Retirement for America's four-legged military veterans is looking a lot brighter.
Nearly two months after a Navy SEAL dog joined the raid that ended in the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, the list of those wanting to adopt military dogs is getting longer.
At a dog park in Encinitas, 10News learned 12-year-old Chyba was an Army patrol dog who once served at a prison in Iraq. Now, the German Shepherd spends her days with Jim Silveira, who cares for Chyba when her owner -- the wife of oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens -- is away.
Silveira heads the Rancho Coastal Humane Society in Encinitas, and Chyba is believed to be the only adopted retired military dog in the San Diego area.
"They served our country, and in my eyes it's time to serve them," said Silveira.
The sentiment is becoming a popular one. Military dogs, who do everything from jumping out of planes to sniffing out bombs, have attracted plenty of attention since a German Shepherd named Cairo joined the raid that took out bin Laden.
About 300 military dogs are put up for adoption every year, and since bin Laden's death, some 700 applications have been submitted.
There are reminders of Chyba's former life, beginning with her obedience training. Silveira also recalled a trip they took to Lindbergh Field.
"She was walking along, nose-touching every bag we walked by," he said.
Still, Chyba's transition to a home including children has been easy, though it's sometimes not as easy for other dogs.
The government started allowing such adoptions in 2000, and before that, the dogs were often euthanized.
The military still classifies the dogs as inventory, which means the military won't spend the money to transport them to the U.S., leaving the high cost to a new owner.
All of that would change if supporters succeed in passing a bill in Congress this year that would categorize the dogs as canine veterans.
"I think it's time to recognize the service these animals have given," said Silveira.
Learn how you can adopt a military working dog by visiting: www.militaryworkingdogadoptions.com
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