American Kennel Club announces its five heroic dogs of 2019

AKC announces its five heroic dogs of 2019

American Kennel Club announces its five heroic dogs of 2019

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The American Kennel Club has announced the five dogs who have won its Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence. The award is in its 20th year and was created to "celebrate five loyal, hard-working dogs that have significantly improved the lives of their owners and communities."

"The extraordinary stories of the 2019 ACE Award winners illustrate how dogs touch our hearts and lives every day," said Doug Ljungren, President of the AKC Humane Fund. "Each of these five dogs have changed the life of a person, and in some cases an entire community and deserve to be celebrated. The ACE Awards give us an opportunity to show our appreciation for all that dogs do in the service of humankind."

Here are this year's honored pups: 

Uniformed Service K-9: "Summer," a Labrador Retriever handled by Sergeant Micah Jones of Washington D.C.

Summer works with the TSA as an explosive detection dog for the Amtrack Police Department in D.C. and is responsible for the safety of passengers and personnel onboard trains. In addition to helping with Amtrak, Summer also conducts emergency sweeps for VIP's, Dignitaries, special and national athletic competitions.

She is also former military dog who was deployed with Marine Corp to Afghanistan in 2012 where she was tasked with sweeping and clearing routes for troops. She was even involved in firefights. 

Therapy Dog: "Gunther," a Rottweiler owned by John Hunt of Blackwood, New Jersey

Gunther has been on the scene as a therapy dog at many of the nation's most tragic shootings, including the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, the Mandalay Bay shooting in Las Vegas, the Parkland high school shooting, the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh and most recently, the shooting in El Paso. 

Gunther and his handler John work with victims, their families and the first responders at each scene. 

Service Dog: "Polly," a Labrador Retriever owned by Rachel Husband of Sparks, Nevada

Polly works with her owner Rachel, who suffers from a rare nervous system condition called Dysautonomia, which has forced into a wheelchair. 

Polly works as a service dog, picking up dropped objects, retrieving items, helping pull Rachel's wheelchair and even making 911 calls. 

Polly is credited with transforming Rachel's life and helping her regain her independence. 

Search and Rescue Dog: "JoePete," a Doberman Pinscher owned and handled by Cris Bean of Eaton Rapids, Michigan

JP and his handler Cris work as volunteers for the Michigan Search and Rescue. 

The 8-year-old pup has worked on 29 missing person searches since 2011 despite being diagnosed with "Wobbler's Disease" which impacts a dog's ability to steady itself. 

JP also works with children and adults with special needs. 

Exemplary Companion Dog: "Molly," a Dalmatian owned by Dayna Hilton of Clarksville, Arkansas

Molly is a fire safety dog and the mascot of Keep Kids Fire Safe. Molly, a 7-year-old dog, has worked with organization since she was just nine weeks.  

Molly helps make fire safety presentations and travels over 25,000 miles a year. 

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