Sunday, June 21, 2015

Malinois: Max and More

Max and More

You've seen the movie, Max, and are awed at the capabilities of military working dogs and maybe Belgian malinois, in particular.  You're thinking about adopting a military working dog or adding a malinois to your family because they seem like such amazing dogs. Here are some things that you should know before you start your journey looking for a new family member.

Malinois are often called maligators, for a reason, by those who know and love them.  This is a brilliant breed for working and especially for hard hitting, high energy work, like military or police work.  They are not, in general, a good companion breed and certainly not a dog that you can ignore and stick out in the back yard.  Some people says malinois is French for "Don't Get One", at least if you are not an experienced owner and don't plan to spend hours daily working with your dog.

These dogs require a serious job and if they don't have a job, they will find one.  Their job description may include things such as:  shred the couch, chew the door off the hinges, rip up the carpet - which is probably more in line with a demolition crew than the pet you thought you were bringing home.

This is not to say these dogs aren't brilliant, they are.   But, they are high drive, active and require a dedicated, experienced owner who is committed to their education, which means that being away significant amounts of the day, doesn't work well for this breed.   If you find a breeder who is content with selling a dog to a novice without asking tons of questions, s/he's not the breeder for you.  Ethical breeders will want to be sure their high drive dogs go to a working home that is a perfect match.

Those who love malinois are concerned that people will ignore the realities of malinois ownership and buy one anyway.   If you are still thinking about adding this breed to your home, please do enough research to answer your questions.  Here is a good link.

Many malinois end up in rescue because they are not what the novice owner thought they were getting.  If you're interested in a rescue malinois, check out this link:

And, if you're interested in adopting a retired military working dog, please go directly to the source at Lackland AFB.   The dog disposition unit is at Lackland and they coordinate all of the adoptions- so please don't call individual kennels and interrupt their important training.   There is no fee for adopting a retired dog, but you are responsible for transport and healthcare.  This is the easiest way to get your name on a list.   You can begin the adoption process by completing and submitting the required paperwork application at this link:

Thanks to the DoD for the images.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Healing Our Soldiers

  For more information on this exceptional piece, please follow this link:

 Credit: National Geographic   

The following is an excerpt from the February issue of National Geographic.  The full feature is available at

 "THE INVISIBLE WAR ON THE BRAIN by Caroline Alexander

Brain trauma from blast force is the signature injury of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, afflicting hundreds of thousands of U.S. combat personnel. Although unseen, the damage strikes deeply into a soldier’s mind and psyche.

INSIDE THE PROTECTIVE BUNKER I waited with the explosives team, fingers wedged firmly in my ears. Outside, shot number 52, trailing a 20-foot length of yellow-and-green-striped detonating cord, was securely taped to the wall of a one-room plywood building with a steel fire door. There was a countdown from five, a low “pow,” and a dull thump in the center of my chest. The thump is the hallmark of blast. “You feel the thump,” one team member told me. “I’ve been in blast events where we’re actually hundreds or even thousands of feet away, and I still feel that thump.”

The mystery of what that thump does had brought me to a World War II bombing range some 40 miles southeast of Denver. Back then it was used to test half-ton ordnance; now it serves to study controlled explosives used by soldiers to blast holes through walls and doors in combat areas—standard practice in modern warfare. The eventual objective of these tests is to discover what that blast thump does to the human brain."

All images are from the February issue of National Geographic magazine

  © Lynn Johnson/National Geographic

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Aaron Tam (Ret.)
Iraq 2004-05, 2007-08
“Detonation happened, and I was right there in the blast seat. I got blown up. And all this medical study—nobody ever thought that they [blast events] were very harmful, and so we didn’t log them, which we should because all blast forces are cumulative to the body. On a grade number for me, it would probably be 300-plus explosions … I’m not going to not play with my children. I’m not going to let my injuries stop them from having a good life.”

 © Lynn Johnson/National Geographic

Marine Cpl. Chris McNair (Ret.)
Afghanistan 2011-12
Impeccable in his Marine uniform and outwardly composed, McNair sits on the porch of his parents’ home in Virginia, anonymous behind a mask he made in an art therapy session. “I was just going through pictures, and I saw the mask of Hannibal Lecter, and I thought, ‘That’s who I am’ … He’s probably dangerous, and that’s who I felt I was. I had this muzzle on with all these wounds, and I couldn’t tell anyone about them. I couldn’t express my feelings.”

