Episode 187 Bob Bryant Creating a New Future for Retired Working Dogs

This transcript is from episode 187 with guest Bob Bryant.

Scott DeLuzio   00:00:00    Thanks for tuning into the Drive On Podcast where we’re focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty guard, reserve, or family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show. Welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today, my guest is Bob Bryant. Bob is the chief technology officer for Mission K9 Rescue, an animal welfare group that’s dedicated to saving the lives of retired American working dogs. He’s here today to talk a little bit about the organization and what we can do to help support the organization and how these dogs can help us in our return back to civilian life. Welcome to the show, Bob, I’m glad to have you on,  

Bob Bryant   00:00:52    Thank you, Scott. Appreciate being included in the podcast today. It’s always a pleasure.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:00:57     When I first found out about Mission Canine, it really opened up my eyes to the world that these dogs, these working dogs have to experience after their services end, when they’ve kind of exceeded their useful life in their occupation, whatever it happens to be.  I never really thought much of what happens to these dogs after the fact, but that’s really what Mission Canine is all about. Would you be able to tell us first off how you got involved with Mission Canine, but also, what mission canine is all about?  

Bob Bryant   00:01:34    All right. My involvement with the working dog world came totally by accident. I had no intention of working with dogs. If you’d have told me 10 years ago, I’d be bringing home dogs from around the world. I would’ve told you were patently insane. However, life has a way of doing things.  I work in the business of credit card processing. I provide merchant services primarily for e-commerce, companies, and as a service, and a way to give back to nonprofits, I occasionally would speak to organizations that did an interesting work and say, Hey, promote an offer to your followers. If they accept it, I’ll pay you 50% of the residual income from the accounts for life. Well, this was attractive to them because it was so money-saving for their fans and it would provide them income and they agreed to do it.  

Bob Bryant  00:02:29    We’re the predecessors of what is now the mission. Can I rescue another organization that helped bring military working dogs home when they retired? However, the organization did not understand that it was necessary to spend money to get money just unfortunately capitalism works in the nonprofit world as well. You have to do some advertising to people outside of your realm to gain new donors. She was like, no, not gonna spend any money. As a result, the organization failed. My current partners, Kristen Maer and Louis Kaner were involved in this and they reached out and they said, we don’t wanna stop this work. We love what we’re doing. Will you help us build a new organization? I’d been watching what was happening with them for almost a year when this happened.  I didn’t even have to think about it. I said, yes. Here we are 10 years, almost 10 years later. Now, it’s been quite a ride. We’ve gained an incredible amount of good, good supporters and can always use more. I’ll let you direct me a little further about what I probably didn’t just tell you  

Bob Bryant  00:03:47    I get the one-track mind sometimes.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:03:49    Yeah, no worries there. I wanna talk a little bit more about what the role of Mission Canine is and what they’re doing with these working dogs and how they’re helping them  in their futures after their services, if you wanna call it that, all  

Bob Bryant   00:04:09    Right, I’ll give it to you neatly wrapped and packaged. There are several types of working dogs that mission canine and rescue helps.  Primarily we deal with military-owned working dogs, which are called M WDS or military working dogs, or dogs that are owned by private contractors, known as C WDS or contract working dogs. These dogs are trained the same. They fed the same foods. They do the same jobs. One’s privately owned, one’s military-owned. We also deal with the TSA. We take in some of their airport dogs when they retire. We deal with law enforcement with canines here in the United States, and also in Canada. Zone of the most interesting dogs that we have worked with, well, our fruit detection, dogs. These are citrus dogs that run in orchards and they detect citrus disease.  It’s kind of interesting.  

