Internet Laughs As Retired Military Dog Won't Let Go of Toy in Pet Store

A retired military dog appears to have lost none of the determination that made him a valuable asset in the field if a video showing him steadfastly refusing to let go of a toy in a pet store is anything to go by.

In a hilarious video posted to TikTok under the handle retiredk9rex, Rex the German Shepherd can be seen desperately trying to keep hold of the plaything. The video has been viewed 6.8 million times.

According to the accompanying caption, the ensuing tug-of-war took place in a branch of Petsmart where, unbeknownst to Rex who served in Afghanistan as a bomb detection and attack dog, his owners were merely trying to pay for the item.

Thankfully, after a few commands from his owner, Charlie, Rex relents and lets go of the toy, allowing his human companion to run it through the register. He is happily reunited with the item seconds later as they head out of the store.

Toys play an important role in the life of any dog.

A 2015 study published in the journal Animal Welfare and Behavior concluded that play helps develop canine social skills with dogs "capable of extracting social information not only from games in which they participate, but also from games that they observe between third parties."

Researchers concluded play is an adaptive trait among dogs and a byproduct of domestication through the training and emotional bond developed between dog and owner. More simply put, they surmised that a dog's playfulness is often a clear indicator of a healthy relationship between pet and owner.

In that context, it would appear Rex is one very happy pup, with the German Shepherd only too happy to battle his owner for the toy, evidently eager to take it home and continue the fun.

Writing in the comments, his owners stressed: "Rex is well trained. His release word is 'out.' When his dad said 'out.' He did let go."

That didn't stop fellow dog lovers from finding the whole thing highly amusing.

One user, posting as _Canadian.Lumberjack_ suggested they "Just pick the dog up and scan the toy," while gfloyd713 wrote: "You better rip the tag off and scan it. Leave that baby alone."

Kleebean22 imagined Rex telling his owner: "No you can't have it. Just found it" with sammyrea7 in stitches over the way the toy "squeaked when he finally let go."

Eriklarson262 said: "That's the cutest thing I've seen all week" with dorevagal1 quipping: "This looked like a Texas stand-off and the Sheriff won."

Justabarnmanager, meanwhile, said the scene reminded them of their "toddler whenever I get her anything at the store."

La Quaya Edwards thought Rex was probably saying: "I worked too dang hard. I'm retired and deserve to have the finer things in life."

Barbara Levine, similarly, called on everyone to show Rex a little respect. "Thank you for service K9 Rex! You are an American hero," she wrote. April Johnson echoed that sentiment, writing: "Thank you for your service!! Such a good boy."

Newsweek has contacted his owners for comment.

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Retired military dog Rex and his toy.
Retired military dog Rex and his toy. - the German shepherd wasn't going to give up his new plaything without a fight. retiredk9rex/TikTok