What Happens When A Service Dog Can No Longer Work?

Written by: 
Samantha Epstein

Pairing a dog to a warrior is an intricate process that combines the professional expertise of both warrior and dog trainers. Each dog under consideration for our program must pass an extensive health, history, and behavioral evaluation. The goal is for a dog to maintain good health, so it will be able to serve a warrior without any complications. Most of the dogs that graduate go on to live healthy lives full of purpose and happiness. But, as many of us know all too well, the unexpected can strike without warning; it’s life!

Just like people, dogs can suddenly fall ill and lose their ability to perform everyday tasks. If a warrior ever has concerns about their dog’s health, they know to contact a member of our team. After an ill dog receives veterinary care and a prognosis, we can determine the severity of the issue. A dog will never be required to work when in poor health. If the dog is not well and unable to fulfill its service dog requirements, the warrior will have the option to receive a new dog. What, then, happens to the first dog? The warrior can retire the dog and keep it as a pet. If this is not possible, K9s For Warriors will find the next best option – a loving person to adopt the dog.

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There are other scenarios that may inhibit a dog from carrying out its service dog obligations. The dog may be entering its golden years and can no longer handle the demands of working. Furthermore, if a warrior passes away, the family of the warrior will have the option to keep the dog. In such cases, the dog will no longer be classified as a service dog; instead, it will become a regular family pet.

Whatever the cause may be when a service dog is unable to work, K9s For Warriors strives to find the solution that is best for both warrior and dog.


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