Best Friend. Hero. Marine. "Max" the Military Working Dog Patrols the Big Silver Screen

Wolf is ready to see "Max!"
"The nose of a dog...the heart of a Marine."  
~Max, the Movie

My FiveSibes and I are pretty excited about a new movie that coming out. I initially  hard about "Max" from my daughter. Having been both been long-time fans of actress Lauren Graham and the Gilmore Girls TV series, and knowing my affinity for all things canine, combined with my interest and previous articles on Military Working Dogs (MWD), my daughter sent me a trailer for the movie. I knew immediately this was a movie I wanted to see. Fast forward a week and here I am quite thrilled to be sharing details of what promises to be a classic movie! "Max" is a family action-adventure movie from Warner Bros. Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures from writer/director Boaz Yakin (“Remember the Titans,” “Now You See Me”).

Official Warner Bros. "Max" movie poster.

The official synopsis of the movie is:
"'Max" is a precision trained military dog who serves on the frontlines in Afghanistan alongside his handler, U.S. Marine Kyle Wincott. But when things go terribly wrong on maneuvers, Kyle is mortally wounded and Max, traumatized by the loss of his best friend, is unable to remain in service.
Shipped stateside, the only human he seems willing to connect with is Kyle’s teenage brother, Justin, so Max is adopted by Kyle’s family, essentially saving his life. But Justin has issues of his own...and he isn’t interested in taking responsibility for his brother’s troubled dog.
However, Max may be Justin’s only chance to discover what really happened to his brother that day on the front, and with the help of a tough-talking young teen, Carmen, who has a way with dogs, Justin begins to appreciate his canine companion. 
Movie stills courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Justin’s growing trust in Max helps the four-legged veteran revert back to his heroic self, and as the pair race against time to unravel the mystery, they find more excitement—and danger—than they bargained for. But they each might also find an unlikely new best friend…in each other."

I admit, while watching the movie trailer, I reached for the tissue box and immediately put Max on my "Must Watch" list and after you watch the trailer, I know you'll want to see it to!

Harley is waiting to see "Max!"
The movie stars Josh Wiggins (“Hellion”) as "Justin Wincott;" Lauren Graham (“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” TV’s “Parenthood,” and "Gilmore Girls") as his mom, "Pamela;" Oscar nominee Thomas Haden Church (“Sideways”) as his dad, "Ray;" Robbie Amell as his brother "Kyle," and Belgium Malinois Carlos as "Max." (There were a total of 5 Belgium Malinois who acted in the movie, but Carlos played the lead dog)

Country singer Blake Shelton performs a touching rendition of Bob Dylan's song "Forever Young" for the movie. And the best part of it all is you won't have to wait long to see this amazing movie! The great news is "Max" is rated PG (parental guidance suggested) and will be released to movie theaters this week on June 26th! We are anxiously waiting, how about you?! So let's get the popcorn and tissues ready to go! 

Is Your Dog a Hero? Join in the Max Social Media Fun!

Tell Warner Bros. why your pet is your hero! Share your photos and stories using the hashtags #MaxtheHero, #HeroPet and #MaxMovie on social media for a chance to be featured on their official MAX pages! You can check out Max the Movie website, follow MAX on Facebook and on Instagram at @MaxMovie. Don't forget the hashtags! Feel free to mention #FiveSibes invited you to join!

Let's Talk About PTSD...

Just what is PTSD? "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. A traumatic event is something terrible and scary that you see, hear about, or that happens to you, like: combat exposure...." states the United States Department of Veteran Affairs.

And yes, while it affects humans, it can also affect dogs.

Dr. Walter Burghardt Jr., chief of behavioral medicine and Military Working Dog (MWD) studies at Lackland Air Force Base, the United States Department of Defense's MWD Training School, states that " least 10% of the hundreds of dogs sent to Iraq and Afghanistan to protect U.S. troops have developed canine PTSD," in a 2012 Los Angeles Times article
written by Tony Perry. And according to a 2011 New York Times article by James Dao, "By some estimates, more than 5 percent of the approximately 650 military dogs deployed by American combat forces are developing canine PTSD."

 According to the Integrative Veterinary Care (IVC) Journal, "Dogs are considered the most effective means of detecting hidden explosive devices and so are extensively used by the US military. It is easy to see why military combat or bomb detection dogs, as well as search and rescue canines who have to find bodies after disasters, might be subject to this syndrome." 

If you have a dog that you know, or suspect, has symptoms of PTSD, which can mimic other canine anxiety issues, consult your veterinarian, a trained behaviorist, and a holistic veterinarian to learn about the various treatments to help manage a dog with PTSD and help them become a happy, healthy member of the family. 

History of Military Working Dogs

According to the United States War Dog Association, in "January, 1942, not long after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the American Kennel Association and a new group calling itself 'Dogs for Defense' mobilized dog owners across the country to donate quality animals to the Army's Quartermaster Corps."

