This was posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Fox 5 Atlanta (WAGA-TV) recently adopted a future canine assistant named Max. The Fox 5 staff over the next 18 to 24 months will work with the golden retriever, who will hopefully become a service dog for a military veteran.
Through a Milton-based non-profit Canine Assistants, trained employees rotate as foster parents who take Max home every day. By being at the TV station during the day, Max will learn how to become socialized and inured to meeting strangers who visit "Good Day Atlanta' regularly. Over time, he will learn skills such as opening doors and turning on lights.
Max came to Fox 5 January 17.
Constance Jones, morning host for "Good Day Atlanta," is one of the enthusiastic fans of the program. She said other TV stations have done similar adoptions such as NBC's "The Today Show" and the Fox affiliate in Austin, both last year.
"Needless to say, there are no shortage of volunteers," she said.
Foster parents watch him for two weeks at a time. "He can learn to be with kids, learn to be with other dogs," Jones said. She just moved to Atlanta last summer and moved into an apartment that does not allow dogs so she cannot foster. But she sees him every day.
"It's fun to go to work every single day and Max is there," Jones said. "Something about being around a dog is just amazing. No matter what I'm going through, there's Max wobbling down the hallway."
He's also doing media visits, to 94.9/The Bull and "Dish Nation."
Jones' father served in the military for 25 years, serving in Desert Shield and Desert Storm at Fort Hood, so she feels connected to the program's tenets.
She grew up in Oklahoma City and is acclimating to Atlanta. She lives near Piedmont Park and rides bikes on the Beltline regularly with her husband, an artist named Troy Simmons who specializes in sculpture. "I love the raw creative energy of the city," said Jones, who has family in Montgomery, Ala.
He has his own Twitter page, too: