Dogs are a man’s best friend. And it takes a true man to defend his best friend. Of course, did you know that the toughest, bravest and highly trained dogs in the military and police force are considered ‘un-adoptable’ when they have retired? Well, meet the man who wants to change things and secure these dogs a happy retirement.
After serving 12 years as a Navy SEAL officer, Mike Ritland was ready for retirement. But he couldn’t just stand and watch after finding out the horrible fate awaiting retired military dogs.
“I was informed that if no one will take them that they will probably euthanize them,” Ritland said. “For me, it was a no-brainer.” After giving the country their service, they’ll be put down. This man is doing the right thing.
Ritland started the Warrior Dog Foundation in Texas for retired military or police dogs to keep them from being euthanized and rehabilitating them so that they can live normal lives.
“These dogs ask nothing of us and provide so much for us, for our troops, for our police officers, for our communities, for our nation,” Ritland said.
So far, the foundation has helped save more than 100 four-legged soldiers and continues to give retired K9s a chance at normal lives.
These dogs aren’t ordinary, they’re highly trained and motivated to fulfill their duties. “A lot of these dogs, when they come here, have the human equivalent to PTSD,” he added. That means some dogs can have certain trauma or phobias they’ve encountered in their work which affects their mental well being.
Through various exercises and constant rehabilitation, the dogs are deprogrammed, untrained, and taught to unwind. It will be like the human version of therapy, to get rid of the rigid mindset the were trained into.
They’re taught to be regular, domesticated animals.
“We let them know that there’s no bomb around every corner, it’s okay for you to let your guard down and roll in the grass and chase butterflies again,” Jillian Daniel, a Warrior Dog trainer said.
Just like retired veterans, these dogs deserve support from the community and the opportunity to have happy and fulfilling lives after they’re done with service. We have nothing but love and admiration for people like Mike Ritland and what he’s done for these brave and inspiring animals.