10/06/2015 5:09 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Retired Bomb Squad Canines Who Saved Countless Lives In 26/11 Attacks Now Have A Loving Home

AFP via Getty Images
A Belgian Shepherd Dog (Malinois) runs with its handler amongst Central Police Reserve Force (CRPF) commandos during a display of the dog's agility part of the inauguration of CRPF's Dog breeding and training school on the outskirts of Bangalore on December 5, 2011. These highly trained combat ready dogs are capable of taking remote orders from its handler over wired communication set, and carry out an attack, bite and disarm a terrorist besides sniffing narcotics and explosives. AFP PHOTO/Manjunath KIRAN (Photo credit should read Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images)

Four bomb squad canines who have saved countless lives in their busy career of sniffing out explosives, can finally look forward to a loving home post retiremnet instead of being put down after years of faithful service.

Last week, HuffPost India featured a shocking discovery that left animal lovers heart broken: The Indian Army in a response to right to information query admitted that it euthanizes its dogs and horses on retirement or when they are “considered unfit for one month active service”.

While PETA has voiced its anger over the issue, this recent article in the Mumbai Mirror may be the perfect news animal lovers need right now: the story of four bomb-squad dogs -- Caeser, Max, Tiger and Sultan -- who will spend their retired life in a big farm in Virar, Maharashtra.

These dogs, according to the report, were not only responsible for saving many lives in the 2008 terror attacks, but have also assisted in countless other terror case operations: on November 26, one of the dogs found 8 kgs of RDX on both sides of the Taj. "The RDX was placed right where all the people had crowded. Had Caesar not found it, countless more people could have died," said handler Santosh Bhogale.

Aged between 11 and 12 years, the dogs have been adopted by animal lover Fizzah Shah who owns the farm, after several site visits and months of paperwork. Shah, who hosts over 150 abandoned animals, mentioned how impressed she was with the Mumbai police’s thorough background checks. "I will keep them as I keep my children. No more duty, now it’s time for them to live in peace," she said.

The dogs were warmly welcomed at the farm with marigold garlands in honour of the services they have provided over the years last Monday. Their handlers who have been training them since they were two-month old puppies bid them farewell after passing on their medical reports, water bowls, blankets and packets of mutton. They also removed their collars: "They are not on duty anymore," said Sub-Inspector John Gaikwad of the dog squad protection branch. "Now they are free, we don't want them to wear a collar or a leash as they will think they are still on the job."

Watching them settle into their new home –- each dog has a small cubicle of its own, a resting shed and a thatched shelter –- was a emotional moment for the handlers, one of whom shed a few tears for his dog Tiger, and couldn't resist giving him a parting kiss. "I did not want to give him away. He has been so brave. I am so used to seeing him at the kennel everyday. Whenever I had spare time for duty, I would quickly give him a pat. I did not want to give him away. I am still nervous. But this place has a certain calmness about it that Tiger now needs as he is retired," he said.

Shah’s kindness to these dogs shines through as a bright silver lining in the recent dark tale about the fate of retired army dogs.

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