  © Lynn Johnson/National Geographic

 Army Staff Sgt. Perry Hopman
Iraq 2006-08
Wearing his mask—half patriotic, half death’s-head—Hopman confronts the battery of medications he takes daily for blast-force injuries he sustained while treating soldiers as a flight medic. “I know my name, but I don’t know the man who used to back up that name … I never thought I would have to set a reminder to take a shower, you know. I’m 39 years old. I’ve got to set a reminder to take medicine, set a reminder to do anything… My daughter, she’s only four, so this is the only dad she’s ever known, whereas my son knew me before.”

 © Lynn Johnson/National Geographic

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Tiffany H.
Iraq 2007-08, Afghanistan 2010-11
Tiffany H., as she prefers to be known, was “blown up” while helping women in a remote Afghan village earn additional income for their families. Memory loss, balance difficulties, and anxiety are among her many symptoms. The blinded eye and sealed lips on her mask

 © Lynn Johnson/National Geographic

Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert “Bo” Wester (Ret.)
Iraq 2007, 2008-09, Afghanistan 2010
Suiting up before attempting ordnance disposal “is the last line. There’s no one else to call … It’s the person and the IED … and if a mistake is made at that point, then death is almost certain. They call it the long walk because once you get that bomb suit on, number one, everything is harder when you’re wearing that 100 pounds … Two, the stress of knowing what you’re about to do. And three, it’s quiet, and it seems like it takes an hour to walk.”

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Picture Yourself as a MWDTSA Volunteer

Picture Yourself as a MWDTSA Volunteer
New Year~~New You

Volunteers are how we roll.  Would you like to get involved but don’t know how? Let us show you how easy it can be to become part of our MWDTSA Team and why it may be just the thing for you.
As an all volunteer organization, volunteers are the lifeblood of everything we do. That means that each individual who volunteers with MWDTSA contributes to the support we provide to our military working dog teams. Each year, we successfully ship care packages, complete base visits and recognition events, educate the general public and advocate on behalf of retired dogs.
The help you supply is vital. It is real, tangible, and relied upon to help us reach and exceed our goals.  Join our dynamic national network of volunteers who donate their time and talent to MWDTSA.  Most of our volunteer efforts are virtual, which means you can join us from anywhere in the country and make a real contribution toward furthering our goals.  We couldn't do what we do without dedicated, hard-working, enthusiastic volunteers like you.  But, what’s in it for you?

It’s rewarding.    Find Meaning and Purpose at Any Age: Sharing what you've learned with others can be a rewarding opportunity to give back.  It’s a way to show the troops that you support them.

It’s good for your health: mental and physical.  Experience Improved Health and Well-being: Many people who volunteer say that helping others gives them a good feeling inside. There seems to be an actual physical sensation that occurs when people help others that makes them experience greater energy and strength, less depression and increased feelings of self-worth.
It’s  fun and makes you reinvent yourself.  Make New Friends and Improve Your Mind: you'll be meeting and working with people from across the country and varied backgrounds.   If you had told me before I started that I'd have learned how to write press releases,  communicated with some of the individuals that I have at various levels of the government and made as many friends from all across the military, I would not have believed you.  It’s been a blast. Step into our world.
Current Volunteer Needs
We have a unique and varied need of volunteer work, but we are always looking for motivated volunteers filled with energy and ideas.  We could use some help in the following areas:
·           Solicitation of donations for care packages
·           Dog Tagz Online Store Developer/Manager
·           Photography/Videography
·           Writer/Editor—Stories and Articles for newsletter and online
·           Social Media Mogul: Facebook and Twitter
·           In Kind Donation Solicitations
·           Artwork/Graphic Design/T Shirt design and sales
·           Fund Raising
·           Volunteer Coordination and Management
·           Grant writing and much, much more.

