HBO’s ‘War Dog’ Explores Relationship Between Military K9s and Their Soldiers

Posted by Mateja Lane
War Dog
War Dog: A Soldier's Best Friend

The bonds on the battlefield are real. 

A new documentary on HBO called “War Dog: A Soldier’s Best Friend” looks to be quite the emotional journey. Following U.S. soldiers trained in Special Operations, the documentary explores the relationship between K9s and their military handlers.

The film tells the stories of three soldiers and their K9s specifically: U.S. Army Ranger Trent McDonald and Layka, U.S. Army Ranger John Dixon and Mika, and U.S. Special Operations Command Dave Nielsen and Pepper. 

Watch the trailer for the documentary, produced by Channing Tatum, and prepare to get emotional.

The number of trained U.S. military canines rose after September 11. Dogs were trained to find and disarm enemies, find hidden IUDs and explosives, and provide emotional support to troops on the ground. But canines selected for Special Operations are cut from a different cloth. Only one percent of military working dogs are chosen to work with Special Operation soldiers.

The canines and their handlers form incredible bonds in some of the most harsh and dangerous conditions on the planet. The documentary explores the relationship between these veterans and their canine partners and their personal stories on the battlefield. The official synopsis of the film explains:

“With unprecedented access, the film brings these extraordinary stories to life, featuring exclusive military footage, personal photos, on-the-ground combat and drone video surveillance footage, footage of war dogs training and in action, and revealing interviews with the handlers, who open up about the physical and emotional struggles they’ve faced.”

“War Dog: A Soldier’s Best Friend” is directed by Deborah Scranton; produced by Brett Rodriguez and Deborah Scranton; executive producers, Channing Tatum, Reid Carolin and Peter Kiernan; co-producer, Colin Hudock; edited by Kevin Filippini; cinematography by P.H. O’Brien. For HBO: senior producer, Sara Bernstein; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.

You can stream the documentary on HBO.

Have you seen it yet? Tell us what you think in the comments. 

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HBO’s ‘War Dog’ Explores Relationship Between Military K9s and Their Soldiers