HOUSTON – U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Jonathan Cavender reunited Wednesday with Military Working Dog Maxi, a Belgian Malinois with whom he served with for two years in Japan.
"From the moment I became her handler I knew that I wanted to be the one that gave her a loving home after all of her years of service," said Cavender.
The reunion was made possible by American Humane Association and Mission K9 Rescue, the United States War Dog Association, and supporters of American Humane Association's work to bring war dogs home from overseas. Actress, author and businesswoman Victoria Principal, an avid animal lover who was born in Japan to a military family, made a special contribution for Maxi's return.
Maxi is a twelve-year-old specialized Improvised Detection Dog who helped detect explosives while on deployment in Iraq and served as a military police dog in Japan. Maxi served with Cavender for two years at the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, Japan.
Cavender, a native of Richmond, Texas, is currently based in Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. He is adopting Maxi to ensure she has a loving, forever home for her retirement and reintegration in the U.S. after a lifetime of service to her country.
"Maxi and I conducted numerous demonstrations for the entire base and Japanese officials," said Cavender. "We'd show people the capabilities of MWDs, exhibiting the obedience that the dogs are capable of and their ability to sniff out explosives and narcotics."