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War dogs look for love after tours of duty

Saturday - 8/30/2014, 12:27pm  ET

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Charlie, is a 6-year-old black lab. The newest member of the U.S. Capital Police Department, Charlie was a military dog that served a tour in Afghanistan. (Courtesy Capital Police Department)
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WASHINGTON -- After their tour of duty ends and their military lives are over, some war dogs are just looking for love.

"These are working dogs," says Kristen Mauer, president of Mission K9 Rescue. "But some of them come home and they just want to retire. They‘re love bugs and just want to lie on the couch."

Mauer, whose organization works to find homes for military and contractor war dogs, says many families want to adopt these dogs.

"There (are) a lot of people out there that really love what these dogs have done and love what they stand for."

Many, Mauer says, feel that these dogs deserve a wonderful retirement.

The military dogs are owned by the Department of Defense. When their tour of duty is over and they are retired, the DoD offers the dogs to their handlers. Since the relationship is so strong, most are soon adopted and become members of the family.

But the skills that some dogs have are needed by local law enforcement agencies, and soon they have new jobs and new handlers.

K9 Officer Jeff Core is an Explosive Detection Canine Trainer for the United States Capital Police. He says the dogs have been an asset.

"These dogs already had the experience, have already had training and already know what their job is."

Core's new student is a 6-year-old black lab named Charlie. He's a bomb-sniffing dog that did a tour in Afghanistan. He now works and lives with K9 Officer Sergeant Mike Dodgson.

But some dogs just need a quiet place to call home and a family that will just love them, even if they do nothing. Dogs that don't have handlers are offered to civilian families by the DoD. An application can be filled out at their website and the process, which is a long one, will begin.

Other war dogs owned and worked by independent contractors are adopted out by organizations like Mission K9 Rescue.

Ruby Redpath from Texas adopted a contract working dog named Carlos after he served five continuous years in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Medical problems have plagued the handsome yellow Labrador retriever since Redpath adopted him at age eight in 2011. She has spent almost $10,000 of her own money on keeping him healthy. But she says "he is worth every dollar."

Carlos is a noble warrior with a zest for life according to Redpath.

Mauer says they have just raised funds to bring back 10 dogs from Afghanistan and 10 from from Kuwait, meaning 20 dogs are looking for new homes.

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