Every dog has his time and for some dogs in the KDE unit of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) these days are over. They are now ready for a less hectic pace.
Friday last week, the PDEA K-9 unit offered 13 of its dogs for adoption, some of which retired after eight years of service, while others failed to cut as drug-detection dogs.
"These dogs have greatly helped PDEA to do its job and are praised as heroes after serving in the front line of the government's fight against illicit drugs," said PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino in a statement.
"PDEA has made them available for adoption because we want them to live in a stress-free environment with a loving family that can give them the care and attention they deserve," he added.
Three hours in "Adoption Day" that started at 8 am, about 60 walk-in applicants from various provinces in Luzon came to the PDEA K-9 office in Sitio Lambakin, Barangay Sto. Cristo in the city of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, to try their luck.
Hundreds of others, including foreigners, had already made telephone inquiries when PDEA posted the announcement on the Facebook page earlier this month
] Open to the public
For the first time the adoption opened to the public and a new procedure was introduced. Previously, retired K-9s were simply kept in PDEA & # 39; s care until they reached old age.
Ready for a new life and new masters are nine Belgian Malinois-12-year-olds Jose and Silky, 10-year-old Snoopy, 5-year-olds Kery, Luz, Napoles and Tina, and 4-year-olds Sky and Yomi.
Also for adoption are two 5-year-old Jack Russel terriers King and Mamoth (who are offered as a pair); 5-year-old German Shepherd Ivy, and 5-year-old Icon, a mixed breed of Labrador golden retriever.
Another eight dogs are on the adoption list, but they could not be released immediately because they would need a bit of social "Rehabilitation," said PDEA K-9 Unit chief Bernardo Velasquez.
PDEA will stay behind with at least 50 dogs for its K-9 unit, which is used for field operations, high security events and at airport or seaport checkpoints
The agency plans in the last quarter of the year. 100 extra dogs to buy, added Velasquez.
Most K9s – even those who had not passed the six-month drug discovery training – were purchased by PDEA for around P425,000 each, while a few were donated.
Velasquez said that given the huge government investment in acquiring the dogs, the agency had established a priority order for potential adopters, with the original donors getting the first snacks. Next in line are the current handlers of the dogs in the K9 unit, employees of other PDEA units and then the general public
Despite being the last on the priority list, walk-ins have a great chance to get the dogs they like "as long as they qualify," said PDEA spokesperson Derrick Carreon.
The agency is looking for adopters with the welfare of the dogs in mind, Velasquez said. Breeders do not have to apply: according to the standard working procedure, the dogs are neutered before they are transferred to their new family, the PDEA official emphasized.
The financial capacity of the upcoming adopter to keep the dog in a healthy, humane environment is also considered. "Can you connect (with the animal)? Will it be able to socialize? Will it have a stress-free environment?" He added.
The applicants who came to Adoption Day had to undergo a screening process in which they were interviewed by the veterinarians and caregivers of the dogs, and who had an initial "socialization" time with their preferred dogs. Those who would qualify will receive a phone call from PDEA within a week.
The 13 dogs for adoption were considered "good" enough for the walk-in applicants. The others would need special care when they find new homes, including Icon that fractured during training.
The elderly will need medication and regular visits to the vet because they have a history of heartworm, osteoarthritis, skin disorders, ear infections, liver problems or incontinence.
Eight dogs still need some "temperament modification", such as the Belgian Malinois named ARMM, who had to be sent to the autonomous region in Mindanao, but turned out to be "defensive" in the presence of strangers and large crowds.
"The person who adopts him needs some expertise in dealing with dogs and has to give him the utmost attention", said Ryan Plaza, ARMM handler, adding that PDEA would still monitor the condition of the animals in their new homes from time to time.
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