We are a small, but mighty non-profit so every ounce of energy is important; know that you can make a powerful difference.  When it comes to volunteering, passion and positivity are the only requirements.
Stop by our Volunteer Central Page for more information or to send in a volunteer application:
Thanks and we look forward to welcoming you to the MWDTSA Volunteer Family.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Plea to MWDTSA Supporters

Dear MWDTSA Supporters,

We’re in the midst of the holiday season, having just completed the 4th quarter care packages, three in person base visits, a Virtual Visit to Italy and already we are planning for next year; but I’m sitting down for the moment – just a moment – to tell you about some of the successes that our volunteers' hard work, creativity and drive made possible in 2014.  With over 10,000 volunteer hours under our belt, it’s my hope that our 2014 victories will inspire you to make a year-end donation to help us grow in 2015.

Where to begin?  In the eighth year of our non-profit status, MWDTSA has continued to grow, inspire and support.   There isn’t space in this letter to list all of our accomplishments, but here is a sampling of our successes that your donations at the end of last year – and the continued support you’ve shown throughout 2014 – helped make possible:

-   More than 500 care packages of care and comfort mailed to deployed dog teams, with each package valued between $100 and $200.

-   More than a dozen events were coordinated by volunteers, including visits to active
duty kennels, virtual visits to kennels outside the United States and support of a Vietnam Combat Tracker Reunion in West Virginia.  

-  We have participated in public education events across the country and online to educate Americans as to the history and heroism of America's dog teams.

-  Our newsletter, Kennel Talk, has been recognized as a superb publication and leading voice in disseminating military working dog information and we’ve just been awarded our second special German Shepherd Dog Club Newsletter Award.

-   Through our weekly job postings, we are supporting retiring dog handlers as they transition into civilian life.

-   Our support for the healing of veteran dog handlers has lead us to support military working dog memorials in South Carolina and Alaska.

-   And these are just the highlights of a full year of achievements for MWDTSA and the dog teams that we serve that makes me so positive about where the organization has come from and where we are going. I hope it impresses and inspires you to support us.

A gift of $200 will help with the mailing of approximately a dozen care packages.  A gift of $100 will help us fill twenty care packages with a T shirt or other comfort items that we are unable to get donated.  Of course, whatever you can give will be greatly appreciated and allow us to improve our programs.

We count on your year-end donations to provide a sound financial basis for all of our work throughout the year.  Of course we receive grants and gifts that make special projects possible, but your annual giving along with the proceeds we earn from sales from T shirts and calendars, directly affects the success of MWDTSA.

Thanks again for helping to keep our mission on course. We appreciate whatever support you can provide.

Warm regards,

Dixie Whitman
President, MWDTSA

Sunday, October 12, 2014

KONGs for K9s Offers Opportunity for Individuals to Give an Item that Keeps Giving

MWDTSA created our KONGs for K9s event about 6  or 7 years ago as a way to reach supporters across the country and to round up quality KONG products for Military Working Dogs.

The program is simple, donors make a donation of a requested KONG product at one of our partner stores.  At the end of the event, the KONGs will be gathered, counted and matched by  another KONG Classic by the KONG company,

This event has been a win-win-win for various reasons.  It allows MWDTSA to get quality toys donated without having to spend our precious funding.  It allows small pet business partners a way to bring to their customers a method to support military working dogs in a very tangible way.  

These stores are accepting donations through the end of October.

Leash On Life

Ms. Julie Phye

432 Highway 1 W

Iowa City, Iowa 52246



Lucky Duck Pet Stuff

Ms. Carla Wynn

3723 E. Chesapeake Beach Road (Rt. 260)
Chesapeake Beach, Maryland 20723



Ma and Paw’s Bakery

Ms. Diane Sanders

1227 East 3300 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84115


Top Dogs Pet Boutique  

Ms. Suzette Lindsey

2615 George Busbee Parkway

Kennesaw, GA 30114



Top Dogs Pet Boutique  

Ms. Suzette Lindsey

900 Mansell Road Suite 13
Roswell, GA 30076



Personal Beast

Ms. Jett Wyatt

8119 SE Stark St.

Portland, OR 97215

503- 445-9449

Veterans United Craft Brewery

8999 Western Way #104

Jacksonville, Florida 32256

The four California stores will be accepting donations through the end of November.

Pet Suites

19 Journey

Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

949- 425-0700


Three locations of The Animal Keeper:


The Animal Keeper

155 Saxony Road


The Animal Keeper

3532 College Blvd.

Oceanside, CA 92056


The Animal Keeper

12280 Oak Knoll Road

Poway, CA 92064
Tel: (858) 748-9676