Page 16 - Chiron Calling Spring 2021
P. 16

                Rehoming a Military Working Dog
 by Lynne Parker-Kiamil
Let me start by giving you a bit of background to how Senna (MWD) came to be living with
In 2015, in fact our 25th wedding
anniversary we said goodbye to our two Labrador X Shepherd dogs, an incredibly sad day. Being so heart broken, we decide that we would not have any more dogs.
We thought okay, now our sons had left home, and whilst the dogs have left a massive void in our lives, we planned to start getting out and about for weekends and holidays without having to book kennels and vet appointments. All before we had ever heard of COVID-19.
We were invited to the RAVC family day 2017 what a lovely day. We chatted to the serving soldiers about their role and that of the animals.
We were shown photos of the dogs that were looking for retirement homes.
2017 we got a phone call from our son (serving in the RAVC), “Dad there is a dog she is 10yrs old and retiring from service, she isn’t coping very well in kennels”. Talk about pull at the heart strings, always a sucker for a sad story, me not hubby.
Ok, hubby wanted to know was
she still fit, any health issues, as at this stage my husband was still a very keen runner, and regularly ran the Para 10 (10 mile run with a 25kg pack) I feel that if that this would have been the turning point, if she would not be able to train with him.
It was agreed we would take her on a trial bases of three months.
Her name was Senna and she had served her Country, having been in Afghan and other war-torn countries.
The paperwork was sent out for us to complete. Questions asked, have we a fenced garden? Any other pets? Who would be home most of the day etc.
A date was agreed December 31st, 2017. This would give us all time at home to get to know each other, over the Christmas/New Year break.
I had the day planned, we would wait the arrival of Senna go straight for a walk, as the journey would be approximately 2 hours and I thought she would need to stretch her legs and go for a wee.
Up pulled a white transit van with a rather large dog sitting in the front seat, my husband commented that can’t be Senna, it’s too big!! Sorry let me say Senna is a Belgium Malinois.
Little did we know. So, Gary the
soldier bringing Senna to us got out of the vehicle and introduced us to Senna who to be honest wasn’t that interested in us, at this time.
We lived at the back of a country park, an old disused railway track (linear country park) so off we go, poor Senna’s head was all over the place as it was an unusually warm day and the Christmas holidays, the track was really busy, with families out walking, children on scooters and lots of other dogs of all shapes and sizes.
Gary never stopped talking to Senna reassuring her and giving small treats as a way of praise, he told us that she could not come off the lead whilst she is on trial with us and that she would need lot of help in her transition. I’ll be honest with you, at this stage I didn’t think that I was cut out for this, and said as much to my husband, but we are not quitters.
We returned home, where lunch was prepared, and Senna was allowed to get used to her new surroundings, whilst we ate and drunk our tea, Senna had found cooked ribs in the kitchen and helped herself, talk about stealth mode, we never heard a thing.
We completed the final forms and before Gary left us, his parting words were, oh by the way, Senna does not like getting in the back of any vehicle.
Having heard Senna’s background, we were very wary of her. We had never looked after or homed a working dog, and she had never lived
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