This is a heartwarming story about a Marine who was with his beloved dog when he was killed in Iraq. The dog was injured in the attack but is now healed and ready for active duty. The family of the fallen soldier knew how much their son loved his dog and want to adopt it. Here is the link to the story if you're interested - http://www.wlbt.com/global/story.asp?s=7395224
The Marine who died was a professional dog handler, and he is the one the dog bonded with. I have read that dogs are rarely adopted out once they leave military service, that they don't work out so well as pets. That if they do get adopted out, it's with the service member they had been partnered with. Not that they're treated cruelly, but the life they're used to is not that compatible with family home life.
We talk often here about a dog's joy in being able to carry out the work it was bred for and trained for. Is it possible the best life for this dog at this point, if he's recovered enough from his wounds, would be to continue bomb-sniffing with another trained Marine? The public push to give him to the family is about what the family wants, but they don't know the dog himself and he doesn't know them. It would be awful for the family and the dog if he couldn't bond with them and they weren't able to handle him. And from what I've heard, this is exactly what happened so often that the military stopped making their retired dogs available for adoption.
Not a question of who deserves the dog, of course they deserve anything that can help them cope with the loss of their son. But they don't know him, they met the dog once, at their son's funeral, at which the dog was heavily tranquilized. If they are experienced dog handlers themselves, with strong breeds, it could work. Maybe it could anyway, but DoD has good reasons for not adopting out its retired canines. Like issues of who would be liable if it bit someone. If it never happened it wouldn't be an issue.
If he had to be under medication to be there than that is not a good sign. He is designed to work in a hard field job and needs to be with a trained professional who knows how to provide the kind of love he needs. He could be a huge liability in a pet home. While it is sad for the family I can understand them wanting him. However, it would be in his best interest to let him go back to the work that his son loved so much.
I am glad that the family got the dog. When my cousin Russ, was killed at work, my aunt went into such a grieving state that the whole family was worried about her health. Russ had a little pomeranian that was his life. His wife gave the dog to my aunt so that she could have a part of her son. Having the dog really made a big difference in her life. I am sure the family of the fallen soldier feels the same way. The dog went to a good home, and the family is happy to have what they feel is a part of their son. Its a win win situation with a happy ending for all.....
If you are a dog and your owner suggests that you wear a sweater, suggest that he wear a tail.