K9 Spotlight: Tony Villalobos
Jul 14th 2021
Tony Villalobos & Mission K9 Rescue: Adopting Retired Working Dogs
Tony Villalobos is both a military veteran and a veteran K9 handler. He has been working with Mission K9 Rescue for over five years, helping find forever homes for retired working K9s. Tony is experienced in training search and rescue dogs, police dogs, and worked as a contract K9 handler in Afghanistan for the US Military.
What is Mission K9 Rescue?
Mission K9 Rescue takes in retired police, military, and contract working dogs. Their mission is to rehabilitate and retrain these dogs and then find them caring families. They even work to reunite retired K9s with their former handlers, when possible.
One of the common issues today with the current climate in police dogs is that things like the media, social movements, and decriminalization of certain drugs are having a significant impact on police working dog jobs. The result is that a lot of these dogs are no longer useful to their departments and are being retired in huge numbers.
Mission K9 Rescue’s goal is to take in as many of these dogs as possible and rehabilitate them in order to make them more suitable for adoption. The idea is that these dogs learn that they no longer need to work; they just need to be dogs. Mission K9 Rescue looks to help each dog live out the remainder of their lives as happy family dogs.
How Does Mission K9 Rescue Retrain Working Dogs?
An interesting element about the company is that nearly all of the employees are non-handlers. The reason for this is because handlers have a very different relationship with K9s than non-handlers. Dogs are intuitive and can read a person’s energy; working dogs even more so. From the moment a handler grabs a working dog’s leash, the dog knows that it’s time to work, no matter what the environment.
Our method of rehabilitation utilizes non-handlers because it helps to transition our retired rescue dogs out of the working mindset and into a normal dog mindset and environment.
When we first take in a dog, we give them a full medical evaluation, and then send them to our ranch in Houston to allow them to decompress. This usually takes about three to four weeks. At this point, the personality of the dog is fairly indicative of “who that dog is.”
Once we’ve established a profile and personality for the dog, we then begin the process of finding the dog a home that they’re going to thrive in.
The Vital Need For The Right Equipment
One of the most important things to a successful transition is making sure that the dog’s new home and owners have the right equipment for these dogs. Even though we successfully transition these dogs, they’re still working dogs at the end of the day. They require special equipment that can stand up to the rigorous stress these dogs are still capable of.
For example, a large Malinois that’s been rehabilitated and adopted isn’t going to do very well with a basic leash that you’d buy at big-box stores. This dog is still going to require the right equipment and gear that can handle the energy and intensity that these dogs have.
Part of our job is making sure that their new owners have the proper equipment so that they can properly handle these dogs. This ensures that we can most effectively maneuver these dogs into the civilian world and that their owners can keep these dogs from getting into trouble.
This is why we love working with Ray Allen Manufacturing. Their gear is always high-quality, dependable, and literally designed for K9 working dogs. We recommend Ray Allen to our clients all the time, not just because of their reputation, but we know first-hand how much of a difference quality makes to rehabilitating tough dogs.
Support The Cause
Learn more about Mission K9 Rescue online. You’ll find all the information needed if you want to adopt a rehabilitated working dog and/or how to donate to the cause.