Bob Bryant    00:05:11     One citrus tree that’s diseased can kill an entire orchard. These dogs more than pay for themselves.  Other dogs we work with aid in mining places like north Africa, to keep kids from getting their limbs blown off by minds that people with not good sense left. they’re also cluster munitions. Those are the dogs that we work with primarily, Belgian Malanois, German shepherds, some Labrador retrievers, some German Shorthaired.  Also a few Springer Spaniels.  Those dogs are primarily used by the TSA. The Springers in the German Shorthaired corners because they’re not as scary.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:05:57    I could see how kids going through an airport or certain people going through the airport would be a little turned off by that. When You have that quote-unquote scary looking dog coming up to you and saying you luggage and stuff. 

Bob Bryant    00:06:12    You get checked out by jaws. 

Bob Bryant    00:06:16    Generally a military working dog can have up to five handlers in the dog’s career when it’s time to retire,  which retirement in working dogs, unfortunately,  is not determined by age. It’s determined by their ability to do their job. Once performance starts to decline, then the dog is considered X, and the dog is dispositioned as retired at that point.  That could be at seven years old. I’ve seen a dog as old as 13 years old that was retired from the military that lived less than six months afterwards. What a retirement I wish for.  In other words, I’m wishing in one hand and not doing anything in the other,  I wish they would retire them at a set age like eight years old, where they’d have some time to just be pets. When a dog is retired, normally the handler that is with the dog at that time has the option to adopt their dog.  

Bob Bryant  00:07:14    Many people ask us, well, wouldn’t someone that’s a service member just automatically take their dog. The answer is no. The reason is because they may still be going to do another deployment. they could have a small child at home and perhaps they have a bike trained, patrol dog that’s toy crazy. That would be aggressive in that situation. Then the dog is offered to the first handler, the second handler, and so on. In most cases, whoever gets the pup, normally the other handlers that were able to handle him or her would have the opportunity if they ever wanted to, to stop by and visit, give the dog a scratch on the ear.  It’s a pretty good contract for working dogs.  Generally don’t have designated handlers. When they come back, they don’t always have a reunion and we take care of those dogs and we find them the best-adopted home possible or possible to support their particular needs.  

Scott DeLuzio     00:08:15    Before I started doing some digging in Mission Canine and what you guys actually do, I sort of just assume that there was some sort of plan in place for these dogs after their, quote-unquote retirement after their time and services up, where there was a place that they go to. They know where they go, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, right?  

Bob Bryant    00:08:42    S military dog is never going to be dumped by the government. A military dog is never going to be euthanized anymore by the government unless that dog has a terminal illness and is in pain. And in that case, I wish people had that option. That’s a total other story. Contract working dogs don’t always have that luxury we’ve seen in contract working dogs dumped in kennels overseas. There were 23 dogs that we rescued out of a kennel in Chester, Virginia. I think it was back in 2016. These were army dogs that were called Ted dogs. That’s tactical explosive detection dogs. They were quickly trained by a contract company in North Carolina and then deployed to aid in some of the I E D removal when all the troop withdrawal was going on from Iraq, back in the day and these dogs were brought there and basically just left 33 dogs.  

Bob Bryant   00:09:57    I think we paid the guy nearly $23,000 in a kennel bill, just to get the dogs out. A lot of the contract dogs come back unhealthy. We got a dog back one time that should have weighed 70 pounds. He weighed 35 and this dog was the star, mine detection in Afghanistan. His handler was killed when his handler was killed, the dog was stuffed away and forgotten. Although the dog had some mental issues for life we got him looking at his prime again, and was really happy to see him looking good after such a horrible experience.  

Scott DeLuzio     00:10:37    Given the high-intensity jobs that some of these dogs have just like they’re human handlers and the people who go to some of these combat environments, or even on patrol as a police officer or, or something like that these dogs probably like you mentioned with this last dog, probably have some anxiety that comes up through their time and their service. What kind of rehabilitation or training and things like that is necessary to help them go from that working dog environment to becoming a pet?  

