Nominations open for canine heroes

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The AKC Humane FundSM is seeking nominations for its AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE) to celebrate the dogs who do extraordinary things in the service of humankind.

Nominations are open now through July 1, and winners will be announced in late 2022. Winners will be highlighted in a made-for-tv special created by AKC productions.

Each year, the AKC Humane Fund honors five dedicated, hardworking dogs for making significant contributions to an individual or entire community.

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.

Exemplary Companion
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: 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.

Nominees doing therapy work without certification are considered in the Exemplary Companion category.

The 2022 AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence are sponsored by Eukanuba™. Honorees of the AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE) will receive $1,000 to be awarded to a pet-related charity of their choice, a one-year supply of Eukanuba premium dog nutrition, and an engraved sterling silver medallion.

Anyone, including the dog’s owner or handler, may submit a nomination. Past nominations are eligible for resubmission for these awards. Submissions for the AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence for 2022 must include:

  • A digital photograph of the dog. Files 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, phone number and e-mail address.

Nominations can be submitted here, with a photo sent to

For more information about the ACE awards or to nominate a dog, visit the AKC Humane Fund Awards For Canine Excellence (ACE) page.


SOURCE AKC Humane Fund

Study finds therapy dog program benefits stressed college students more than traditional stress-management

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Programs exclusively focused on petting therapy dogs improved stressed-out college students’ thinking and planning skills more effectively than programs that included traditional stress-management information, according to new Washington State University research.

The study was published recently in the journal AERA Open, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.

The paper demonstrated that stressed students still exhibited these cognitive skills improvements up to six weeks after completion of the four-week-long program.

“It’s a really powerful finding,” said Patricia Pendry, associate professor in WSU’s Department of Human Development in a press release about the research.. “Universities are doing a lot of great work trying to help students succeed academically, especially those who may be at risk due to a history of mental health issues or academic and learning issues. This study shows that traditional stress management approaches aren’t as effective for this population compared with programs that focus on providing opportunities to interact with therapy dogs.”

The researchers measured skills that are needed to succeed in college, such as planning and organizing, in the 309 students involved in the study.

Pendry conducted this study as a follow up to previous work, which found that petting animals for just 10 minutes had physiological impacts, reducing students’ stress in the short-term.

In the three-year study, students were randomly assigned to one of three academic stress-management programs featuring varying combinations of human-animal interaction and evidenced-based academic stress management. The dogs and volunteer handlers were provided through Palouse Paws, a local affiliate of Pet Partners, a national organization with over 10,000 therapy teams.

Many universities, including WSU, have provided academic stress management programs and workshops for many years. These are traditionally very similar to college classes, where students listen to an expert, watch slideshows and take notes. They’re often evidence-based courses that talk about ways to get more sleep, set goals, or manage stress or anxiety.

“These are really important topics, and these workshops are helping typical students succeed by teaching them how to manage stress,” Pendry said. “Interestingly though, our findings suggest that these types of educational workshops are less effective for students that are struggling. It seems that students may experience these programs as another lecture, which is exactly what causes the students to feel stressed.”

Human-animal interaction programs help by letting struggling students relax as they talk and think about their stressors. Through petting animals, they are more likely to relax and cope with these stressors rather than become overwhelmed. This enhances students’ ability to think, set goals, get motivated, concentrate and remember what they are learning, Pendry said.

Pendry conducted the study with the support of WSU graduate students Alexa Carr and Jaymie Vandagriff and Nancy Gee, professor and director of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for Human-Animal Interaction.

The study was supported by a grant through the WALTHAM Human-Animal Interaction Collaborative Research Program.

Featured photo:

Enzo, a Labrador retriever and experienced therapy dog, enjoys some attention and relaxation during the WSU stress management study with students.

Credit — Washington State University



Real-life hero cow assists police with apprehension of suspect

Reading Time: 2 minutesBesides providing milk for the family, apparently some cows provide other valuable services.

Michelle Hearn-Berge of California, posted on a Facebook group, Keeping a Family Cow, that police were chasing a man on her property the day before. She had no idea that this was happening until the man was about three or four feet from her.

“I screamed when I saw him and my cow, Opal, that was nearby came running up from behind me and chased him down the hill where the police tackled and arrested him,” Hearn-Berge posted.

