Thirteen U.S. Explosive Detection Dogs Land In Texas After Serving Their Country Overseas

Astor, retired with his handler!


A ‘bakers dozen’ of K9 heroes touched down in Houston, Texas last week, after serving their country in Kuwait.  On November 30 they were checked into the air cargo facility overseas, and the following Thursday they touched down, courtesy of the donors and benefactors of Mission K9.

This particular group of K9’s were trained to search for explosives in cargo. Though the thirteen contract working dogs (CWD’s) had handlers while they were in Kuwait, they do not have designated handlers on U.S. soil; they will be looking for new foster or forever homes in our country. Mission K9 says:

They are doing amazing now that they are in the states. They adore the green grass!


Originally shipped overseas from the U.S., CWD’s are not ‘Government Owned’. The government is not financially or contractually obligated to ship them back to the U.S.

The Petco Foundation is a proud supporter of Mission K9.  The Petco Foundation and the United States War Dogs Association (USWDA) has partnered with Mission K9, enabling this group of retired explosive detection dogs to return to the U.S.

“We can think of no better way to repay these hero canines than by guaranteeing them a loving home in retirement. Organizations like Mission K9 Rescue go to great lengths to ensure these dogs the best possible outcome. We are honored to support their lifesaving work.” says Susanne Kogut, Executive Director for The Petco Foundation.

As long as dogs are recruited to serve our country overseas, there will always be the need to find a way to bring them home.  The dogs who have come home to the U.S. are older, of varying breeds, and Mission K9 is not looking for new jobs for them.  They have earned their retirement and the most work they will have to do is moving from the couch to a cozy spot of sunshine on the floor or in a yard.



Part of Mission K9’s mission is to rehabilitate the dogs, and teach them to decompress and live the good life.  Each dog’s mission is complete; they can look forward to the life of a civilian companion animal.   Mission K9 hopes to have these dogs placed in new homes in time for the holidays. Though the holiday season can be stressful when adopting a new animal, Mission K9 will ensure that every new home is the right one for each animal.


Mission K9 helps not only working dogs overseas – they are dedicated to assisting any working dog who has served mankind in any capacity, including working dogs rescued from shelters.  Their adoptable dogs are listed here!

There are currently sixteen additional dogs overseas, waiting for their chance to come home.  The trip for all these dogs must be privately funded by donations. Currently the organization has the chance to receive a $40,000 matching grant to help the mission succeed, which must be filled by the end of December.    If you would like to help the dogs of Mission K9, please click here!  And here’s a peek at CWD Max with MK9 co-founder Louisa Kaster, one of the dogs who came back to the USA!

Lisa Blanck

Writing articles about animals for more than 22 years, she dove into the rescue world with the onset of Hurricane Katrina. As an outspoken advocate for animals, she's covered everything from paws to hooves, fins to feathers. She was the Orlando Animal Rescue and Worldwide Animal Issues Examiner for seven years. She's always thinking pawsitive, looking for ways to improve the lives of animals. She lives with one dog, one cat and one patient human. She welcomes your suggestions and is thrilled to be part of the family!


  1. Mongoose218 says:

    I know there is a problem with dogs owned by the U.S. government, which are often sold off to the highest bidder, and NOT automatically offered to their former handlers…..THIS is WRONG and needs to be addressed at the highest levels!

    This is apparently NOT the situation here.

  2. Mongoose218 says:

    A good thing to do for these hardworking dogs!

    I agree their handlers should have the first call to take in these dogs in retirement, but for various reasons it can’t always happen……this is the SECOND best thing to do for these dogs, I think.

    Plan to donate…..please everyone, donate whatever you can, every little bit will help!!!

  3. Nancy Coughlin says:

    What do you do if you are interested in adopting one?

    1. Lisa Blanck says:

      contact Mission K9 directly. or (713) 589-9362. And thank you for caring!

  4. Kathy S Newman says:

    Why was my email declined

    1. Lisa Blanck says:

      sorry, didn’t get to reading comments yet! it should be there now. Thanks, Kathy.

  5. Kathy S Newman says:

    I think that these dogs should be placed with there person they worked with when ever possible, they are bonded and mean a lot to each other. If the handler is still in the service then give to his wife. But any way possible the handler should have that dog if they so choose.

    1. Lisa Blanck says:

      if you go to the Mission K9 page, there are other reunion videos posted by that great group. One of them is a reunion between an original handler and his K9 years after the K9 was retired. I’d guess every situation is different and the handlers probably try to make the arrangements if possible, but, as the article stated, the US Gov does not pay to bring the dogs home, so there are never any guarantees on if, or when, the dogs will get to come home.

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