Bob Bryant   00:11:18    Okay, good question.  First of all, in regard to how long rehab takes, it just depends on the dog. We get dogs that have PTSD of varying forms, especially explosive detection, dogs, and other dogs that have been around gunfire, fireworks, normally send them reeling., we don’t have too many that have bite issues, related to PTSD. Mostly it’s just fearfulness or its resource guarding and what we do, when, when a dog comes into our facility, I’ll just kind of give you from A, to Z. The dog is initially left to decompress, obviously gets attention, stimulation and what have you, but we let the dog basically chill out for a couple of days, especially if it’s come from overseas because it’s not as hard a day vice versa. We want ’em to calm down a little bit after that we will do a veterinary assessment or we’ll determine what they need.  

Bob Bryant    00:12:22    What didn’t the military or the contract company tell us when they surrendered the dog to our care. We will make appointments to get the dog vetted, and this is whatever the dog needs. We have one dog that came in from Turkey. He needs he has a bilateral, perineal hernia. You talk about pain that’s on either side and $5,000, but the dog deserves the surgery. Some dogs with PTSD, with resource guarding issues, or that can be unpredictable. When I use the term go up leash, I mean that they will run up leash to bite the person that’s holding it. Normally we don’t run into situations like that. Should we run into a dog, that dog would only be adoptable to someone with experience with working dogs. With canines that have had that kind of training or large breed dogs in general, that can handle a dog that can be a little bit unpredictable.  

Bob Bryant  00:13:31    With the base we have, we generally can find a loving home. The biggest problem that we have with people adopting our dogs is these dogs. For the most part, I would say that 50% of ’em are friendly to other dogs. Half of ’em are not maybe 15% like cats. The rest of ’em would like cats for lunch. We have a lot of loving adopters that want to adopt another dog in their family, but maybe they’ve got four dogs already. Most of the time that doesn’t work. So we’re looking for people, not only that can afford the cost of care, cause the senior dogs, obviously, it costs more money to provide them the veterinary care they need. But,  we want someone that isn’t full with animals that can afford to dedicate the time that a working dog requires. Most people have no idea how much energy these dogs had.  

Bob Bryant    00:14:24    You’re right in the first place where you said that most people don’t know that these dogs have no golden parachute, no landing in place when they’re released from the military, they’re going to a handler most of the time. We pull contract dogs outta shelters all the time because people get ’em and then they realize that this dog is gonna eat my house. If I don’t take it for a walk twice a day, they take it to the shelter and dump it.  

Scott DeLuzio     00:14:53    Wow.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:14:53    That’s unfortunate too because these dogs are highly trained. They’ve experienced some things that a lot of their new owners probably never even would dream to experience in their lives. As far as some of the environments that they’ve worked in, the high stress. But I also think about the dogs who are trained for certain jobs that become their purpose. A lot of times they really enjoy doing that good job of dogs, like to please their handlers, their owners, whoever. When they do a good job, that’s like a fulfilling thing probably to them where they feel like I’ve done this the right way. When they come out of service, now they’re not doing that job. I wonder if it’s one of those things where it’s like, okay, now what’s that next purpose?  

Bob Bryant   00:15:56    Okay. Let me address that for a minute. First of all, we encourage people to keep their skills up, to keep them sharp. One of my working dogs, Oreo, a big black lab, passed on a few years ago. Oreo was a bomb dog. I’d hide bullets, I’d hide firecrackers, anything to give stimulation. He learned to smell out lacrosse balls, little rubber balls that they kids play with. He found over 170 buried balls out here. That was his delight. Let me take the park, let’s hunt. Now I have a retired police canine from a small city in Canada, who retired early, due to a medical issue that he had with a leg tendon that doesn’t affect anything at all. Now he is a drug dog and he’s a bike-trained drug dog.  

Bob Bryant 00:16:50     I took him because I was able to handle that level of train and him not a risk to the public or a risk to himself. To this day, he’s unhappy if he’s not in the car. When I go somewhere, because he’s a cop, he expects to be in the car, even though he sleeps the entire time. Most dogs have their head and their tongue hanging out the window. Not this guy minute he’s in the car. He’s down with the account until you need it. And then he’s up. He searches every place I go for drugs and he finds them,  

Scott DeLuzio   00:17:22    Oh wow.  