She added that, it was scary to think what could have happened if her four-legged protector hadn’t been there.

Opal's property

property of hero cow
photo used with permission of Michelle Hearn-Berge

“I’m looking forward to many many more years with my friend Opal,” Hearn-Berge said in her post.

And, while a cow assisting with arrest sounds unusual, it seems that many who own family cows are familiar with cows laying down the law when it comes to their property or the people who live on it.

A number of people in the group commented on the post to share stories of their own cow or bull that had acted protectively to protect them from a person or animal.

So criminals and tresspassers beware. That innocent-looking cow might just be sizing you up! And the average, large cow weighs about 800 pounds.

Featured Image: Opal, the hero cow. Used with permission of Michelle Hearn-Berge


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Company using ‘super accurate’ trained dogs to sniff out bed bugs

Reading Time: 2 minutesAccording to a press release, some dogs in New Jersey are employees in a unique line of work.

Bed Bug Sniffers, a bed bug inspection service based out of Burlington, New Jersey, recently announced the launch of its new operation.

It will serve residents and business owners in Burlington County and Camden County by assisting them in identifying bed bug infestations.
But, unlike other bed bug inspectors that rely on human-based detection methods, Bed Bug Sniffers utilizes the acute sense of smell possessed by canines.

“Our bed bug dogs are unreal in terms of how accurate and fast they can be,” said Bed Bug Sniffers Owner Ryan Lees, who decided to open a canine bed bug inspection company in Burlington because he saw a need for more reliable bed bug detection services in his local community. “They’ve gone through certified training to be able to sniff around a room, immediately pick up the scent of bed bugs, and tell us where they’re located. The whole process only takes a couple of minutes per room.”

Lees added in the press release that the process is amazing to watch (and, we would have to say, likely the cutest way to get the bad news if you have bed bugs).

According to the American Kennel Club, dogs have around 225 million scent receptors in their noses while humans have only 5 million. By the way, for a somewhat related, fun quiz, check out the AKC’s “Sniffing Out the Sniffer” quiz at the following link, which lets people try out their hand at identifying dog breeds based on pictures of their noses:

Research conducted at the University of Florida shows that canines are able to identify the presence of bed bugs versus other insects with a positive accuracy rate of 97.5% and that they can also differentiate live bed bugs and viable eggs from dead ones with an accuracy rate of 95%.

Bed Bug Sniffers officially opened for business in January 2021. It provides bed bug inspection services to residential and commercial customers in Burlington, Cherry Hill, Mount Holly, and surrounding communities. For more information, visit:


•Pfiester, Margie et al. “Ability of bed bug-detecting canines to locate live bed bugs and viable bed bug eggs.” Journal of economic entomology vol. 101,4 (2008): 1389-96. doi:10.1603/0022-0493(2008)101[1389:aobbct];2


Australian shepherd wins ‘Farm Dog of the Year’ award for hard work, devotion and making life better

Pet therapy stories blog launched to honor dog helping humans

German Shepherd receives Paw of Courage award

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The American Kennel Club (AKC®) is proud to honor K9 Arlo of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office with the 2021 AKC Paw of CourageSM award as he recovers from two bullet wounds that he sustained while working in the line of duty in January.

The AKC Paw of Courage shows appreciation for the work that dogs do in the service of humankind, recognizing dogs who serve their communities honorably by making great impacts in the lives of their human counterparts.

“K9 Arlo of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department is a shining example of the dedication, selflessness and loyalty that working dogs exhibit in the line of duty,” said AKC Executive Secretary, Gina DiNardo in a press release announcing the award. “He risks his life each and every day to protect his community and we are honored to recognize him with a Paw of Courage award. We wish him a speedy recovery as he heals from his recent injury.”

K9 Arlo is a two-year-old German Shepherd Dog who has served with his partner, Deputy Turpin, since late 2019.

As deputies attempted to make contact with a vehicle that was driving recklessly this past January, a pursuit initiated. When law enforcement made contact with the driver, shots were fired, and the suspect and K9 Arlo were both struck. Arlo was rushed to the emergency veterinarian with two bullet wounds – one in his shoulder and another in his hind leg. One bullet was discovered to be lodged near Arlo’s spine, requiring a major surgery.

