The Working Dog: Service Dogs Go for the Gold
While the 2016 Presidential campaigns get underway, Americans are taking to the polls to vote for their favorite finalist in the 2015 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™. The event is sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and includes a number of categories including one for “Hearing/Guide Dogs.”
Of 171 entrants, each of the eight finalists took the highest honors in their particular category. So far, more than one million votes have been cast, and when all are counted, a panel of celebrity (dog-loving) judges will determine the winner of the 2015 American Hero Dog.
If you would like to learn more, or cast a vote, the polls are open until September 7, 2015 and can be accessed at www.herodogsawards.org. You can vote 1x per day so check out the 8 finalists.
Service dogs are generally trained in 3 categories; guide, hearing and signal- and there are multiple service categories. Chara, for example, is classified as a guide and hearing service dog, but after her handler developed Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy type II with Dystonia, a neurological movement disorder, Chara far surpassed her signal training. Dystonia symptoms vary and still Chara developed the ability to sense and warn her handler of oncoming upper body dystonic attacks before they occured. Talk about and incredible bond!
Chara has become amazingly observant of and in tune with not just her handler, but the whole family! Chara became a bona fide hero when she discovered her handler’s two week old son was unresponsive and had stopped breathing. She immediately alerted her handler and as a result, the little boy was revived, and did not become a victim of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Chara is just one example of the amazing capabilities exhibited by service dogs. Do you have a story about your own American Dog Hero? We’d love to hear from you!