Bob Bryant    00:17:23    He finds weed and parks all the time. For me, vapes, you name it. I laughed. He found a crack pipe taped under a drawer in a hotel room up in Colorado one time. The management and I had an interesting conversation about what seems to be a little partying and cleanup time.  

Scott DeLuzio     00:17:42    Oh wow. 

Bob Bryant  00:17:43    We encourage people for instance. One of our dogs, a military working dog named Igor who recently passed away and his handler’s former handler taught him how to find shed antlers.  That’s big business up where they were in Idaho. He would find elk antler sheds. He continued to work.  We will not though allow a dog to continue to be worked in any capacity for,  any type of commercial or private, interest where the dog is expected to perform also working dogs of the nature that we take in these contract dogs and military dogs. They are not suitable for service or emotional support. Animals are not trained for it and cannot be certified as such.  

Bob Bryant   00:18:38    If you need a dog and a lot of people do need a dog for PTSD, get a young dog that’s trained for that. A lot of these dogs have PTSD and they’re gonna make it worse.  

Scott DeLuzio  00:18:51     I was gonna ask about that too,  if that was like maybe, a second act for them if they could do something like that, but that doesn’t seem like probably it probably wouldn’t even make sense to entertain that idea because some of the things that these dogs have experienced and you’re right. I think starting with a younger dog who’s gonna be fresh and doesn’t have that baggage coming along with them. It’s probably the better way to go with that.  

Bob Bryant    00:19:19    There’s nothing that says that that dog cannot wear a vest, proclaiming his or her service and where he or she worked and have people think how cool is that dog can pet your, but don’t try to call an emotional support dog and get on the plane with it just don’t.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:19:36    Especially for those dogs that maybe don’t get along, very well with, with other animals and things like that. You never know if someone else on the plane is gonna have another animal, with them that their own emotional support animal or something like that, that probably just wouldn’t work out too well.  

Bob Bryant  00:19:53    No, it probably wouldn’t end well. We’ll hope that doesn’t happen. Now, I tell you what, on our dogs, we’ve been Southwest airlines have been very gracious in giving our dogs a bulkhead seat on flights home. There we go. But we would never take a dog on a plane that was a risk to the public. It’s just, right. That’s not something we do.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:20:16    You mentioned before a bit about the process of getting these dogs into their new homes in terms of, if you have a former handler who’s willing to take them, then there’s that situation’s kind of taken care of. But, in a situation where maybe the handler has passed away or can’t take the dog for one reason or another. Like they have small kids at home or, or something.  What happens then. Who’s eligible? Who do you look for? What the ideal candidate is in terms of the type of person that would be able to take on one of these dogs.  

Bob Bryant  00:20:54    Okay. First of all, the most important criteria is the adopter must be able to afford the cost of needed veterinary care.  If you can’t afford to take the dog to the vet, don’t live to adopt too many dogs. If you’re not willing to spend the money to provide the dog a good diet, please don’t adopt, don’t go buy Old Roy at Kmart and think we’re gonna be okay with it. It’s not gonna happen. Don’t have a house full of pets. Be willing and excited about the opportunity to spend time with the working dog that you want to adopt, to stimulate the dog you want to adopt, and provide the dog with activities with lots of walks with outdoor time. Don’t adopt the dog and leave it in the backyard.  

Bob Bryant   00:21:50     That’s not acceptable. We expect these dogs to be and a lot of people will make fun and say, the dog is not your fur child.  You get people that consider ’em children. I don’t consider ’em children. I do consider the family and I don’t make a family. I don’t know a couple of my family members. I might make it stay in the backyard, but the dog will stay inside for sure. That’s basically what we’re looking for. Also, we want someone that has the room now. We always get it. Well, I have an apartment. Am I disqualified from adopting the dog? No, you, you’re not disqualified, but you better have plenty of outside time to go do that dog somewhere. That may or may not involve the dog park depending on the nature of the dog.  We don’t want somebody that works 10, 12 hours a day, or the dog is gonna be home alone eight hours a day. probably I would say our average adopter is around 45 to 50 years old.  Married with maybe one other dog, two other dogs, max, some of ’em have cats, some don’t. Does that answer your question?  

