New York, NY – The AKC® Humane Fund is proud to announce the winners of the 19th annual AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE). These awards celebrate five loyal, hard-working dogs that have significantly improved the lives of their owners and communities.
One award is presented in each of the following five categories: Uniformed Service K-9, Service, Therapy, Search and Rescue and Exemplary Companion dog. This year’s winners range from a therapy dog who helped comfort students after a school shooting to a family pet who helps a young boy battle autism.
“Whether saving lives or providing comfort, these five ACE recipients serve as testimony to the immeasurable ways our canine companions touch our lives every day,” said Doug Ljungren, President of the AKC Humane Fund. “Each dog’s loyalty and dedication to their work and community is an inspiration to dog lovers everywhere. We’re thrilled to honor their achievements with an ACE Award.”
Each ACE recipient will receive $1,000 to be awarded to a pet-related charity of their choice, a one-year pet insurance policy from AKC Pet Insurance, and an engraved sterling silver medallion will be presented to each at the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin in Orlando, Florida held on Saturday and Sunday, December 15-16, 2018. The 2018 AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence are proudly sponsored by EUKANUBA™ Pet Food.
This year’s ACE winners are:
Uniformed Service K-9: “Copper,” a Black and Tan Coonhound handled by Officer Christopher Hattaway of Cocoa, Florida
“K-9 Copper,” officially known as Oak Hills Above and Beyond by Brenmaur, is a two-year-old Black and Tan Coonhound serving the Cocoa Police Department with his handler, Officer Chris Hattaway. He is a registered therapy dog and is trained to track missing persons. One of the most significant parts of his job as a Cocoa Police K-9 is community engagement and public relations. Copper’s role in the department has helped bridge the gap between the Cocoa community and the police. Copper’s presence during police interviews changes the atmosphere
for people who have been traumatized, including children, victims of sexual or domestic abuse, the elderly and more. Copper’s warm and comforting energy helps put victims’ minds at ease while interacting with police and telling their stories. His participation in interviews gives police the ability to create a bond and build trust with victims.
When Copper is not at work with the Cocoa Police, you might find him in the Conformation ring at a dog show or representing the Black and Tan Coonhound at the AKC Meet the Breeds booth at the AKC National Championship in Orlando. K-9 Copper has become somewhat of a local celebrity in his community and he also poses as an ambassador for his breed and his police department.
Service Dog: “Sampson,” a Golden Retriever owned by Joey Ramp of Foosland, Illinois “Sampson” is a three-year-old Golden Retriever certified by Paws Giving Independence. After a life-altering accident in 2006, Joey Ramp was left recovering from a brain injury, mobility complications and nerve damage. She was also struggling with the onset of complex-post traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). As Joey’s service dog, Sampson assists with mobility, bracing, climbing stairs and retrieving items, among other tasks. He alerts Joey to an elevation of PTSD symptoms, like panic and anxiety. When Ramp went on to pursue a PhD in Neuroscience she was faced with the challenge of her university not allowing service dogs in laboratories. Joey and Sampson fought the university policy to overcome service dog access obstacles. Sampson is now the first service dog to gain access to a biology and research laboratory at the University of Illinois. This big change in the university’s policy is now promoting change in other universities nationwide. The pair is currently working to launch a two-year research study to measure the impact a service dog has in a laboratory environment in hopes that it will help develop a national model for service dog accommodations. Joey has also developed a template for the American Chemical Society outlining service dog accommodations in chemistry laboratories and has designed chemical resistant outerwear for service dogs. When Joey and Sampson are not in a laboratory, they volunteer at community organizations to promote service dog awareness. As peer mentors, the team visits mental health, domestic violence and Veteran organizations to spread awareness. Together, Joey and Sampson have been able to break barriers and inspire others to help promote equal access for service dog teams in educational institutions and the work place. Therapy Dog: “Kol,” a Golden Retriever owned by Jane Eisenberg of Boynton Beach, Florida
“Kol,” an eight-year-old Golden Retriever, officially known as GCHB CH Gemini's House Of The Rising Sun CDX BN RAE JH THDD CGCA TKA, is certified by Paws for Assistance and owned by Jane Eisenberg. Kol is an AKC Grand Champion and has earned many AKC titles including the AKC Therapy Dog Distinguished (THDD) by completing at least 400 therapy dog visits. Jane and Kol have spent the past six years comforting people who have experienced trauma, but nothing was quite like their last assignment. They spent almost four months at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) in Parkland, Florida following the devastating shooting that occurred on February 14th.