Using the social media app, TikTok, Deputy Turpin has gained 65,000 followers for K9 Arlo, contributing to the $40,000 raised for his care.

K9 Arlo is now home with his partner, Deputy Turpin and is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries.

Any dog is eligible to receive an AKC Paw of Courage; the award is not specific to purebred dogs.

Paw of Courage awards can be presented to Police K-9s, Military Working Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Service Dogs and other canines that work to make the lives of the people around them safer, easier or happier.

To nominate a dog for a Paw of Courage award, click here.

SOURCE American Kennel Club

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Australian shepherd wins ‘Farm Dog of the Year’ award for hard work, devotion and making life better


Australian shepherd wins ‘Farm Dog of the Year’ award for hard work, devotion and making life better

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Bindi and Sonja

Sonja Galley and Bindi, the 2021 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year Credit: Nestle Purina PetCare

The winner of the 2021 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year award was recently announced as being Bindi, a 5-year-old life-saving Australian shepherd from New York, according to a press release.

Recognizing that work on the family farm takes everyone pitching in and doing their part, including four-legged friends, Farm Bureau launched the Farm Dog of the Year contest three years ago.

Purina donated prizes for the contest again this year. This included $5,000 in prize money, a trophy plate, a year’s supply of dog food and other Purina products for Bindi.

The contest celebrates farm dogs that work alongside farmers and ranchers to produce nutritious food for families and their pets across America, and is popular with farmers and the general public alike, reaching nearly 400,000 users on social media through People’s Choice Pup.

The American Farm Bureau Federation, with support from Nestlé Purina PetCare, recognized Bindi, four regional runners-up and a People’s Choice Pup at the American Farm Bureau Virtual Convention.

You can check out Bindi, along with her striking, two different colored eyes, and her human, Sonja Galley in this video:



Bindi has been part of the family dairy farm since she was a puppy.

“Bindi is especially good at working in tight spaces to help move animals around the farm,” Galley said in the press release. “She stays calm even when the calves kick up their heels at her.”

The hard working dog is also very protective and once pushed back a young cow that had pinned Galley in the corner of a pen.

“We do a lot of things together, and she’s a big source of joy in my life,” Galley said.

A panel of judges with expertise in the pet care industry, veterinary medicine and communications reviewed 90 nominations to select the 2021 Farm Dog of the Year.

Judging criteria included the dog’s helpfulness to the farmer and his/her family, playfulness and their role in making life better on and off the farm. Farm Bureau members submitted written responses to questions, photos and video clips to nominate their dogs for Farm Dog of the Year.

Four regional runners-up in the contest will each also receive $1,000 in prize money, a trophy plate and Purina products. They are:

•Rayne, owned by Illinois Farm Bureau member Julie Willis, from the Midwest region;


    Rayne, owned by Illinois Farm Bureau member Julie Willis Credit: Julie Willis

•Sawyer, owned by Massachusetts Farm Bureau member Elizabeth Smith, from the Northeast region. Sawyer was also named People’s Choice Pup in a social media contest with online voting as part of the overall competition. Sawyer won bragging rights, a year’s supply of dog food and other Purina products.


Sawyer, owned by Massachusetts Farm Bureau member Elizabeth Smith Credit: Elizabeth Smith

Mike, owned by Montana Farm Bureau member Tim Feddes, from the Western region;


Mike, owned by Montana Farm Bureau member Tim Feddes Credit: Tim Feddes

and Ajax, owned by Texas Farm Bureau member Alexis Ender, from the Southern region.


Ajax, owned by Texas Farm Bureau member Alexis Ender Credit: Alexis Ender


Five other dogs rounded out the top 10 in the overall Farm Dog of the Year contest and were contenders for People’s Choice Pup:

•Jade, owned by California Farm Bureau member Lindsey Swall;

•Cash, owned by Idaho Farm Bureau member Carol Gerken;

•Keeper, owned by Kansas Farm Bureau member Donna Ashcraft;

•Pepper, owned by Tennessee Farm Bureau members Tom and Stephanie Barnett;

•and Dasher, owned by Virginia Farm Bureau member Sandy Riepe.

Learn more about the contest at

Purina is a sponsor of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s Night In at the American Farm Bureau Virtual Convention.

