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If You’re A Dog Lover…

By Liz Brown

Nine abandoned military working dogs have been returned to their handlers over the last year. The nine are part of a dozen tactical explosive detector dogs who served in Afghanistan or Iraq as DOD property. When their tours were over, the animals were passed to an independent contractor who decided to offload them to a rescue.

This is where Greg Meredith stepped in.

Meredith is the owner of Mt. Hope Kennel in Chester, Virginia. He agreed to take the former working dogs for an agreed upon timeline of six to eight weeks.

"More than half were on Prozac when they came to me," he told HLN.com. "Some had PTSD. They needed to be nurtured. They're child-like. Some, it took a month, a month and a half to build trust. Some were aggressive with other dogs when they came here."

The contractors only contacted Meredith after 16 months and a $150,000 cost to the Mt. Hope Kennel. They said the canines were too old to work for them, but that Meredith would face federal prosecution if he re-homed government property. The contractors' instructions? "Dispose" of the animals.

Not everyone loves dogs, I get that.

Rather, I understand that's a fact. I just can't relate to it. I am a dog owner, dog lover. Our 9-month old German Shepherd travels with us, runs and swims with us, and lies beside our bed at night. He is a part of our family.

And this is just a companion animal. Though my husband might argue we got him for personal protection, I can't help but laugh when our 85-pound Alpha intimidator flops down in my lap. He is a good boy, but he does not defend America from harm, protect our service members, or save lives.

This country's working dogs go through intense training to learn specialized skills. They're considered incredibly effective counter measures against terrorists and explosives. They can be sentries, they can sniff out mines and bombs, they can attack on command. They're uniquely fearless and brave as they often dive headlong into danger.

They deserve respect.

I hate that any of our war dogs are deserted. Thankfully, there are people out there like Greg Meredith. He didn't give up on the four-legged former warriors, he sought out nonprofit Mission K9 Rescue which teamed up with The U.S. War Dogs Association to find the original handlers.

As a dog lover, I'm hoping all 12 dogs get to go home. As a military supporter, I'm praying for it.

To contribute to the GoFundMe set up for the Mt. Hope K9 Warrior Rescue, go to http://www.gofundme.com/Mthopewarrior