Jane and Kol arrived to meet MSD students the day after the tragedy and braced themselves before entering. They spent the next few days comforting students, parents and faculty, but the team knew the grieving wasn’t nearing an end any time soon. They eventually were situated in room 723, directly across from where the shooting occurred. Kol greeted students as they
entered the classroom and would make his rounds, lending comfort to anyone in need. Many students were overcoming different struggles, including but not limited to: stress, anxiety, grief and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some of the students were even injured in the shooting. Room 723 became a place of peace and calmness, thanks to Kol. During classroom changes, Kol would gather his favorite stuffed animal and proudly strut through the halls of the school. As he walked down the hallways, Kol was greeted by students and would often bring smiles to their faces. Although Jane and Kol’s time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas has come to an end, the incredible pair has helped heal some wounded hearts along the way. Search and Rescue Dog: “Inspector Gadget,” a Bloodhound owned and handled by Robert Wells of Lancaster, California
“Inspector Gadget,” officially known as CH Inspector Gadget Sniffs Spottyacre, is an eleven-year-old Bloodhound. He is a Volunteer Mission Ready Search and Rescue Dog with the California Rescue Dog Association (CARDA). Inspector Gadget and his handler, Bob Wells, have deployed dozens of times to assist in locating the missing and bringing them home. The pair has dedicated thousands of hours to training and performing searches throughout the southwest. Inspector Gadget has established himself as an outstanding tracking dog in the field. In one case, Bob Wells and Gadget were deployed to Nevada to help locate a missing person. After trailing from the vehicle and following up on possible sightings, Gadget was able to lead the search team to the location of the subject. His tireless work on this case helped grant closure to a grief-stricken family. As a member of the Search and Rescue team, Inspector Gadget also attends community events to spread awareness and education.
Aside from Inspector Gadget’s rewarding work as a Search and Rescue volunteer, he also excels in the Conformation ring, earning himself an AKC Champion title. Although Inspector Gadget has a notable resume under his belt, he is first and foremost a loving family pet whose favorite spot is asleep on the couch.
Exemplary Companion Dog: “Teddy,” a Standard Poodle owned by Terri and Spencer Pardee of Harbor Springs, MI
“Teddy” is a six-year-old Standard Poodle, officially known as Jed’s Theodore Roosevelt SH CD BN RE TD TDU CGC. He is owned by Terri and Spencer Pardee and has helped Spencer gain confidence through his ongoing battle with autism. Spencer was adopted from Guatemala by the Pardee’s at just eight months old. He was highly intelligent with extreme anxieties and fears, later to be diagnosed with “high-functioning autism”. His fears even extended to their family Golden Retriever. Terri Pardee, a psychologist who focused heavily on animal-assisted therapy, wanted desperately to bring a dog into her son’s life. She brought him to 4-H events to help get him acclimated with dogs. However, rather than participating in training exercises, Spencer spent much of his time sitting under a tree, holding onto a leash with no dog at the other end. When the family Golden Retriever passed away, Pardee knew it was time to get another dog.
The Pardee family went on to purchase a Poodle puppy, Teddy, from a breeder nearby and life was never the same for them. Teddy and Spencer began bonding right away and Teddy slowly helped Spencer break out of his shell. The boy and dog duo began competing in various AKC sports like Obedience, Tracking, Rally, Agility and Junior Showmanship. The boy who once held an empty leash was now earning AKC titles and competing at events with hundreds of people. He was able to give an Obedience demonstration in front of a classroom of students who he was once afraid to sit with. Teddy opened up Spencer’s world and helped him face his fears in a way that may not have been possible without him.
The AKC Humane Fund, Inc. unites animal lovers in promoting the joy and value of responsible pet ownership through education, outreach and grant-making. The Fund provides financial grants to domestic violence shelters and Breed Rescue organizations and awards scholarships to students pursuing professions that strengthen the human-animal bond. The AKC Humane Fund’s Awards for Canine Excellence are given each year to promote the important role dogs play in our lives. Contributions to the AKC Humane Fund are fully tax deductible as allowed by law under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code. For more information, visit www.akchumanefund.org.