Scott DeLuzio    00:23:02    You mentioned before, too, about continuing to work with the dog, like you mentioned finding the bullets and the fireworks and even some drugs and things like that. I know the handlers when they’re actually working with them in their service. They have some specialized training to teach the people, the handlers, how to handle the dog so that they can effectively do that type of job. Is there any sort of training like that? Maybe not quite as intense as the actual handlers are, but is there anything like that for the people who end up adopting these dogs so that they can continue to help them, work through that?  

Bob Bryant   00:23:47    We will give them whatever language the dog was trained in, and we will provide them with commands in that language. Most dogs understand a lot more than you think they do.  if I tell my canine to lay down, he’ll lay down, however, he was also trained in French and German.  I say cuche, he lays down. You need to know the dog’s signals. You can tell when a dog is alerting on something by the way the dog will act. If someone is really interested in doing scent with their dog when they adopt them, it’s not necessary that the dog continued to get the training and whatever he or she was trained in. It’s important that he or she be stimulated in whatever way and played so the dog has an enjoyable time. For instance, teach the dog to find tennis balls. My Mike canine lights up, when he goes in the back of tennis courts in the woods. He comes out with two or three every time. I will unveil his ball fines for the last two years soon. I expect there to be close to 400.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:24:58    Oh, wow. Something else. Yeah, that is pretty amazing.   

Bob Bryant    00:25:03    If anything they want to know about we’ll help them know. For instance, if I want him to come to me, do this, he comes, if I want him to come by my side, push down, he does, he comes right there. Or I use the word fuss, same thing, FSS German word.  

Scott DeLuzio     00:25:19    That there’s that type of training available for these new owners that adopt them because it may be one of those things where they don’t really know some of these commands or, or some of the things that the dog might be capable of even doing.

Bob Bryant   00:25:44    Most don’t unless they’ve adopted some, some of’em. We have adopters that have now adopted three dogs from us because unfortunately, we don’t have a long time with the dogs we adopt. I was lucky to get five years with one, four years with another six months with one. You never know, but you just make the best of it.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:26:03    These dogs,  they’re not necessarily children, but they’re part of the family. So you do have that connection. You do want to continue that maybe not right away, like the next day, go out and get another one of these dogs. You do want to continue that in your life and have that in your family. I know our family a couple years ago lost our dog that we had for almost 12 years. The dog was around for the entirety of my children’s lives up until that point. And so it was a big loss to our family. Recently we got new dogs in the house and now it feels like the family is back again like it feels like a full house again.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:26:53    With this continued supply of dogs that are coming in from the contractors in the military and the police departments, there’s definitely going to be that need.  I’d love to help people understand how they can get involved with Mission Canine and everything that you guys are doing so that they can help support you in whatever way that they can if they’re interested. What are you looking for in terms of volunteers or donations? I know it’s gotta be expensive to rescue some of these dogs from overseas.  But even locally, that’s probably pretty expensive as well.  

Bob Bryant   00:27:39    I’ll touch on finances at the end of this, but let’s talk about volunteering opportunities. As far as hands-on work with dogs, there’s not a lot of opportunity unless you have experience with large breeds and dominant dogs, just because the potential with a new dog to get bitten is there. I’d say it’s a 25% chance because you don’t know the dog, the dog doesn’t know you. If you’ve only worked with little fufu, then you could be in trouble. However, we have work days at our ranch. Our ranch is in Magnolia, Texas, which is just north of Houston. We have about 60 dogs in our care now. Too many and we need some more good adopters. Even though we’ve got over a thousand applications, we need more qualified adopters to come and take these dogs and work with them to where we can intake more.  