While originally the MWDs consisted of several different breeds of dogs, including Siberian Huskies and Malamutes as sled dogs in Arctic regions, today MWDs are typically the Belgium Malinois and the German Shepherd. They are trained for and used in various military roles, such as:
  • Explosives Detection 
  • Mine Detection
  • Tunnel Location
  • Security and Patrol
  • Messengers
  • Search and Rescue/Casualties
  • Sentry Duty
To read more about the history and role of the Military Working Dog, visit the United States War Dog Association and the United States Department of Defense Military Working Dogs websites.
A Victory for Military Working Dogs Serving Our Country

There is now great news for the future of Military Working Dogs - our four-legged heroes - thanks to the passing of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. According to the American Humane Association, "The nation’s military working dogs, each of whom saves the lives of between 150-200 servicemen and women in the course of their career, are one step closer to being guaranteed treatment as the heroes they are as the U.S. Senate today (June 19, 2015) followed the House of Representatives in passing the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with language supported by American Humane Association mandating that America’s heroic military working dogs will be returned to U.S. soil upon retirement, and that their human handlers and their families – to whom these dogs mean more than anyone else – will be given first right of adoption."

About the Belgium Malinois Breed

A Malinois is: 
  • A variety of the Belgium Shepherd Dog  
  • Registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC)
  • A medium-sized dog
  • Highly intelligent
  • Exceptionally beautiful
  • Exceptionally working ability
  • Quick and agile
  • Loyal
 *Source: American Belgium Malinois Club

 "Highly intelligent, elegant, athletic, and muscular, this breed excels at agility, herding, tracking, obedience, and all protection sports," states the American Belgium Malinois Club. "Malinois demand to be actively engaged with their owner/handler, both mentally and physically. Also, all the qualities that make it an idea dog for military and police purposes, are what make it imperative that its owner be committed to working actively with it on a virtually daily basis. However, in return for active engagement, the owner/handler receives the unconditional love and affection -- and loyalty -- that a Malinois reserves for "the person" in its life."

War Dogs

“A bond is built forever, 
forever and a day. 
Built on love, built on trust, 
that’s the canine way.” 
~Murray Weinstock

If you think you'd like a Malinois...the same as we always discuss here in my blog and on my The Sibe Vibe radio show about another working breed, the Siberian Husky...please do your homework first to be sure this is the type of dog you'd like to welcome into your family and home, and that you can make a lifetime commitment to care for, train, and love! Here's a clip, "Saving Max," by Top Tier K9 about the protecting the Malinois  breed, especially with the release of a movie that highlights this fantastic dog who has tirelessly protected our country:

A heartfelt "thank you" goes out to filmmaker Kenn Bell for sharing all the info, pics, and videos with us for this movie! We can't wait to see it! To learn more about the Military Working Dog, check out the following episode of The Dog Files called "A Few Good Dogs." The Dog Files series was created by Kenn, pictured here with his adopted American Foxhound/Pointer mix, also named "Max."

Join us in supporting this movie by sharing, hashtagging, and following #MaxtheHero, #MaxMovie, and #HeroPet on social media!

Wolf says, "Woo! This is going to be a great movie!  

"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion." 

 ~Unknown Author


My FiveSibes are all ready for the release of "Max" the movie!

* Max movie photos and video courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures. They may not be used or copied without permission from Warner Bros. Photos of the FiveSibes are by DWR/

To read about human veterans and PTSD, see our#Stop22 Challenge post and video HERE.


  1. Mom thinks it's a tear jerker whatever that means. We want to see it
    Lily & Edward

    1. We think so, too, Lily & Edward! And we have our tissues ready! We are really looking forward to seeing it.

  2. Max is very special and we've heard the movie is really good.

    1. Yes, he is very special! I know there will be lots of tissues watching this movie! It will be so important to shine a light on MWDs and PTSD.

  3. I saw a trailer for this and it looks great but like a big time tear jerker. Will need lots of Kleenex!

    1. We already have our supply of tissues at the ready!

  4. Can't wait to see it tonight. Have my tissues ready. Great info thanks for sharing Susie

    1. I can't wait to hear all about it from you, Talent Hounds!

  5. Truly great write up - I lub reading all the varied approaches; but most of all really dig dat ders an action-packed movie dat highlights an important message for military dogs! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and write-up!

    1. Thank you very much, MattieDog! I, too, love to read all the different ways the bloggers are posting about it! So much fun and so interesting!

  6. Oh I want to see this movie so bad!!! I have been watching the previews on TV, and I cant wait till I can get to actually watch it!!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

    1. I can't wait either, Jenna! So very excited!

  7. Really enjoyed this most with all the great information on PTSD and the breed featured in the movie Max. We can't wait to see the movie this Friday!

    1. Thank you Ruff Talk! It's so exciting that it's release is tomorrow!

  8. I must say that the movie sounds very enticing, even though I usually avoid dog-centered movies because they often end sadly. Thanks for the PTSD info. I actually went through it myself, a long time ago, after encountering a gun-wielding lunatic in the woods who fatally shot my dog and then kept me there at gunpoint. Fortunately, the shots were heard by many, and I was saved. But, I struggled with ptsd for quite a while. I cannot imagine what it must be like after being in a war - like my small ptsd multiplied by a million.

    1. Oh KB Bear...I'm so sorry for the trauma you went frightening. I'm so glad you were saved and very sorry about your dog...but what a horrific thing to have happen. Hugs to you...


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