K9 Corner

Published 5:25 pm Tuesday, February 25, 2020


Community columnist

Now to complete the list of five dogs awarded the American Kennel Club’s Award for Canine Excellence (ACE) that I wrote about in last week’s column.

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The fourth category is the Search and Rescue, won by “JoePete” an eight-year-old Doberman pinscher owned and handled by Cris Bean of Eaton Rapids, Michigan.

Cris rescued JoePete in 2010 and he was enrolled in the human remains training program. Despite a disability, he was certified with Michigan’s Search and Rescue and went on to achieve certification with two national organizations as well.

Since then he has participated in 29 missing persons searches helping to bring closure to many grieving families. He has also aided in local graveyard projects by Historical Societies and landowners by helping to locate burial sites in forgotten cemeteries in and around Michigan.

Besides his search and rescue work, JoePete has participated in countless educational demonstrations for children, adults and individuals with special needs. JoePete earned his AKC Canine Good Citizen certification and is a certified therapy dog. His strength, work ethic, determination and loving spirit shines through every single day in his search and rescue work according to Samantha Seymour who put this article together for the AKC information release.

I would like to commend JoePete’s handler, Chris Bean, who spent hours in the training as well as in the work at the various sites.

The last category is the Exemplary Companion Dog achieved by Molly, a seven-year old Dalmatian owned by Dayna Hilton of Clarksville, Arkansas.

Hilton trained the dog as a Fire Safety Dog and she is the mascot of the Keep Kids Fire Safe Foundation (KKFSF). KKFSF is a public charity dedicated to reducing fire related deaths and injuries among children and their families.

Molly has worked continuously since she was only nine weeks old to educate children about fire safety. Again, I wish to compliment Dayna Hilton, a firefighter herself, as well as Molly’s handler, for providing the time and money to cover the 25,000 miles across the country each year to give educational presentations and for keeping Molly practiced so she can demonstrate testing a smoke alarm by pushing the button with her nose and how to crawl low under smoke to escape. She even has a part in helping the children become junior firefighters.

For those unable to come to the presentations, Hilton and Molly put their program on Skype. She has given this Skype program nearly 500 times reaching more than 18,000 children and 1,800 adults.

Molly also serves as mascot for KKFSF and is the honorary fire dog for the Little Rock Fire Department.

All five ACE recipients received $1,000 to be awarded to a pet-related charity of the handler’s choice; a one year pet insurance policy from AKC Pet Insurance; a one year supply of Eukanuba dog food and an engraved sterling silver medallion.  The presentations were made last December at the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin in Orlanda, Florida. The ACE awards were sponsored by Eukanuba Pet Food.