The AKC Honors Dauntless Dogs With Paw of Courage Awards

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
Every day, working canines are putting their lives on the line to keep our communities safe. This award celebrates the bravest among the brave.

It’s not easy being a man’s best friend: if it were all treats and cuddles, felines would be all over that flattering title. Even though most canines get to enjoy their lives as pampered pets, some hounds spend their best years working on making the world a safer place.

Any K9 deserves our appreciation and respect for the courageous work they do, but The American Kennel Club decided to specially recognize those who are serving (or have served) their departments honorably and have demonstrated heroism in the line of duty. With the Paw of Courage Award, AKC hopes to express gratitude to canines who serve and protect.

These are the stories of the three heroic hounds that won 2018 Paws of Courage Awards–and all of our hearts.

K9 Max of San Diego Police Department, CA

K9 Max, five-year-old Belgian Malinois, served with the San Diego Police Department for two years at the time of his injury. In June of 2017, police officers responded to a radio call of a man acting bizarrely. K9 Max was deployed to apprehend the suspect, but as he approached, Max was stabbed several times. After a bit of a struggle, the man was taken into custody. Thankfully, Max has made a full recovery- and he’s now back to work full-time with his handler, Officer Luis Carbajal.

K9 Dingo of the Unified Police of Greater Salt Lake, UT

K9 Dingo, a seven-year-old Belgian Malinois, was a dedicated member of the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake. In July of 2017, Dingo was attempting to apprehend a violent parole fugitive. Dingo was deployed when the suspect fled on foot, and after a struggle, he was fatally injured. As an officer, Dingo held the department record for felony arrests and apprehensions, and he’ll always be remembered by those who he left behind.

K9 Apache of the Indiana State Police, IN

K9 Apache is a two-year-old Belgian Malinois working with the Indiana State Police for a little over a year. This past October, while conducting an investigation, the suspect fled and Apache was released to apprehend him. The suspect pulled a gun and fired two shots, one of which struck K-9 Apache in the neck, and turned to shoot at Apache’s handler when the brave canine reengaged him. Fortunately, K9 Apache made a full recovery and is reunited with this handler.

If you want to nominate a dog for the next set of Paw of Courage awards, you can do it through this form. Any courageous pooch is eligible for the award- regardless of their breed!

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

More by Angela Vuckovic