Bob Bryant    00:28:34     We have work days at the ranch from time to time. Soon we’re gonna be putting in some noise-deadening shrubs we’ve already put in a large fence. Even though we’re in an unincorporated area with no restrictions, we don’t want to be that neighbor that has all these barking dogs. The only time our dogs really bark is when either somebody new comes on the property or it’s feeding time. Then it’s a sound from all of them.  Volunteers can do that. We have volunteers that we call chiefs. Thank you officers that call some of our donors when they give and say how much they appreciate the fact that they’ve given and that we are thankful for them. I have other people that help do Facebook fundraisers for us that like to receive our little coins, kinda like a challenge coin.  

Bob Bryant   00:29:33    If you’re in the service, you don’t understand what that is. Anybody that does a Facebook fundraiser for us even if it raises five bucks. We send a challenge coin. Obviously, nature is gonna be related to finance. I’m gonna start talking about the almighty or maybe not so mighty dollar. Now that inflation has hit us at 8%. We have cryptocurrency too. I’m really not kidding. We do. People give it to us. We do close to 2 million a year in donation income. However, that supports the work we do currently with more funding we could expand and do twice the work we need to. That’s what we need to do. my job in this organization, if I have a job, quote, unquote, I’m a co-founder under, but I’m the guy that does all the development.  

Bob Bryant   00:30:24    I’m the one that’s responsible for getting kennel techs paid for ranch managers, paid for transports paid for making sure that I can raise the $27,000 needed to get some mind detection dogs out of Bosnia. The nature of a nonprofit is to have its hand stuck out, but there’s a big buyer where with that stuck out hand in a nonprofit, here’s how you tell the good ones from the bad ones. This is for you. And this is for your viewers as well.  A charity navigator is a charitynavigator.com is a good place. Check out nonprofits. Now I will say that it takes several years before you’re even listed on charity navigator. And we just got listed last year and we have a very favorable rating there. There are some other charity rating sites, which are basically worthless because anybody that answers the questions right, can get a stellar, A rating, and there’s something inherently wrong with that.  

Bob Bryant   00:31:26    But what you should ask anybody before you give them money is if I give you a dollar, how much does, how much gets to the work? Our answer is 88 cents. I use 12 cents out of your dollar to advertise and gain another 88 cents for the work. So we try to be frugal with money. By the way, this is a female-run organization. My partners kill it. They work 80 hours plus a week. They sleep in their cars. Nobody sits on leather chairs, nobody flies first class. I don’t take a salary. I have my own company and I have the luxury of time to do this, and it’s my pleasure to do so. We do have some basically decently paid people at our ranch to take care of our dogs and for donors out there that expect everybody to do everything for a free nonprofit doesn’t mean don’t get paid. There has to be a, there has to be income for a nonprofit, or we would not be able to do the amount of work that we’ve done without any payment. Maybe we could have brought 300 dogs home. In 10 years, we brought home over 1200, we’ve reunited 540 plus with former handlers, we walk the walk and we do what’s right for the donors. We try to be very transparent. I’m gonna shut up now.  

Scott DeLuzio     00:32:47    No, that is good.  I’m glad that you mentioned all of that, especially, charity navigator, because, oftentimes, we hear about these nonprofits that are doing certain things with the military community. It may sound like they have a great mission. It may sound like they are doing great things, but at the end of the day, how do you really know where that dollar is going? what percentage of it is actually going to the purpose of the organization versus things like salaries and advertising.

Bob Bryant  00:33:22    Ask them too for their tax form. If you wanna donate to a nonprofit and you wanna see what they’re doing, ask them for a copy of their form 990. And if they say what’s a form 990, or they give you a pushback, run. That is the 990 is what the RF is reported to be with. It’s how you tell the sheep from the goats.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:33:44    Those forms layout everything. As a former accountant, I used to prepare those for certain profits. So I know exactly what you’re talking about, but those forms layout all of the expenses that the organization has, and it shows you where money is going to. That way you can tell exactly what it’s going to and how it’s being used in the organization. travel expenses, things like that. Like you’re talking about no one flies first class, well, you can probably tell pretty easily how many people are flying or, or going first class or all that kind of stuff. If that’s where your money is going, then maybe that’s not the organization that you wanna be supporting.

