17th Annual AKC Humane Fund Awards Honor Hero Dogs

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
Five amazing dogs have been chosen as winners of the AKC Humane Fund. From K-9 and search and rescue to therapy and companion, these dogs go above and beyond the call of duty.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) Humane Fund has announced its winners of their 17th annual AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE) and the five deserving recipients truly are heroic. The awards are given to dogs who represent the best of five categories: Uniformed Services K-9, Service, Therapy, Search and Rescue and Exemplary Companion dog.

The esteemed group of champions include dogs who support organizations like the FBI, reduce stress levels of their humans, give mobility and independence to a paralyzed child, search for and rescue humans in distress and are willing to take dangerous animal bites to protect a child.

AKC Spokesperson Gina DiNardo said that these five dogs are inspiring in their impact on their families and their communities. They improve the lives of others, and their heroism should be recognized. Each winner will receive a $1000 donation to a pet-related charity of their choice, a year-long pet insurance policy from Pet Partners, Inc., and most nobly, they will be honored at a special, royal celebration for dogs called Regalia: A Royal Celebration for Those Who Champion Purebred Dogs on Friday, December 16t, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. At this celebration, they will be presented with a sterling silver medallion to honor their services.

Related: U K Military Dogs Honored For Service With Bravery Award

So, would you like to meet the amazing, heroic winners? Good – here they are!

The winner of the Uniformed Service K-9 category is “Radar,” a Bloodhound handled by Frank Hurst of Kiowa, Colorado.

K-9 “Deputy Radar,” is a four-year-old AKC-registered bloodhound from Elbert County, Colorado. He has been trained to find missing persons and track down criminals and evidence, and he started at the very young age of 10 weeks. He has worked in cases with nearly three dozen law-enforcement agencies, including the FBI. He assists in cases that deal with missing or exploited children, and belongs to NecroSearch International, a group that assists with the solving of cold-case homicides. He has been instrumental in several successful searches.

The winner of the Service Dog category is “Teddie,” a Labrador Retriever owned by Krystal Greco of North East, Maryland.

Five-year-old Labrador Retriever Teddie is a certified with Canine Partners for Life, and acts as the service dog for her owner. When she was just 14-years-old, Krystal became paralyzed from the waist down. The life-changing condition prevented her from being able to attend school regularly, as well as participate in other ‘normal’ activities a 14-year-old would, and she began feeling lonely, isolated and depressed. Teddie came into her life as her service animal in the middle of 2012, and it’s never been the same since! Now Teddie helps her do just about everything, including alerting her when she may need to use the bathroom. Teddie’s assistance has enabled Krystal to earn college degrees, work and travel.

The winner of the Therapy Dog category is “Jackie,” a Sussex Spaniel owned by Jan Hepper of San Francisco, California

Eight-year-old Sussex Spaniel Jackie is a certified therapy dog and works with the San Francisco SPCA Animal Assisted Therapy Program. As a therapy dog, she works in San Francisco International Aiport terminals, as part of the “Wag Brigade,” a program that allows therapy dogs to comfort people and help relieve anxiety associated with airline travel. A retired show dog, Jackie is a beautiful, cheerful addition to an often stress-filled situation. She roams the terminals wearing a vest that reads, “Pet Me,” and people happily do so!

The winner of the Search and Rescue Dog category is “Bodie,” a Belgian Malinois owned and handled by Amy Lavoie of Santee, California.

Eight-year-old Bodie is a search and rescue dog trained and certified in article search, trailing and human-remains detection. In his work with his handler, Bodie has helped local and federal law-enforcement agencies in several southwest states. Though his work is often tough in the desert heat or busy urban areas, he is a lover, as his nominator for the award says he has quite a reputation for kissing everywhere he goes.

The winner of the Exemplary Companion Dog category is “Haus,” a German Shepherd Dog owned by Tonya DeLuca of Tampa, Florida.

Two-year-old “Haus,” is owned by the DeLuca family of Tampa, Florida, and bravely protected seven-year-old Molly DeLuca by from a dangerous rattlesnake. He stepped in between Molly and the snake, standing his ground in protection even as he was bitten and bleeding, limping and crying. The family rushed him to their veterinarian’s office, where they found three snake bites that had injected copious amounts of venom in Haus. Haus fought for his life, being in intensive care for days before he was able to recover and return home to his beloved family. Haus’s bravery protected the DeLuca family from what could have been a deadly accident for their daughter, and he never wavered.

Bravo and congratulations to all these heroes!

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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