About American Farm Bureau Federation
The American Farm Bureau Federation is the Voice of Agriculture working together to build a sustainable future of safe and abundant food, fiber and renewable fuel for our nation and the world.


Doggie Day at the Farm fundraising event

Four-pound dog who gives away tons of love wins nation’s top title at the 2020 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®: 10th Anniversary Celebration

2019’s World’s Ugliest Dog Contest winner is lovingly known as ‘fuzzy watermelon’

Pet Partners’ initiative encourages reading to pets while many kids learning from home

Reading Time: 2 minutesAccording to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), of the world’s 1.5 billion pre-primary to secondary students, only one in three will attend school in classrooms this fall.

As many parents continue to work from home, they are also helping their children learn virtually.

Pet Partners and Elanco are partnering for a new initiative, We Are All Ears, a Worldwide Read with Pets Project. The initiative encourages families and children to read to their pets.

“Reading to pets is an amazing way to get children excited about reading and engaged with the content,” said C. Annie Peters, president and CEO of Pet Partners in a press release. “Children who are learning to read are often hesitant about their reading abilities. Many kids feel more at ease reading to pets,who are simply there to listen – not to judge how well they are reading.”

Pet Partners is the national leader in demonstrating and promoting the health and wellness benefits of animal-assisted therapy, activities, and education. With most Pet Partners’ registered volunteer therapy animal teams across the country unable to conduct their regular therapy animal visits due to COVID-related restrictions, the organization is leading this already-proven animal-assisted activity, which is based on their Read With Me™ initiative involving children reading to therapy animals.

The press release offers the following tips for successfully reading to your pet:
• Set up a comfortable spot for the reader and pet to sit.
• Pets can get distracted, so have a favorite pet toy on hand to keep the pet engaged.
• Encourage your child to pause and pet your animal to keep them settled down and comfortable during the reading session.
• Reward your pet for their good listening behavior with a treat at the end of the reading session.

Participants are also encouraged to share photos and videos online using #WeAreAllEars and #PetPartners

When a family takes the pledge to read at home to their pets, they can determine a reading goal that is right for them, whether it is to read a certain number of books, pages, chapters, or minutes.

Families can also access some great resources to support families as they participate in We Are All Ears including a reading log, bookmark templates, a special BINGO card and a pet bandana, all to help encourage regular reading. A Certificate of Completion is also available
for parents to present to their child and pets upon reaching their goals. An official We Are All Ears T-shirt is for sale, with proceeds benefiting Pet Partners.

With more than 13,000 registered teams making more than 3 million visits annually, Pet Partners serves as the nation’s most prestigious nonprofit registering handlers of multiple species as volunteer teams.

Pet Partners teams visit with patients in recovery, people with intellectual disabilities, seniors living with Alzheimer’s, students, veterans with PTSD, and those approaching end of life, improving human health and well-being through the human-animal bond.

For more information on Pet Partners, visit

Elanco Animal Health is dedicated to innovating and delivering products and services to prevent and treat disease in farm animals and pets, creating value for farmers, pet owners, veterinarians, stakeholders, and society as a whole. Learn more at

Social Media Channels:

Facebook: @PetsForHealth

Twitter: @Pet_Partners

Instagram: @PetPartners

Facebook: @Elanco

Twitter: @Elanco4Pets

Instagram: @Elanco4Pets

Four-pound dog who gives away tons of love wins nation’s top title at the 2020 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®: 10th Anniversary Celebration

Reading Time: 8 minutes

It’s been said that MacKenzie could mother anything from an ant to an elephant, nurturing countless puppies, kittens, a goat, a turkey, a squirrel, birds, a mouse, and despite her tiny size, even a Great Dane.

The smallest dog won the biggest prize at this year’s American Humane Hero Dog Awards as MacKenzie walked off with the title of 2020’s American Hero Dog.

A Chihuahua who weighs only four pounds but gives away tons of love has been named the country’s most heroic canine and captured the top title at the American Humane Hero Dog Awards®: 10th Anniversary Celebration, which was broadcast nationwide recently on the Hallmark Channel.
The pint-sized pup, MacKenzie’s win was based on more than a million votes by the American public and the deliberations of a panel of celebrity animal lovers and dog experts.

