CBS series ‘Lucky Dog’ brings rescued terrier to Lancaster home

Dr. Robert Devlin, Brandon McMillan with Scout, and Dr. Todd Henderson
Photo by Mandy Catoe

Nutramax new sponsor for Emmy-winning show

By Mandy Catoe
For The Lancaster News
December 10, 2017

Photo supplied

Scout, a frisky 4-month-old poodle terrier, scooted between the legs of Lancaster executives and one TV star at Nutramax Laboratories’ warehouse on Flat Creek Road.
Brandon McMillan, the host of CBS’ Emmy-winning Saturday morning show “Lucky Dog,” was sitting at a conference table with Nutramax CEO Dr. Todd Henderson and veterinarian Dr. Robert Devlin.
The executives in business suits broke out in smiles as they twisted and turned in their chairs to give the black-and-white terrier a pat on his head.
“Scout is a rock-star puppy,” McMillan said.
“Lucky Dog,” now in its fifth season, was in town recently to film its first-ever episode in the Carolinas and to celebrate its new partnership with Lancaster-based Nutramax.
Each week, the show features  McMillan training a rescued shelter dog for an individual or family. The dog develops trust and becomes a lovable pet. Some even become service dogs. The show ends with McMillan presenting the dog to its new owner.
Scout was in Lancaster to stay. McMillan trained him to offer emotional support to a Nutramax employee who is battling cancer and grieving the recent death of her dog.
“She feels a huge void in her life and reached out to us,” McMillan said.  “When she described the qualities she was looking for, I told her I had the perfect dog for her.”
McMillan rescued Scout at 8 weeks from a Los Angeles shelter.
“His previous family dumped him at the shelter because he had fleas,” McMillan said, shaking his head. “He is one of the most stable personalities and confident puppies ever.”
The “Lucky Dog” crew spent the rest of the week privately taping the presentation of Scout to the employee. The production company kept the taping under wraps. The show will air next spring and reveal the moment when Scout begins his new life.

Dr. Henderson gives McMillan a tour of Nutramax
Photo by Mandy Catoe



Photo by Mandy Catoe

Fitting partnership
Nutramax, a family-owned business founded by Dr. Bob Henderson in 1992, moved its veterinary sciences headquarters from Maryland to Lancaster in 2010.
Now in its seventh year in the Red Rose City, it has a workforce of more than 300. It researches, develops and manufactures nutritional supplements for animals and humans.
Todd Henderson said his advertising agency recently suggested that Nutramax sponsor the popular CBS show.
“My kids watch ‘Lucky Dog’ every Saturday morning, so I was familiar with the show,” Henderson said. “I respected that it was pro-veterinarian.”
The Lancaster-based business reached out to McMillan to see if he was familiar with their products.
The partnership was a no-brainer when McMillan told them he has been giving Cosequin, Nutramax’s flagship joint supplement, to his dogs for the past 20 years.
McMillan said companies frequently ask “Lucky Dog” to promote their products.
“I have said no more times than yes,” he said. “When Nutramax approached us, the hair on the back of my neck stood up, because finally, not only a company whose products I use, but one that backs up what they say, asked us.”
McMillan said he gives his dogs Cosequin in their early years. Rather than waiting for age-related arthritis or stiffness, he puts them on a maintenance schedule, giving them a longer life of activity and good health.
Henderson and McMillan agree the partnership supports their mutual values.
“It’s a good synergy because of Brandon’s values and our medical input,” Henderson said. “We are all in favor of saving these animals from the shelter. It’s a really good partnership.”


Photo by Mandy Catoe

About McMillan
McMillan, 40, was born into a family of animal trainers who were taught by famed lion tamer Gunther Gebel-Williams. Gebel-Williams tamed lions for Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus.
McMillan moved from New Jersey to Los Angeles in 1996 and trained animals for the movies for 15 years. He also trained the pets of various celebrities including Ellen Degeneres, James Caan, Hugh Hefner and Kate Hudson.
McMillan also hosts a documentary on the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week called “Great White Serial Killer,” in which he investigates shark attacks on humans.
In 2011, he trained his first service dog for a disabled veteran who had lost both legs in Afghanistan. After delivering the dog to the double amputee at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., he was hooked. He returned to California and focused on training service and therapy dogs.
He began rescuing and training shelter dogs after hearing that America euthanizes 1.5 million dogs each year because they are homeless.
“It is happening right here in every big city and small town in America,” he said. “That is an epidemic. I figured I could do something about it by training dogs and finding them a home.”
McMillan said he has rescued, trained and found homes for 800 to 1,000 dogs.
That moment of giving the dog to its new owner is still a challenging one for him.
“I have to walk away,” McMillan said. “The best day of my life and the worst day of my life is when I give them to their forever home. It’s the day I smile the most and cry the most.”
McMillan says it is, in the end, rewarding to let the dogs go.
“Seeing the smile on the faces of the people receiving the rescued dogs make it all worthwhile,” he said. “It’s like the famous bumper sticker on the car ‘who rescued who?’ and we know the dog rescued the person.”


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