Of the roughly 4,900 canines the United States utilized in Vietnam, approximately 2,700 were given to the South Vietnamese Army, with a staggering 1,600, euthanized. Today, military working dogs (MWDs) are no longer left in war zones like they were in Vietnam, however until 2000, it was legal and common practice to euthanize them at the end of their useful service. That mindset has changed dramatically, thanks to one military war dog named Robby, whose own fate changed the future for MWDs. Robby’s Law, signed in November 2000 by President Clinton, requires that all MWDs suitable for adoption be available for placement after their service, however, there is no public funding for this process.
At that time, Lost Mountain Group’s (LMG) Founder Andrew Keahon was a K-9 Handler with the DC Metro Police Department where he served as the K-9 and bomb squad commander. Throughout his law enforcement career, he had been working with canine war heroes across the country and expanded further when he accepted a position with a DOD contractor, training canines for military and paramilitary personnel all over the world. Andy always wanted to do more to help the canine’s he worked so closely with. In 2016, his dream became a reality when Lost Mountain Group was founded — his way of helping retired MWD companions and pairing them with US veterans in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Instead of a life of abandonment or euthanasia, the MWD canines that we rescue, are given a new purpose and a whole new life.
In 2016, LMG placed its first canine, a retired Labrador police bomb dog named Gypsy as a companion for a top-tier MWD Handler who was a wounded combat veteran. His spouse would send updates of how Gypsy changed the quality of life for this veteran. Since that time, LMG has paired over 20 canine companions with veterans, and with each pairing, we save two lives; we rescue the dog, and the dog rescues the veteran.
In 2018, after a career spanning over 25 years, Keahon retired from DC MPD. Since then, he has continued following his passion working with MWD K-9′s and has served as the program manager for a top-tier military K-9 organization. Often, LMG K-9 rescues accompany him to work where he spends several months rehabilitating each canine from their previous “working dog” mentality as he introduces them to what life outside of a kennel looks like. He socializes them in “real world” environments as he introduces them to civilians, other animals, children, social settings and even something as basic as affection. Prior to canine placements with veterans, LMG confirms they are rehabilitated, and socialized prior to being placed into their forever veterans homes.
Lost Mountain Group is one of the only organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region rescuing retired MWD’s and placing them with veterans — but doing it for free. In Carroll County, we have a collaboration with Carroll County’s Veterans Independence Project and look forward to serving veterans here, and beyond.
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