Ex-Military Dog 'Keeping Watch' Over Owner Earns Praise Online

A video of an ex-military dog keeping watch from behind the couch has earned praise since it was shared online.

The clip shared on TikTok has 6.4 million views, and the account retiredk9rex explained that Rex had served in the military for nearly nine years.

The video starts with the camera panning from other dogs sitting on the couch, seemingly without a care in the world, to reveal Rex standing alert behind them all.

Stock image of military dog
Stock image of military dog with vest, paws on ground. Rex served in the U.S. Army for nearly nine years and still watches over his owner. Getty

A caption under the video read: "I felt something warm on my neck. Rex served 8 ½ years in the military and sometimes he just sits by me and stares at me like he's keeping watch."

Dogs in the Military

According to the Department of Defense (DoD), there are about 1,600 dogs that are working in the U.S. military.

While the U.S. Army selects a majority of its canine recruits from elite breeders around the world, about 13 percent are born and bred into the armed forces.

The DoD added: "Most dogs that successfully complete the 120-day program qualify to be dual-purpose dogs that either patrol and sniff out explosives or patrol and detect drugs."

Praise for Rex

Since being shared on Tuesday, February 14, the TikTok video has more than 800 likes.

Many of those who commented on the post praised Rex and thanked him for his years of service.

TikTok user Vee wrote: "I dogsit a retired police K9 and I can't go anywhere without him. I wake up to him inches from my face sometimes."

Audrey Anikeef added: "The difference in dogs. The one military trained on point ready and the one watching TV with you."

Pocho Girl posted: "His job is never done. Good boy, thank you for your service."

Kiki Curry commented: "Aww, thank you for your service Rex and that is so cute."

While retired military dogs can be adopted today, it was not always the case, and many were euthanized following their service.

Recent Service Dog History

According to the U.S. War Dogs Heritage Museum, "even though military dogs are credited with saving 10,000 lives in the Vietnam war, they were euthanized or abandoned when they became disabled or too old for the rigors of war."

This changed when Congress passed Robby's Law in 2000. This requires the secretary of Defense to submit a report to Congress each year on the "disposition" of military working dogs: "the numbers adopted, transferred to law enforcement, euthanized, or disposed of by other means."

In 2015, a new law was passed so that military working dogs were no longer regarded as equipment. There have been instances where the government has felt the need to deny reports that dogs were left behind following operations, such as in the aftermath of the fall of Kabul, Afghanistan.

Newsweek has contacted retiredk9rex for comment.