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Founded in 1884, the American Kennel Club is a not-for-profit organization which maintains the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world and oversees the sport of purebred dogs in the United States. The AKC is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function. Along with its more than 5,000 licensed and member clubs and its affiliated organizations, the AKC advocates for the purebred dog as a family companion, advances canine health and well-being, works to protect the rights of all dog owners and promotes responsible dog ownership. More than 22,000 competitions for AKC-registered purebred dogs are held under AKC rules and regulations each year including conformation, agility, obedience, rally, tracking, herding, lure coursing, coonhound events, hunt tests, field and earthdog tests. Affiliate AKC organizations include the AKC Humane Fund, AKC Canine Health Foundation, AKC Reunite and the AKC Museum of the Dog. For more information, visit www.akc.org.
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New York, NY – To celebrate the dogs who do extraordinary things in the service of humankind, the AKC Humane FundSM is seeking YOUR nominations for its AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE). Nominations are now open and winners will be announced in fall 2017.
Each year, the AKC Humane Fund pays tribute to five dedicated, hardworking dogs for making significant contributions to an individual or entire community. Since its creation in 2000, 85 ACE awards have been presented to dogs of various breeds, including one mixed-breed dog, from states across the nation. Former ACE recipients have included a police K-9 who uncovered the work of a serial killer and a family pet who fought for his life after saving a seven-year-old girl from a rattlesnake, among dozens of other incredible pups.
“There are countless dogs that improve the lives of individuals and communities across the nation each and every day,” said Gina DiNardo, American Kennel Club Executive Secretary and Director of the AKC Humane Fund. “These remarkable canines touch the hearts of many and deserve to be recognized for their selfless acts. We are proud to honor five of these canine heroes each year with an ACE Award.”
One award is given in each of the following five categories:
Uniformed Service K-9
Eligibility: Full-time working K-9s in the realms of city, county, state, or federal law enforcement; the military; firefighting; customs and border patrol; emergency services.
Eligibility: Dogs without formal training or certification that have nonetheless distinguished themselves in some way and have made a meaningful contribution to their owners or communities.
Search and Rescue
Eligibility: Dogs certified to assist in wilderness and urban tracking, natural disasters, mass casualty events and locating missing people.
Eligibility: Certified therapy dogs working in hospitals, schools, disaster sites, war zones, and wherever else the affection of a good dog can provide comfort.
Eligibility: Certified service dogs who enrich the lives of physically or mentally disabled owners. Including but not limited to guide dogs for the blind, seizure-alert dogs, hearing dogs, balance dogs.
**(Note: Nominees doing service or therapy work without certification are considered in the Exemplary Companion category.)
Honorees will receive an engraved sterling-silver medallion and an all-expenses-paid trip for dog and owner to Orlando, Florida, to be honored at the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin in December. A donation of $1,000 will also be made in each recipient’s name to the pet-related charity of their choice. The names of the five recipients will be added to the ACE plaque on permanent display in the AKC Humane Fund Library at AKC headquarters in New York City.
Anyone, including the dog’s owner or handler, may submit a nomination form. Submissions for the AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence for 2017 must include:
· A non-returnable, original print or digital photograph of the dog. All digital photos must be larger than 1MB in size and a minimum of 300 dpi. The photo should feature solely the nominated dog.
· A 500-word-or-less description of how the dog has demonstrated excellence.
· Dog’s call name, breed, age and sex.
· Owner’s/Nominator's name(s), address and phone number. E-mail address if available.
For more information about the ACE awards or to download a nomination form visit the AKC Humane Fund website.
New York, NY – The AKC® Humane Fund is pleased to announce the winners of the 17th annual AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE). These awards celebrate five loyal, hard-working dogs that have significantly improved the lives of their owners and communities.
One award is presented in each of the following five categories: Uniformed Service K-9, Service, Therapy, Search and Rescue and Exemplary Companion dog. This year’s winners include a Deputy K-9 Bloodhound who has worked with the FBI, a Labrador Retriever that helped a young girl gain her independence after suddenly becoming paralyzed, a retired show dog that helps comfort people in the airport, a search and rescue dog trained in three disciplines and a family pet who fought for his life protecting a seven-year-old.
“The heartwarming stories of the five ACE award winners exemplify the loyalty, commitment and companionship dogs give us,” said AKC Spokesperson Gina DiNardo. “Whether providing comfort or saving lives, each of these dogs has in some way improved the lives of others and the impact they have made on their community is truly inspiring.”
All of the ACE recipients will receive $1,000 to be awarded to a pet-related charity of their choice, a one-year pet insurance policy from Pet Partners, Inc., they will be honored at Regalia: A Royal Celebration for Those Who Champion Purebred Dogs on Friday, December 16th and an engraved sterling silver medallion will be presented to each at the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin in Orlando, Florida held on Saturday and Sunday, December 17-18, 2016.
