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War Dog to be buried at the MSPCA’s Hillside Acre Animal Cemetery

BOSTON and Methuen, Mass. June 11, 2014 – As a bugler plays taps and a host of law enforcement and town officials stand guard, “Max” the war dog—who served in the U.S. military from 2003-2007 before dying at age 10 on Memorial Day in 2012—will be laid to rest on Saturday, June 14 at the MSPCA’s Hillside Acre Cemetery in Methuen, Mass., the MSPCA-Angell announced today.

Watching with pride will be Pam Pelton of Northfield, NH, who will no-doubt be reflecting on the day she adopted Max in 2007 from the Military War Dog Agency at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio after he returned from four years of active duty.

Max, seen here with owner Pam Pelton, served his country from 2003-2007 before dying aged 10 on Memorial Day 2012 (credit: Pam Pelton)

Max, seen here with owner Pam Pelton, served his country from 2003-2007 before dying aged 10 on Memorial Day 2012 (credit: Pam Pelton)

“It’s obviously a very bitter sweet time,” said Pelton as she looked ahead to Max’s burial, the first for a war dog at Hillside since the 1950s.  “Having Max for five years was a highlight in my life—he was my walking buddy and near-constant companion.  It’s very hard to say goodbye but I take great comfort in the outpouring of love and respect he’s received.”

“Sniffing Dog’s” Secret Wartime Duty

Pelton has for years been in touch with military officials to determine the nature of Max’s work and where it was performed.  “Unfortunately the exact details of the work Max performed—as well as the countries in which that work was performed—remain a mystery to me to this day.”  Given his service era, however, it is reasonable to suggest Max was stationed in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

Max was trained as a “sniffing dog,” and may have been skilled at detecting explosive material that could endanger the life of servicemen and women, as well as civilians, in the arenas in which he worked.  And according to Pelton he never lost his fiercely loyal and protective nature.  “Max literally saved my life years ago when we were walking in the woods and encountered two feral dogs.  The dogs jumped toward me and Max immediately sprang into action—fighting them off and very likely saving both our lives.”

Max is the ninth war dog to be buried at Hillside Acre Cemetery which for 80 years has been operated by the MSPCA and is now the final resting place for 18,000 beloved companion and service animals.

Through the Heroes at Hillside program, military dogs such as Max are buried at no cost to their owner.  Dave Gordon, who manages the cemetery for the MSPCA, said: “Max served his country with honor and proved just as noble and loyal a companion to Pam after his military service ended.  He deserves our respect and we are proud to lay him to rest at Hillside Acre Cemetery.”




The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, non-profit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization. The MSPCA-Angell relies solely on the support and contributions of individuals who care about animals. Please visit