DOG*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
Jackson Briggs (Channing Tatum) is an Army Ranger suffering from PTSD. He is currently working at a deli but is trying to apply for a rotation in Pakistan, but because of his conditions, he can’t be sent out there. He tries to call in favors but finds himself with no such luck.
Briggs gets a call informing him that his former squad mate Riley Rodriguez (Eric Urbiztondo) has been killed in action. He goes to have drinks with his fellow rangers, but when he tries to ask one of them for a recommendation for the rotation, he gets rebuffed.
Briggs is later called in to Fort Lewis to escort Riley’s dog Lulu, a Belgian Malinois, to his funeral in Nogales, AZ, after which Briggs is to bring Lulu to a base where she will get put down since Lulu has a history of aggressive behavior with other handlers, and nobody else would be willing to take her in. When Briggs attempts to take her in, Lulu pounces on him because he touched her ears, where she is sensitive.
On the road to Arizona, Briggs stops at a shooting range and takes Lulu’s muzzle off. She breaks out of her cage and tears up the fabric on Briggs’s car seats. He then buys a sausage and stuffs it with pills so Lulu can fall asleep. As she knocks out, Briggs drives to Oregon and stops at a bar where he tries to hit on multiple women, but his behavior and demeanor comes off as unappealing to all of them.
As Briggs is getting ready to continue driving, he checks on Lulu and is spotted by two friends, Bella (Emmy Raver-Lampman) and Zoe (Nicole LaLiberte), who are also with dogs of their own. They admire Lulu and invite Briggs back to their place where they begin to engage in a threesome. Lulu stays in the car and barks loudly, prompting a neighbor to check in and think that Lulu is being held in there as a means of abuse. Briggs goes to check on Lulu and sees the man throwing a rock at the back windshield to get Lulu out, but she runs out and attacks the man until Briggs pulls Lulu off. Bella and Zoe are mortified and don’t let Briggs stay.
Back on the road, Briggs talks to Lulu and reminisces about how she used to be gentle when Riley was alive. Lulu starts climbing out the back of the car, causing Briggs to swerve off-road. He chases after Lulu, who ends up running into a house. When Briggs follows her in, he is shot with a tranquilizer by the house’s owner, Gus (Kevin Nash). Thinking Briggs is some kind of intruder, he keeps him tied up. Briggs breaks himself free and prepares to attack Gus until he sees Gus’s wife Tamara (Jane Adams) taking care of Lulu, as she has a broken foot. She gives Briggs an edible while she tends to Lulu. Briggs and Gus talk over the misunderstanding and look over a booklet that Briggs carries with info about Lulu, including pics of her time in the Middle East. After Lulu is treated, Tamara gives Briggs ayahuasca, and their discussion reveals that Briggs has a three year old daughter named Sam (Jacqueline Seaman) that he hasn’t seen in a while.
Briggs returns to the road and stops at a hotel, where he pretends to be a blind veteran with Lulu as his seeing eye dog, and he gets a free room. He takes the time to give Lulu a bath even though she hates it. On his way to the lobby, Briggs flirts with the woman at the check-in desk, but Lulu spots a Middle Eastern man, Dr. Al-Farid (Junes Zahdi), and she runs to attack him while Briggs runs after her. He gets Lulu off her, but she is detained and he is arrested. At the station, he deals with an officer (Bill Burr) who makes racist comments about Al-Farid and thinks Briggs got off on having Lulu attack him. Briggs is put in a lineup but explains himself to Al-Farid, apologizing to him for what Lulu did but notes that Lulu just let her instincts take over because she was unfortunately trained to attack men who look like Al-Farid. He forgives Briggs and agrees not to press charges (although he urges Briggs to seek proper mental health treatment), allowing Briggs and Lulu to go free.
Briggs bonds with Lulu and makes a few stops in between to enjoy the sun. At one point, Briggs makes an attempt to see Sam and her mother Niki (Q’orianka Kilcher). He enters with a doll for her but comes back out after barely a minute with the doll, indicating that Niki doesn’t want Briggs in their daughter’s life. Briggs then drives to see the owner of Lulu’s twin brother Duke, a man named Noah (Ethan Suplee). He remembers Lulu and has an easier time getting Lulu to be gentle with him and give him a “Lulu hug”. After getting ready to leave, Briggs finds that someone broke into his car and stole his and Lulu’s belongings, as well as Riley’s uniform. Briggs and Noah use Lulu and Duke to track down the thieves and are brought to a pier full of homeless drug addicts. The guys find the man who stole Briggs’s stuff, and he pulls Riley’s jacket off him and gets most of their stuff back, minus Briggs’s meds.
After saying farewell to Noah, Briggs’s car breaks down on the road as it starts pouring rain. He brings Lulu into an unoccupied barn, but Lulu starts behaving roughly again and gets Briggs mad, yelling at her to go after him. She calms down and lays on a couch. After Briggs relaxes, he sets up a TV to put on “Grey’s Anatomy” since Lulu enjoyed watching with Riley.
The next morning, it is the day of the funeral. With no car and only hours to get there, Briggs and Lulu hitch a ride and are dropped off right at the funeral. Lulu goes to lay by the picture of Riley. Briggs stays with her and helps her relax when the other rangers do the rifle salute. Briggs gives Riley’s belongings to his parents.
Briggs gets his car fixed and starts to drive toward the base. He stops at a motel for the night, where he suffers a panic attack in the middle of the night. He struggles to get up in the bathroom, and Lulu goes to be by his side to help him calm down.
Briggs makes it to the base and also learns that his status on the rotation is now being considered. He says goodbye to Lulu and applies her muzzle. However, when he starts to drive away, he sees her struggling in fear. Briggs brings the car back and decides to take Lulu with him.
A voiceover from Briggs speaks a message to Lulu, shown over a montage. He is making preparations to legally adopt Lulu, and he also goes back to visit Noah and Duke, as well as spend more time with Niki and Sam. Briggs ends his message by telling Lulu that she saved him.
Jackson Briggs is an army ranger suffering from PTSD. He is tasked with escorting his deceased former partner Riley's service dog Lulu to his funeral in Arizona, per Riley's family's requests. Briggs is the only one left who is willing to handle Lulu, as she is known for being aggressive. After the funeral, he is set to bring her to a base where she will be put down.
On the road, Briggs bonds with Lulu despite her difficulties. He meets other people who help him handle Lulu better, as well as help him come to terms with his own personal problems. Briggs and Lulu make it to the funeral, and the night before he has to deliver Lulu to the base, he suffers a panic attack, and Lulu comes to comfort him.
Briggs brings Lulu to the base but ultimately cannot bear to let her go, so he takes her with him and makes plans to legally adopt her.