Kokomo Tribune, Ind.
DENVER, Ind. — A Miami County native is co-starring in the second-highest grossing movie out in theaters right now, but she isn’t a famous actor.
She’s a Belgian Malinois named Britta taking on the title role in the new movie “Dog.” She stars beside Channing Tatum as Lulu, a troubled Army K-9 trying to make it home to her handler’s funeral. The film opened in theaters Feb. 18.
But before Britta hit the big screen as Lulu, she was raised and trained at Vohne Liche Kennels, located just off U.S. 31 in northern Miami County.
Since 1993, the kennel has trained thousands of dogs for police departments, the military, the Secret Service and dozens of other agencies. Each K-9 can be trained to track, patrol, attack or detect narcotics and bombs.
But when the movie’s producers called the kennel in 2020, they weren’t looking for any of those specialties. They were looking for a movie star.
Ken Licklider, the founder and owner of Vohne Liche, said it’s not surprising these days to get calls from producers or movie directors looking for a dog. In fact, his animals have been featured in the 2015 crime thriller “Sicario” and two movies from the “John Wick” franchise.
Licklider and his team also took center stage in their own reality TV show called ” Alpha Dogs,” which had a 16-episode season in 2013.
Those credentials led producers from “Dog” to reach out to Licklider to find the perfect K-9 for their movie.
“They know the quality of dogs we have, so they called us up to come out and test the dogs and then put them in the movie,” he said.
But they didn’t just want one dog for the film. They actually ended up buying three, all of which take turns starring beside Tatum, depending on the personality they needed for each scene.
Licklider said he keeps over 200 dogs at his kennel, and people with the movie flew out to handpick the three they wanted. All the dogs had already been trained in obedience and biting.
“Lassie was 11 dogs,” he said. “They have to get more than one to do all the different things, because one dog may not do everything. It’s pretty interesting stuff.”
Co-director Reid Carolin told moviemaker.com that Britta is the lead dog in 80% of the movie because of her “very expressive face.” Lana 5 plays a version of Lulu who loves belly rubs, and Zuza plays the more aggressive scenes.
Licklider said that although his K-9s have been featured in other movies and shows, this is the first time they’ve co-starred in a lead role.
The film was extra special, considering the dogs play a former Army Ranger that served with their handler in Iraq before he was killed. Licklider said his kennel actually did train all the K-9s who served as Army Rangers or in special forces units during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The dogs’ acting careers are likely over now that the movie has been released, but all of them have found loving homes with the trainers who prepared them for the movie, reported moviemaker.com.
“Interestingly enough, all three of the dogs now are fully bonded with their trainers, and they’ve all been adopted out and they have these wonderful lives in different parts of country,” Carolin said. “It’s a real cool, happy ending for each of the dogs, and they’re best friends with their trainers.”
Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @carsongerber1.
(c)2022 the Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, Ind.)
Visit the Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, Ind.) at www.kokomotribune.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.