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My Pet World: Heroic dogs highlighted in online contest

May 31, 2011|By Steve Dale

If you have a dog, there's no doubt your best friend is a hero to you. But some dogs' heroic exploits are downright amazing.

Heroic canines and their accomplishments will be celebrated October 1 in Los Angeles at the American Humane Assn. Hero Dog Awards (sponsored by Cesar brand dog food). Finalists will walk the red carpet (plastic bags provided) at the star-studded event.

Starting in June, members of the public can go online and vote for their favorite candidates in eight categories: Search-and-Rescue Dogs, Guide Dogs. Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Hearing Dogs (who signal people who are hearing impaired), Military Working Dogs, Law Enforcement/Arson Dogs, and Emerging Hero Dogs.

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Here's a warning: Reading the hero dog stories may require tissue.

For example, Bud is a service dog from Union City, Calif.

"I was in a near fatal car accident," said the contest entrant. "I was in an induced coma for two months. My brain injuries caused me to have seizures. In 2001, I got a Bull Mastiff puppy (Bud), and over the years he seemed to know when I was going to have a seizure. His normal calm nature would change, he would whine and scratch at me, and soon after I'd have a seizure. I don't know how he knows, but I'm grateful. Bud is my pal, confidant and savior. I can now live my life the way I used to."

Another service dog, named Johnny, from Phoenix, alerted her owner to a fire, perhaps saving her life.

It can be tough for a young teenager to pay attention, but Muggs, another service dog, has A.J. covered. Whenever A.J., from Peoria, Ill., slips toward a diabetic low, Muggs warns him.

Under the category of Law Enforcement/Arson Dog, Sadie, of Westminster, Colo., has sniffed for evidence following 400 fires. Her body of work has led to many arson arrests.

"Sadie has worked in extreme environments (high rise buildings to mountains) and never missed a call to duty," the entrant wrote.

Sadie also conducts about 50 K-9 demonstrations a year to promote fire safety and prevention.

Steven, a wounded veteran in Friendswood, Texas, says his dog, Sonny, provides balance support and guide dog (or seeing eye dog) assistance. Those who know Steven give equal credit to medical science and Sonny for Steven's remarkable progress.

In Plano, Texas, Mr. Bojangles is a Bloodhound with an impressive resume, beginning with finding several wandering Alzheimer's victims. He's also helped police nab suspected murderers, not once but twice.

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