• Angela Boggs holds the extended paw of Max, a retired military working dog that Angela and her husband, Thomas, adopted on Fort Irwin, Calif., in October 2013.

    Angela Boggs and Max at home

    Angela Boggs holds the extended paw of Max, a retired military working dog that Angela and her husband, Thomas, adopted on Fort Irwin, Calif., in October 2013.

  • Max, a 10-year-old Belgian Malinois retired military working dog, relaxes with its favorite toy at home on Fort Irwin, Calif., March 14, 2014. In October 2013, Thomas and Angela Boggs adopted the retired canine who served primarily at Fort Irwin, with a deployment to Afghanistan.

    Max at home with his favorite toy

    Max, a 10-year-old Belgian Malinois retired military working dog, relaxes with its favorite toy at home on Fort Irwin, Calif., March 14, 2014. In October 2013, Thomas and Angela Boggs adopted the retired canine who served primarily at Fort Irwin, with...

  • Angela and Thomas Boggs stand with Max in front of their house on Fort Irwin, Calif., March 14, 2014. The Boggs adopted the retired military working dog in October 2013, after his service in the Army, from 2006 to 2013.

    Angela and Thomas Boggs with Max

    Angela and Thomas Boggs stand with Max in front of their house on Fort Irwin, Calif., March 14, 2014. The Boggs adopted the retired military working dog in October 2013, after his service in the Army, from 2006 to 2013.

  • Max, a retired military working dog, was provided a certificate, medal and doggie toys by the War Dogs Association Chapter 1-Western Region, a non-profit that supports handlers and adopters of retired military working dogs. Angela and Thomas Boggs (rear) adopted the Belgian Malinois after he was retired from service that spanned from 2006 to 2013. Max is flanked by Fort Irwin, Calif., United States Army Garrison Commander Col. Jon Braga (left) and Sgt. Maj. Carlos Esmurria, U.S. Army Garrison senior enlisted adviser, during a commander's call at Fort Irwin, in February.

    Max receives certificate, medal and toys

    Max, a retired military working dog, was provided a certificate, medal and doggie toys by the War Dogs Association Chapter 1-Western Region, a non-profit that supports handlers and adopters of retired military working dogs. Angela and Thomas Boggs...

  • Angela Boggs instructs Max, a retired military working dog, to lie still at home on Fort Irwin, March 14, 2014. Angela explained that she does the same when the Belgian Malinois is agitated by post-traumatic stress attributed to combat service in Afghanistan (2006 to 2007) and an injury from a bomb explosion while deployed with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).

    Angela Boggs pats Max

    Angela Boggs instructs Max, a retired military working dog, to lie still at home on Fort Irwin, March 14, 2014. Angela explained that she does the same when the Belgian Malinois is agitated by post-traumatic stress attributed to combat service in...

FORT IRWIN, Calif. (March 20, 2014) -- For the Bogg's family, there was no doubt they would open their home to a retired combat veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Thomas and Angela Boggs welcomed Max, a 10-year-old retired military working dog, into their home on Fort Irwin, after adopting the Belgian Malinois, Oct. 23. Max's days of supporting the law enforcement mission here had just ended. Max served this military installation beginning in 2006 and deployed to Afghanistan that same year while attached to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). An explosion injured the dog's shoulders and left, hind quarter. Max was treated at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, and returned to serve here, in 2007.

Last year, Tom, who is the Physical Security and Crime Prevention Officer here, was informed that the canine's best years as a bite and narcotics dog were behind him.

"It was time," Tom said about Max retiring. "His bite wasn't what it used to be. He wasn't aggressive like he used to be. So, he was (ready) for retirement."

Tom explained that military working dogs are trained to be bite dogs and are taught a secondary role, sniffing out explosives or narcotics. Angela, who previously trained German Shepherd dogs in Germany, stated that Max's bite was at 85 percent. Max was still active duty, but was not being utilized as much, and spent a lot of time in the military working dog kennels here. The Boggs immediately knew they wanted Max, so Angela headed to the kennel to meet and hopefully connect with the black and gold-colored canine.

"The story is that she took steak and chicken over there to him, to bond with him," Tom reminisced with a chuckle. "Wait a minute, he's getting steak and chicken, what about me? I know where my stature is in this household."

Max took to Angela immediately.

"He's my shadow," Angela said. "Wherever I go, he follows."

Since the adoption, Tom has described Max as a laid back, old dog done with work. Max has put on some weight, increasing to 122 pounds from 88 in October, said Tom. Max does a lot of sleeping during the day and stays at the Bogg's feet when they watch TV in the evenings. The retired pooch has a calm disposition and rarely barks.

"He hasn't shown any aggression toward anybody," Tom said. "We've heard him bark twice since we've had him. That's it. He doesn't bark. He's retired."

Tom believes retired military working dogs should be adopted after their duty has been completed, and a Department of Defense program at JBSA-Lackland allows civilians to do just that. Tom, who is also a retired Army veteran and Purple Heart (three times) recipient from service in Vietnam, describes Max's career as being similar to Soldiers, who have performed an invaluable service to the United States. Tom served as a cavalry scout with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam, and handled military dogs. He saw firsthand the contributions of military dogs to Soldiers.

"How many Soldiers have our canines -- who we have working for the military -- saved?" Tom asked. "And we're going to put them down, because we have no use for them anymore? Wait a minute -- adopt them out. They're just old. They're old dogs looking for a place to go, to be treated like a dog, a pet, and be part of a family. That's all they want. So, why not give it to them."

Angela explained that Max has PTSD. She soothes Max and is able to put the dog at ease as he lies down. And while Max loves to lounge around, the big dog also enjoys an assortment of toys at home.

"They deserve to have a good remainder of their lives," Tom said about retired canines. "They deserve that. They protected Soldiers from a lot of things. They put up with a lot of stuff that we, as human beings, would not put up with."

The majority of the 2,500 working dogs who serve in the military are raised and trained at the Department of Defense Military Working Dog program at JBSA-Lackland, said Coleen McGee, director of public affairs with the 37th Training Wing at JBSA-Lackland. She explained that about 900 are on station, and approximately 500-600 dogs are deployed. The program breeds 100 puppies per year and acquires another 130 per quarter from Europe.

Page last updated Thu March 20th, 2014 at 00:00