services Committee, I successfully included provisions in the NDAA Committee Report expressing support for military working dogs. With your thoughts in mind, I will work to ensure that the provisions of S.2134 are included in the final version of the NDAA and signed into law.

I appreciate hearing your support for measures to improve the care of our retired MWDs. Thank you again for writing. Please feel free to contact me in the future with any additional questions or concerns you may have.


Richard Blumenthal
United States Senate

S. Williams, lL...

Please support this bill and retire these wonderful animals into a dignified retirement. They are not equipment. They should live out their normal lives in homes. with families who will love and cherish them for the treasures they are. There are people out there who are willing and able and eager to do so! We see questions every day on our German Shepherd Rescue hotlines and blogs! Please make it possible, and keep these brave, incredible dogs' retirement days the days they truly deserve!

Andrea Pal

They are not equipment, like guns! Dogs are living, breathing, loving animals with a heart and soul! They work hard to do what you teach them to do and please you. They deserve to be treated well during their service and after by retiring to a loving forever home!!!!!!! There are many animal lovers and rescue groups who would love to help! Stop being lazy and careless and help these animals!!!!!

Teresa Cook

These animals are Gods creatures. They deserve to be treated the same way our soldiers are treated. They do save our men and women at times. So lets love them and bring them home with their partners.

bev weber

From today's Cnn report you guys are scamming a lot of people. You ought to ashamed of yourselves.

Vicki Turner

I live in Nevada and although I already have three small dogs Is it possable to adopt one of the military dogs when they are retired

Thank You