This Real Life Call Of Duty Dog Is One Day From Retirement...

When Riley, better known as the 'Call of Duty dog', was first shown at the Xbox One reveal the jokes flooded in. Mostly surrounding the ludicrously low odds Riley had of surviving the game! I think most of us expect that, in an attempt to tug at the heartstrings of players, Riley will possibly be heading to the great kennel in the sky.

But here's what I didn't know: in the Royal Australian Air Force all service dogs, upon their retirement, are put down. After lifetime of training and protecting members of the RAAF the service dogs are deemed too aggressive for everyday life. Essentially, real life Rileys are being put down every day.

That's set to change. The RAAF has announced that service dogs will now be allowed to go through a series of tests upon their retirement. If it is demonstrated that the dogs can deal with stressful situations without getting violent, they are now allowed to go back and live out the rest of their lives with their former handlers.

The ABC has the full story and it's a tear jerker. It centres around Turk, an eight year old who will be the first to take advantage of the new rule. Godspeed Turk you beautiful bastard. Godspeed.

You can read the story here or click to watch the video report.


    Probably in response to that one story of a soldier willing to take his dog home after retirement and they just killed him.

    Instances of ADF handlers wanting to adopt their dogs have happened a lot more than once, unfortunately, both government and opposition have been considerably unsympathetic to this. Partly on the grounds that, the dogs may never be completely rehabilitated and may cause injury or death at some point after release to the handler (even though these dogs are vetted prior to any kind of release from ADF service) potentially exposing the Commonwealth to legal action. Yeah, I know how that sounds, and you're right. Partly also, because both sides of politics haven't been keen on creating sanctuaries for MWDs post service, even with considerable support from associated ADF community organisations. Despite the Coalition loving to talk about their support for ADF personnel and defence associations, their support is everything up to, but not including any actual support (case in point, look at how they're continuing to cut support to DVA and other depts). And given the cost cutting of the ALP governments over the last few years, these initiatives were given tacit support by the ALP, but were often relegated to a non-priority status and never progressed past the warm response. I've spoken with the handlers where I work, and It can be a pretty horrible situation for all involved.

    Last edited 28/10/13 11:57 am

    :'[ too sad about the doge being put down.

    what the mother F#@$ RAAF?!?! that's so f'd up, about time for this rule changed then, holy moly

    I'm a bit torn here. I hate the idea of them being put down but at the same time they make a good argument against putting them into residential situations. These aren't just your average mean looking dogs that wouldn't hurt a fly.
    Provided the tests are sufficient I'm happy they're going to be testing them to allow some of them to retire properly, and I'm not against training them for military work, but part of me still thinks if you're going to train a dog to be a weapon you've got to accept that like any good weapon it should be destroyed when it's no longer needed.

    I know these dogs are aggressive, but they are also very well trained, and if I can keep my German Shepards who are also quite aggressive away from strangers, I'm sure former soldiers can as well. The US has allowed war dogs to find new homes later in life - there was a period during the Vietnam war when they too put them down due to them being classified as "war material" after the conflict, but the soldiers petitioned for this to change and it did. And I'm not hearing of a rash of army-dogs biting children in the US.

    I'm glad they changed the rules. Finally.

      Your german shepard who's aggressive doesnt equal a trained RAAF dog. I totally agree with you, but they aren't exactly on the same level :P

        Yeah but his dogs are elite navy seal snipers with 300 confrimed kills!

      It's not so much that they're aggressive as some are incredibly difficult to deprogram. Understand, they start their training as pups (or at least, not far from that). So to many of these dogs, this is all they know. They're isolated from socialising with other dogs or people, the vast majority of their contact is with handlers only. Some dogs are receptive to thorough change in their lifestyles, others, unfortunately, simply don't cope. Don't get me wrong, that the ADF's policy has been to terminated them churns my stomach-- I'm a dog owner and I love my mutt-- but too little thought has been put into what to do with these working dogs after, and too much of the process that has taken place has been the detached, budgetary and legal focus rather than any focus on the animal's welfare.

    Those poor dogs. I get that some of them would be too aggressive to become family pets, but not all of them would be. And I'm sure the former handlers would be able to take care of those who pass the test. Who better to look after them and keep them under control than the very people who have handled them and looked after them for so long? It's good these changes have been made, but I can't help but feel sorry for the poor dogs who "retired" before said changes were made.

    In many cases, the handlers are the only ones the dogs will respond to. And in some very specific cases, MoD has relinquished the dog to their handler to avoid trauma to both.

    For some reason I always thought it was like police dogs where they usually retired to live with the handler. Sad as it is, I do understand that military dogs may be potentially dangerous and I hope that with proper screening more of the dogs are saved and also that nobody is hurt by them.

    It's funny how we talk about the dogs being put down because they are too dangerous to go back into civilian world yet we never really discuss how the soldiers themselves (who are trained killers) get back into civilian life. It's horrible that they kill the dogs and this new direction can only be an improvement though.

    This article honestly shocked me when I first read it, how could they possibility treat these animals like this!
    I am hoping to campaign towards educating the general public surrounding retired military dogs and I hope that you could help me too!

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