This year’s ACE winners are:
Uniformed Service K-9: “Radar,” a Bloodhound handled by Frank Hurst of Kiowa, Colorado
“K-9 Deputy Radar” is a four-year-old AKC-registered Bloodhound serving in Elbert County, Colorado. His training for finding missing persons and tracking down criminals and evidence began at a mere ten weeks of age. Radar has worked cases with close to three dozen law-enforcement-agencies, including the Colorado Bureau of Investigation as well as the FBI. He has also assisted with cases for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Additionally, Radar is among just a handful of Bloodhound K-9s assisting NecroSearch International, a national group that solves cold-case homicides. Radar’s file includes an extensive list of successfully concluded searches.
Service Dog: “Teddie,” a Labrador Retriever owned by Krystal Greco of North East, Maryland
“Teddie” is a five-year-old Labrador Retriever certified with Canine Partners for Life. She is the service dog for her owner, Krystal Greco. Krystal suddenly became paralyzed from the waist down at age 14. Unable to attend school regularly, the housebound teenager began feeling depressed, isolated and lonely. Krystal contacted Canine Partners for Life in mid-2012 and Teddie came into her life the following year.
Teddie does everything from opening and closing doors to alerting Krystal, who cannot feel anything below the waist, when she might need to use the bathroom. With Teddie’s help, Krystal has earned three college associates degrees, works a part time job, travels and volunteers as a spokesperson and demonstrator for Canine Partners for Life. This fall Teddie will be by Krystal’s side as she begins her baccalaureate degree at Maryland University College.
Therapy Dog: “Jackie,” a Sussex Spaniel owned by Jan Hepper of San Francisco, California
“Jackie,” officially known as GCH CH Riverotter's Little Jackie Paper RA THD CGC, is an eight-year-old Sussex Spaniel certified through San Francisco SPCA Animal Assisted Therapy program. A new concept in airline passenger comfort was created in December 2013 when San Francisco International Airport launched the Wag Brigade, a program that brings therapy dogs to airport terminals in an effort to make air travel more enjoyable for passengers. Thanks to her eye-catching beauty and her cheerful, friendly disposition so typical of her breed, Jackie quickly became a star of this program after retiring from her career as a top show dog.
Each dog in the program is carefully selected based on temperament and airport suitability. The dogs roam the terminals wearing vests that read “Pet Me”. In a time of heightened security that has made airports stressful places for many, the Wag Brigade has made a soothing difference for passengers and airport employees alike. When Jackie is not busy decreasing stress levels at the airport, she visits Stanford University and San Francisco State University to help students relax during exams.
Search and Rescue Dog: “Bodie,” a Belgian Malinois owned and handled by Amy Lavoie of Santee, California
“Bodie,” an eight-year-old Belgian Malinois, is among the small circle of search-and-rescue dogs trained and certified in three distinct disciplines: article search, trailing and human-remains detection. Bodie and his handler, Amy, have assisted local and federal law-enforcement in Southern California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah for the past seven years. Whether they are working in the sweltering desert heat or in bustling cities, this duo keeps very busy, averaging 20 searches per year along with several hours of training. “He has quite the reputation for all the kisses he gives,” his nominator, Randy Thomsen, says, “and there have been many officers that have finished their shift with Bodie fur on their uniforms from the loving lean he does whenever he meets someone.”
Exemplary Companion Dog: “Haus,” a German Shepherd Dog owned by Tonya DeLuca of Tampa, Florida
“Haus,” a two-year-old German Shepherd Dog, owned by the DeLuca family of Tampa, Florida, fought for his life after stepping between seven-year-old Molly DeLuca and a rattlesnake. Haus was in the backyard with Molly and her grandmother when Mrs. DeLuca saw the dog jump several times but still stand his ground. She saw blood coming from Haus and he began limping and crying and she quickly realized it was a rattlesnake that he was facing. Veterinarians identified three snake bites on Haus, who was injected with substantial amounts of venom; so much that he needed a steady drip of antivenin, instead of the more common one to two doses. Haus was in intensive care, his life on the line, after faithfully protecting the little girl. He was able to recover from his injuries and returned home to the DeLuca family. Mrs. DeLuca is extremely grateful that Haus was there to protect her daughter from what could have been a deadly incident.