Dog rescuer fears new movie "Max" will send wrong idea about breed

Dog rescuer fears new movie "Max" will send wrong idea about breed

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A new movie that's hit the big screen has dog rescuers worried it's sending the wrong idea to local families.

"Max" is a story of a trained service dog for the U.S. Marines that returns from war and is adopted by a family.

While the flick is getting great reviews, a local woman who rescues this specific breed says she's worried the movie giving a false impression of how these dogs would be as house pets.

"They see a movie like Max and they go 'oh wow, I've just got to have a dog with that kind of intensity'... not realizing the amount of training that it has taken to get those dogs under control," said Janet McSwain, North and South Carolina Coordinator for Malinois Dog Rescues.

McSwain lives in Hollywood with her husband. She owns Giles, a disabled Malinois, and they're also fostering Bear. Bear is a skiddish Malinois who was given up by a law enforcement agency and also a family, partly because he was too hard to train.

"These are sweet dogs because I've worked hard to socialize them," said McSwain. "They have an incredible endurance, they're very intelligent and they have a work ethic that is just second to none."

This breed is often used in military and law enforcement work, just like you see in the new movie "Max".

McSwain worries families will want their own "Max" after seeing the movie.

"Families get these dogs and do not understand the energy level, they don't understand the intensity and they don't have the ability to train them well and so they end up dumping them in shelters," said McSwain.

As a Malinois lover, McSwain is looking forward to seeing "Max." So far, she's just seen trailers and heard about it from friends who have gone to see it.

"We're very proud of our dogs, were very proud of the breed, were proud of the work that they do for the military," said McSwain. "On the other hand, my other thought was 'oh no, this is going to be a problem."

McSwain says in the last year the number of Malinois turning up in South Carolina shelters has sky rocketed. Due to their high-maintenance needs, once these dogs are in shelters, they are difficult to place in new homes.

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