Eight-year-old Belgian Malinos Max loves to help people. More specifically, he and his owner Martin Wendels love to help find missing people. As a search and rescue (SAR) dog, Max has participated in numerous rescues in the Central Valley including the Camp Fire in Northern California where he worked under extreme circumstances for seven days until his foot was lacerated from the debris.
Max is a trained trailing and cadaver dog. He and Martin are the only civilian search and rescue team the Fresno Police Department uses. They routinely volunteer their time to assist with numerous missing person cases.
Max and Martin are also part of Yosemite Park’s dedicated team of SAR handlers and dogs, nicknamed YODOGS. They help with not only incidents but also with the park’s preventative SAR program. In 2017 during the Thanksgiving holiday, Max successfully tracked a potentially suicidal person to the edge of a viewpoint in the area.
During a winter storm in Yosemite in February 2018, Max worked in very cold and snowy conditions to help with the search for a backpacker leading to a successful rescue.
Max has helped numerous agencies and groups find loved ones, and even under extreme conditions, he continues his efforts. He is an outstanding example of the human-animal bond and a very welcome inductee into the California Animal Hall of Fame.