ATLANTA - It's hard to believe, but it's already been one year since Max the Golden Retriever joined the FOX 5 family. Time flies when you're having fun!
Max's first day "on the job" at WAGA was January 17, 2017. He was just 12-weeks-old at the time and weighed less than 20 pounds. Now, at almost 15-months-old, Max has tripled in size!
“Operation Max” was established last year when FOX 5 began a partnership with Canine Assistants, which is a non-profit organization based out of Milton, Georgia. They pair 75-100 dogs annually with people who have difficulty with mobility, epilepsy, Type 1 diabetes as well as dogs in pediatric hospitals and rehab centers.
Max spent the first 12 weeks of his life at C.A. before moving in with his small team of FOX 5 fosters. His core foster team consists of three FOX 5 employees, including Donna Bell, Katie Muse, and Susan Kicak. Donna works as an account executive in our sales department, Katie is a digital producer for FOX 5 News, and Susan also works in the news department as a producer for Good Day Atlanta. His fosters work closely with his Canine Assistants instructor Kristen LaFevers.
It's been a busy year for Max as he works hard to become a service dog for a veteran in need. Max is learning to be in sync with whatever his person is doing, so he constantly stays by his fosters’ sides. He stays at the station during the day and then goes home with his fosters after work.
When he’s not at WAGA, Max goes on outings around town, such as shopping and running errands—all the tasks of daily life. He also appears every weekday morning on Good Day Atlanta, where we showcase Max’s journey and update our viewers on what he’s working on.
In his short time at FOX 5, Max has seen and done a lot! Some of his experiences have included Braves games, Falcons games, Atlanta United games, Georgia Tech Women's Basketball games, spending time on the field at the Georgia Dome, as well as trips to New York, Washington, D.C., North Georgia and the Georgia Governor's Mansion. He's also made many new friends, including the Harlem Globetrotters, Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, Santa Claus, and many celebrity guests on Good Day Atlanta.
At 1-year-old, Max is able to do a number of things, such as identify objects, colors, numbers and shapes, push elevator buttons, tug bandanas to open doors, mimic behavior, answer questions with his nose, plus so much more. He's also a pro at settling, he's extremely gentle, and knows what patience means.
Max will most likely be paired with his recipient this summer. In the meantime, he’ll be working hard on learning new skills, building on what he already knows, and maintaining loving bonds with his fosters. One day, he’ll form an even stronger bond with his veteran!
In honor of Max’s work anniversary, we’re looking back at some of his milestones:
- October 23, 2016: Max's birthday! Check out this adorable picture of Max with his siblings
- Max introduced by FOX 5's Paul Milliken on Good Day Atlanta on December 19, 2016
- Christmas Eve: Max's first visit to FOX 5 to help Chief Meteorologist David Chandley track Santa
- Check out Max's first time visiting the Good Day set one week before starting his job
- January 17, 2017: Max's first day working at FOX 5
- Rise Up: Max visits Georgia Dome & gives NFC Championship prediction
- Max visits Governor's Mansion and meets First Lady of GA Sandra Deal
- Max gets 16-week checkup & vet says he's healthy
- Max learns to push an elevator button
- Max shoots hoops with Harlem Globetrotters
- Max visits Atlanta Ronald McDonald House
- Max hits fashion catwalk with Paul Milliken
- Max meets veterans at Fort Mac
- Radio star: Max visits The Bert Show
- Max attends unveiling of Max's Backyard, park for CHOA service dogs
- Max turns 1-year-old!
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