Australian families are helping keep Australia safe by fostering military puppies.
Minister for Defence Personnel Dan Tehan today paid tribute to the families who foster RAAF military dogs as this week 10 puppies were placed with foster families.
CAPTION: Prim, a future RAAF military working dog, with Corporal Samantha Luck, from the Royal Australian Air Force Security and Fire School. Photo by Corporal Max Bree.
Last year, 95 puppies were born as part of the RAAF military dog breeding program at RAAF Base Amberley’s Security and Fire School, and 76 were placed in foster care.
“The puppies are cute now but when they grow up they will have important jobs, such as military working dogs or explosives detection dogs with RAAF and Army,” Mr Tehan said.
“Before they are old enough to start training, the puppies are cared for by generous, volunteer foster families.
“Dogs have made valuable contributions to Australia’s defence over a long period and we are grateful for their service.”
From eight to 12 weeks of age the puppies go out into the community on weekend home-stays.
From 12 weeks to seven months the dogs go into a full-time foster-care arrangement to socialise with families, before returning to the RAAF for their military training.
Military and civilians can volunteer to foster a RAAF MWD pup.
Volunteers will have their yard inspected by staff from the Royal Australian Air Force Security and Fire School.
Foster families are provided with things like a lead, harness, car safety restraint, toys, food and bedding.
Military working dogs and their handlers are responsible for security, crime-prevention patrols, emergency response and intruder detection, on RAAF bases and at deployed locations around the world.
The two main breeds of military working dogs used by RAAF are the German Shepherd and the Belgian Shepherd Malinois.
Dogs and handlers are carefully matched to ensure they can work well together.
Once matched, handlers and their dogs work together to maintain a high standard of fitness and training.
Both handlers and their dogs are tested regularly to ensure they are ready to deploy at any time.
Handlers are responsible for the care and welfare of their dog on a daily basis, including feeding their dog and cleaning their kennels.
Over time, they form a strong bond.
A number of checks are undertaken to ensure the dog can enjoy a happy and healthy retirement after their loyal service.
Where possible, the dogs will retire to their handler’s home at the end of their service.