New Bill Would Bring Military Working Dogs Home After Retirement

Photo by Spc. Matt Kuzara

For military veterans like Josh Tucker, the bond between service members and their military working dogs extends beyond the battlefield. When Tucker suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2011 serving in Afghanistan, it wasn’t until he was reunited with his bomb-sniffing dog, Ellen, that he was truly able to begin his recovery.

A bill introduced last month is intended to make this a more common occurrence.

"How would you deny someone this?" asked Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona Democrat. "It makes no sense to have a talented dog like this sit in a runner (enclosure) when she could be helping a serviceman cope with PTSD."

Sinema, who reunite Ellen and Tucker, was inspired by that experience to sponsor the Military Working Dog Retirement Act. The bill would require military working dogs who are retired overseas to be sent back home to their handlers, other service members, or American families for adoption.

Jilmar Ramos-Gomez was a lance corporal in the Marines and received awards for service in Afghanistan. (Michigan ACLU)

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