Bob Bryant    00:34:29    I’ll check on my transport crew when I see a $50 bill from a restaurant and say, how many, where was it? What was it for? I’m expecting to eat peanut butter sandwiches, but don’t go to the state,  

Scott DeLuzio    00:34:42    You’re not going on these trips for luxury purposes. It’s not a vacation. If you’re going out there too, to support the mission. I think that’s important. As far as people, so you mentioned you’re, you’re in Texas, in the Houston area. What about people who are, in other parts of the country, how do the dogs get to those, those other people who might be able to take, take these dogs?  What does that handoff look like?  

Bob Bryant    00:35:13     In most cases, almost all of our adopters want to come and visit the ranch. We’ve had people drive from Seattle to get a dog. We have a couple that drives from Utah frequently and they’ll get a dog.  If we need to, we will transport a dog there. Our transporters will make sure that the dog is a fit. We’re not gonna leave the dog if it’s not a fit. We will take the dog to an adopter. Our adoption fee is very low. It’s 300 bucks. It doesn’t even cover the cost of the neuter or the spay. If we have to do it, to a dog, by the way, any doctors thinking you’re going to do any breeding, you won’t be doing any breeding with our dogs.  

Bob Bryant    00:36:01    They’re all spayed. Let’s not put any more unwanted pets in the world. If we have to transport a dog cross country for somebody, normally we would ask them to help,  cover the fuel cost, and to get the dog to them. They don’t even have to do that. If we know the dog’s gonna have a great life. Each situation is different when it comes to long-distance transport. We have four dogs that are going out this week, all over the east coast, and we got one guy taking ’em all.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:36:33    Oh, wow. That’s great. Those dogs I would imagine. I don’t know for sure, but I would imagine they’ve probably spent some time with each other at your ranch.

Bob Bryant    00:36:43    They’re Crated when we transport dogs. They’re crated in the trucks, we will break them. We break them individually. Again, we’re gonna know before we put the dogs in what their nature is, but, we still try to practice some safety on the road too, we don’t have any dogs get loose or get in any fights.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:37:02    Sure, absolutely. That makes sense too. That sounds pretty comprehensive from rescuing the animals from wherever they happen to be. They could be all over the world and you guys, as they’re still working to get them and reunite them either with their former handlers or, or getting them in a home that’s gonna be able to take care of them.  The whole process from all the rehabilitation that they might need and then to finding the right homes, but the applications that you have to comb through, I’m sure that’s a lot of work as well, to just comb through those applications.  

Bob Bryant   00:37:47    We have someone specifically that does the applications in the interview process. That’s a full-time job.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:37:54     I’m sure their BS meter has probably gone off a few times or they’re able to tell the ones who really are able to handle these dogs versus the ones who just say they can, because they, they want to get a dog, that for one reason or another.

Bob Bryant    00:38:10    It’s pretty easy. We’ve been lucky so far that all our placements have been very good.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:38:16    Good. That is encouraging to hear too. You don’t want to end up seeing these dogs being turned over to the kennels or. 

Bob Bryant   00:38:27    Are you interested in knowing what it costs to get dogs home from various places?  

Scott DeLuzio   00:38:31    I am actually. I was talking about this and getting these dogs back in it, it occurred to me that, I know just a regular plane ticket going to some of these places is probably expensive, but then getting there, getting the dogs, bringing ’em back and everything that that’s probably fairly expensive. I would imagine.  

Bob Bryant    00:38:51    Normally when we get dogs out of the middle east specific Kuwait, and these dogs either have come from Iraq, Iran, we’re not sure, a lot of the Kuwaiti dogs work their ports for explosive detection. We fly there with a group, normally four people, and then each person can fly back with up to two dogs as an escort, the dogs fly cargo. So we’ve got the cost of the human ticket, but the dogs fly for less. It’s about $1,900 a dog flown as cargo if they are escorted. Now let’s move that over to Afghanistan. That number goes up to $4,500. If you can get the dog out from Afghanistan today there’s still some contract dogs there. We desperately like to get them out.  There’s still some people there. I hope they get dogs that will have to fly to New Delhi.  

