Across the country, movie theater lights are lowering for screenings of a recently unleashed motion picture which is raising awareness of the lasting friendships formed between members of the military and the dogs by their side who help to defend our freedom.
Starring Lauren Graham, Thomas Haden Church and a Belgian Malinois named Carlos (one of five dogs who stepped into the role of the movie’s main character) , Max is the moving tale of a family in mourning for a fallen Marine. By making the decision to welcome into their lives the traumatized working military dog who faithfully served alongside their loved one, they find that not only are their own hearts beginning to heal but also the heart of the four-legged warrior.
While in the movie Max has the chance to embark on a new chapter in his life with his handler’s family, life has not always imitated art. To turn the tide, the American Humane Association has worked closely with Congress to pass the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — a bill to assure that courageous canine veterans can return home to be reunited with the people who mean so much to them.
Passed by the House of Representatives and by the Senate, now the bill is awaiting the signature of President Obama to make it a law. An amendment to the bill includes language provided by the American Humane Association that mandates that our patriotic pals with paws who have answered the call of duty will be returned to U.S. soil upon their retirement, with first right of adoption given to the canine’s handler and their families.
Fans of both films and Fidos can find out more about Max (a family-friendly flick which received the American Humane Association’s highest rating for safety) and the real life efforts of military working dogs by tuning in to two episodes of American Humane Association’s weekly radio show “Be Humane with Dr. Robin Ganzert,” which airs on Pet Life Radio. Episode 49, which can now be heard online, includes interviews with Max‘s director Boaz Yakin and one of its stars, Josh Wiggins, as well as a chat with Dr. Kwane Stewart, the Chief Veterinary Officer for American Humane Association’s “No Animals Were Harmed” program. Episode 50, which will be broadcast on June 30th, will focus on a talk with actress Lauren Graham and a few of the members of Congress who had the opportunity to watch Max at the film’s Washington, D.C. premiere.
Photo Credit: Warner Brothers