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The American Kennel Club (AKC®), the world’s largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for dogs, is proud to honor K9 Max, of the Lubbock Police with the 2019 AKC Paw of CourageSM award. This award shows appreciation for working canines that put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe, specifically recognizing those who are serving or have served their departments honorably and have demonstrated heroism in the line of duty.

“K9 Max of the Lubbock Police Department is a prime example of the hard work, loyalty and dedication that working dogs exhibit in the service of humankind,” said AKC Executive Secretary Gina DiNardo. “He continually risks his life in the line of duty to protect the people of his community and his bravery deserves to be recognized. The 2019 AKC Paw of Courage award gives us an opportunity to pay tribute to the sacrifice that K9 Max has made.”

K9 Max is a two-year-old Dutch Shepherd working with his handler, Corporal Brock Gruner, for the Lubbock Police Department in Texas. He is a multi-purpose police dog, trained in narcotics detection as well as criminal apprehension. K9 Max and Cpl. Gruner are certified with the National Narcotics Detection Dog Association in both narcotics and patrol work. K9 Max has been credited with several narcotics finds and suspect apprehensions since joining the department in February of 2019.

While responding to a vehicle theft this past August, K9 Max and Cpl. Gruner found themselves on a foot pursuit with a teen suspect who began firing at the pair with a stolen pistol. In an attempt to apprehend the suspect, K9 Max suffered two gunshot wounds; one in the front-left paw and one in the right-rear haunch. The dog was taken to an emergency veterinarian with non-life-threatening injuries.

K9 Max is expected to make a full recovery and pending an evaluation, return to duty with the Lubbock Police Department. When K9 Max is not on duty, he is a playful and friendly family pet that enjoys being with Cpl. Gruner and his family.

Any working dog is eligible to receive an AKC Paw of Courage; the award is not specific to purebred dogs. To nominate a dog for the next set of Paw of Courage awards, please email Recipients of the award, or their human partner, will receive a 2019 AKC Paw of Courage medal and a certificate of recognition. In addition, the recipients will receive a photo and profile on