“The American Humane Hero Dog Awards were created to honor some of the world’s most extraordinary heroes,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization. “These heroic canines have gone above and beyond the call of duty, saving lives on the battlefield, comforting the ill and aged, and reminding us of the powerful, age-old bond between animals and people.”

Ganzert added that all seven category winners exemplify what it means to be a hero.

“We hope that their stories, including MacKenzie’s, will inspire people to value our animal friends and recognize how much they do for us every day,” Ganzert said.

Born with a cleft palate and contracting aspiration pneumonia which nearly took her life, this rescue dog epitomizes what it means to be a hero, by overcoming her birth defect and going on to help hundreds of other rescue animals and provide children with world-changing lessons in empathy.

Her job is to provide love and care for baby rescue animals born with birth defects.

Most of the rescued animals are babies who cannot stay with their mothers because of their medical problems. MacKenzie takes an interest in each baby from day one, no matter the species or size. She plays nurse and cleans, comforts, and cuddles them. She acts as their mother and teaches them how to socialize, play, and have good manners.

It’s been said that MacKenzie could mother anything from an ant to an elephant, nurturing countless puppies, kittens, a goat, a turkey, a squirrel, birds, a mouse, and despite her tiny size, even a Great Dane.

MacKenzie’s other important role is to interact with children at schools, so they learn to be open-minded toward animals and people with physical differences. They learn kindness, patience, and that you can make a difference in the world no matter how small you are.

MacKenzie may have lost her ability to bark, but she still makes herself heard and speaks for other animals born with defects and she is an example of how rescuing animals often helps save more than just one life.

For her extraordinary good works, MacKenzie, who comes from Hilton, New York, first won the top title in her individual category, becoming the country’s Hero Shelter Dog of the Year, and then in the last round winning the American Humane Hero Dog Awards’ top title of 2020’s American Hero Dog.

The star-studded, nationally broadcast awards were hosted by television personality, actor and designer Carson Kressley, accompanied by a galaxy of celebrity stars and presenters.

The Hero Dog Awards were created to celebrate the powerful relationship between dogs and people and recognize extraordinary acts of heroism performed by ordinary dogs. The program was aired as part of Hallmark Channel’s cross-platform advocacy campaign designed to celebrate the joy and enrichment animals bring to our lives.

During American Humane’s annual “Adopt-a-Dog Month” this October, the organization teamed up with Hallmark Channel’s “Adoption Ever After” campaign to help get more of the millions of beautiful animals left in shelters each year into forever homes.

All Finalists Are Winners

MacKenzie was the one chosen as 2020 American Hero Dog, but all seven finalists were the nation’s top winners in their categories:

2020 Therapy Dog of the Year (category sponsored by World Pet Association)



Olive (Jefferson City, Missouri) – From hopeless and homeless to living her purpose, Olive was rescued from the streets of Los Angeles by Brandon McMillan, host and animal trainer of the Emmy Award-winning CBS show, “Lucky Dog.”

Lisa Groves Bax, a child advocate volunteer for abused/neglected children in the judicial system in Missouri, saw the need for a resource to assist the scores of children facing the daunting task of appearing or testifying in court. After extensive training with Brandon McMillan, Olive was united with her forever family in Missouri, and ready to live her purpose as a certified therapy dog.

Olive has served more than 300 children since beginning in the court system in 2016, and continues to assist children with extremely difficult criminal trials in order to get a conviction against the abusers.

2020 Service Dog of the Year (category sponsored by Lulu’s Fund)

Dolly Pawton

Dolly Pawton

Dolly Pawton (Naples, Maine) – Dolly Pawton is a cardiac alert dog, trained to alert if her human’s blood pressure drops or heart rate rises to an unsafe level.

Dolly gave her human the self-confidence and inspiration to write and illustrate a children’s book called “Pawsibly the Best Medicine.” It is a biography of Dolly told with a bit of humorous fiction. The pair bring her book to schools to educate children about service dogs.

Says her human, “She is truly my most crucial medical equipment with a loving, beating heart. I don’t know what I would do without her in my life and she is my hero.”