Bob Bryant  00:39:49    Then from there fly to somewhere in Eastern Europe where they could stay but just Europe to where they had weighed out the rabies band period, and then come into the United States at that point. At least $3,000, go over to Japan or Guam. We bring dogs home from there a lot. Now, thankfully the military has started cooperating a little and putting dogs that were about to retire for us on rotator flights. I’m actually a member of the team. I’m out on the west coast. We have a big base out here. I live in Thousand Oaks, California. It’s still the relatively sane part of California that hasn’t gone off the rails politically, and I’ll just leave it at that.  

Bob Bryant 00:40:38    I’m a nice semi-conservative leave me alone, stay outta my business kind of guy, and we’ll get along just fine, but the whole rest of the state’s kind of a loony tune at some point. But the Marines flew some dogs down to Coronado Naval air station for us a few months ago and brought us six dogs there. Other than that, a dog getting out in Japan, 6,000 bucks, a pop coming from Guam is close to $7,000. Because the logistics are just a freaking nightmare to get ’em home, but we have help from the military now. That’s something they weren’t doing until recently. We get calls from corporals that need a dog back from Afghanistan. They don’t have 3000 bucks, but they want their dog home. We’ve got great donors that will stand up and we can have those funds in 24 hours if you need ’em.  

Scott DeLuzio   00:41:32    That’s great too, because like you said that a corporal on a corporal salary is not going to be able to shell out that kind of money. They’d probably love to if they had the money, but it would be a stretch, for someone in that financial situation. I know during the Afghanistan withdrawal a few months ago, there were some pictures that were going around of dogs that were crated up and it just is heartbreaking to see, that these dogs are just being kind of left behind.

Scott DeLuzio   00:42:05   Makes me sick. Almost just forgotten, right? I mean they’re not being taken care of the way they should be. We should be doing more to get them home and get them into homes that will be able to take care of them.

Bob Bryant    00:42:21    I still have a business visa for India. That’s valid until September if we were to have the opportunity to get any dogs out of there. Afghanistan’s gone back to the stone age and just left it at that.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:42:35    Yeah. That would be hard, especially at this point. Hopefully, some of them can, can make it out, but, it’s all up in the air right now. Anyways, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you today. I really enjoyed this conversation and learning more about mission canine and everything that you guys do. Where can people go to find out more about Mission Canine and help support its mission?  

Bob Bryant    00:43:00    All right., we post most of our active things on Facebook. We’re simply MissionK9 on Facebook, also on Instagram. Same thing on Twitter and our website is missionK9rescue.org. Excellent. Any of those you can donate to can ask us a question, we appreciate support in all forms.  

Scott DeLuzio    00:43:30    Yeah, absolutely.  I will have links to all of those, your social media, your website, and everything in the show notes. So anyone who is interested in getting involved or helping out in any way that they can, please go check out the show notes, click through those links, and do what you can to help support mission canine, and I’ll even have a link to the charity navigator site as wellYou mentioned check that out for any of the nonprofits that you’re looking to help out and support. I’ll even have the link to the charity navigator for Mission Canine specifically. So that way you can check that out and see how they’re rated and how they are using the funds that they are getting from donations. That way you can feel confident knowing that your donations are going to the right cause, well, again, thank you, Bob. I’m glad to have you on and share this organization with the listeners. Hopefully, some people will be able to reach out and help out and also help out with adopting some of these dogs if they’re able to.  

Bob Bryant   00:44:40    Scott. You’re awesome. Thank you for what you do. I appreciate it.  

Scott DeLuzio     00:44:43    All right. Take care. Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website DriveOnPodcast.com. We’re also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at Drive On Podcast.

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