2020 Military Dog of the Year



Blue ll P491 (Lawrenceville, Georgia) – “Blue served our country valiantly from 2011 to 2018. I served as her first handler on my second deployment to Afghanistan, which was her first deployment as an Improvised Explosive Device Detector Dog. While deployed, Blue and I went on over 300 combat missions. She found many IEDs, saving me, along with many Marines and Sailors during our deployment. Once we parted ways, I vowed to find her and adopt her one day. Six years later, she came up for review on her disposition while she was stationed in Okinawa, Japan where she served as an SSD. After seven years of honorable service, she retired in November 2018 and made her way from Japan to Georgia. She’s been enjoying her retirement with my family and me ever since. Blue is our own personal hero and deserves to be recognized as one in her life.

2020 Guide/Hearing Dog of the Year



Aura (Brunswick, Maine) – Aura is a trained hearing service dog for her human who lost his hearing in a rocket attack in Afghanistan.

Says her human, “I was in despair after my injuries. I needed a helper. What I received was a fur guardian angel. She has restored my independence. I went from being a blown-up deaf person to a person who now feels safe and secure in the world.  She never has a day off and I rely on her to keep me safe. She provides me with the confidence I need to interact in the world. She has allowed me to pursue my passions and purpose in life. I have no regrets about losing my hearing, I would trade my ears for Aura any day.”

2020 Law Enforcement Dog of the Year 



K-9 Cody (Newport News, Virginia) – K-9 Cody started her career in explosives detection in Iraq, working hard to keep U.S. personnel safe at the U.S. Embassy. K-9 Cody was transferred back to the United States, where she continued her explosives detection career working at the Mall of America.

She quickly stood out as a phenomenal K-9, and not just because of her ability to detect explosives, but also because of her calm and loving demeanor. K-9 Cody was transferred to her current position in Virginia, helping to safeguard such places as Busch Gardens and events for the LPGA, NBA, and the Fourth of July parade in Bristol, Rhode Island.

She also helps the local agencies with bomb threats. In her off-time, she can be found doing demonstrations at local schools, churches, and festivals.

2020 Search and Rescue Dog of the Year



Remington (Montgomery, Texas) – K9 Remington is more than just a retired search and rescue K9; he is a cancer fighter and survivor, an advocate for retired K9s and for dogs to be in the fire service.

Remi was nationally certified in human remains detection and worked many cases across the United States with Special K9s SAR. Remi has spent his entire life fighting for those who could not fight by assisting law enforcement in locating remains or evidence. His deployments range from missing people, cold cases, and Hurricane Harvey.

When not on searches, he was at the New Caney Fire Department and later with Navasota Fire Department. He was a constant figure at public relations events, allowing people to learn about search and rescue, as well as fire safety. He brought comfort to firefighters after long shifts and rough calls.

On June 19, 2019, Remi was medically retired after unexplained lameness. He was diagnosed with a puerperal nerve sheath tumor. Due to the financial burden, and his low chances of quality of life, euthanasia was advised. That’s when Jason Johnson, of Project K9 Hero, stepped in.

He stated, “You let me worry about the money. Your job is to give Remi the fight he deserves.”

Doctors with TAMU Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital were able to save his life. All vet bills were paid by Project K9 Hero donors. He still has cancer and is now a tripod, but he continues to live his life representing Project K9 Hero at events to raise awareness and funding for other retired K9s. Remi is more than a search dog; he is a HERO!

And Thanks to Sponsors

Finally, American Humane recognized those who support the Hero Dog and Hero Vet Awards and made them possible.

“We thank the many generous sponsors who have helped shine a light on these heroes,” said Dr. Ganzert. “Our deepest thanks to our broadcast partner Hallmark Channel, Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards sponsor Zoetis Petcare, Therapy Hero Dog sponsor World Pet Association, and Service Hero Dog sponsor Lulu’s Fund. Dogs may be our best friends, but these caring organizations are theirs.”

Photos: courtesy of American Humane

About American Humane

American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. For more information, please visit

SOURCE American Humane


Carson Kressley to host American Humane Hero Dog Awards® 10th Anniversary Celebration

Study finds that dog walkers get more exercise, even when weather isn’t pleasant

Reading Time: 2 minutesA study has shown that regularly walking a dog boosts levels of physical activity in older people, especially during the winter.

Published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the study used data from the EPIC Norfolk cohort study, which is tracking the health and wellbeing of thousands of residents of the English county of Norfolk.

The researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR) at the University of Cambridge found that owning or walking a dog was one of the most effective ways to beat the usual decline in later-life activity, even combatting the effects of bad weather.

More than 3,000 older-adults participating in the study were asked if they owned a dog and if they walked one. They also wore an accelerometer, a small electronic device that constantly measured their physical activity level over a seven-day period.

Dog owners were sedentary for 30 minutes less per day, on average.

Because bad weather and short days are known to be barriers to staying active outdoors, the researchers linked this data to the weather conditions experienced, and sunrise and sunset times on each day of the study.

“We know that physical activity levels decline as we age, but we’re less sure about the most effective things we can do to help people maintain their activity as they get older,” said lead author of the paper, Dr Yu-Tzu Wu. “We found that dog walkers were much more physically active and spent less time sitting overall.”

Wu added that, when researchers looked at how the amount of physical activity participants undertook each day varied by weather conditions,  they were quite were surprised at the difference between those who walked dogs and the rest of the participants in the study. The team found that on shorter days and those that were colder and wetter, all participants tended to be less physically active and spent more time sitting. Yet dog walkers were much less impacted by these poor conditions.

“We were amazed to find that dog walkers were on average more physically active and spent less time sitting on the coldest, wettest, and darkest days than non-dog owners were on long, sunny, and warm summer days,” project lead Prof Andy Jones said.

The researchers caution against recommending everyone owning a dog, as not everyone is able to look after a pet. But, they suggest these findings point to new directions for programmes to support activity.

“Physical activity interventions typically try and support people to be active by focusing on the benefits to themselves, but dog walking is also driven by the needs of the animal,” Jones said. “Being driven by something other than our own needs might be a really potent motivator and we need to find ways of tapping into it when designing exercise interventions in the future.”

For more, check out this video:


‘Dog ownership supports the maintenance of physical activity during poor weather in older English adults: cross-sectional results from the EPIC Norfolk cohort’ is published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.


Originally published:

New research shows therapy dogs can benefit some–but not all–children with autism

Reading Time: 2 minutes

One of the most common struggles for people living with autism spectrum disorder is socializing with others.

Previous research has shown that dogs can serve as social catalysts, and that children with autism may feel more comfortable speaking and socializing in the presence of a therapy dog.

However, in a new study, researchers at the University of Missouri found that while therapy dogs may benefit some children on the autism spectrum, therapy dogs should not be seen as a one-size-fits-all answer for children struggling with social communication.

Courtney Jorgenson, a doctoral student in the MU College of Arts and Science, collaborated with Casey Clay, former assistant professor of special education and researcher at the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, to study the impact of a therapy dog on the verbal communication of children with autism as they were speaking with a therapist.

Five children, ages 3-8, with autism spectrum disorder participated.

They found that some of the children spoke with the therapist more often in the presence of Rhett, a black Labrador Retriever at the Thompson Center, or when they were able to earn time playing with Rhett. Rhett, the Thompson Center’s therapy dog, was trained and provided by Duo Dogs, Inc.

Others spoke with the therapist more when they were able to earn time playing with a favorite toy, such as an iPad.

The abstract for the research study notes that, “Practitioners should be aware that some clients may be better suited for interventions including therapy dogs than others.”

“The autism spectrum is incredibly broad, so what might be an effective intervention technique for one child might not necessarily be the best option for another,” Jorgenson said. “With so many different options available, this research can help parents make the best choices for their child.”

Jorgenson recommends that parents of children with autism speak with their doctor to ensure the benefits that therapy dogs provide will align with the reasons for wanting one and not assume that a therapy dog will benefit every child equally.

Research has also shown that dogs can help reduce stress. Therapy dogs go through extensive training to provide affection and comfort with a calming influence. As children on the autism spectrum tend to have higher rates of anxiety and depression compared to children who are developing typically, therapy dogs can potentially be used to help them feel more comfortable in social environments.

“Petting a dog can raise your oxytocin levels, the same hormone that gets released when you hug a loved one,” Jorgenson said. “There’s a long way to go in figuring out how dogs can best support children on the autism spectrum, but this research can help identify which kids might benefit the most.”

“Evaluating preference for and reinforcing efficacy of a therapy dog to increase verbal statements” was recently published in Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. Funding was provided by the Organization for Autism Research.

Featured photo:

Rhett is a black Labrador Retriever therapy dog at the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders.



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