Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More Honored, Humbled, and Awed…. Bravo is nominated for 2010 AKC ACE Award

I received a letter a few weeks ago informing me that Bravo had been nominated for the 2010 AKC ACE Award. The following is a overview of that award as seen on the AKC website.

“Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE)

In 1999, The American Kennel Club took action to express its time-honored respect for the extraordinary canine-human bond, as well as its appreciation for the innumerable ways in which dogs meaningfully contribute to our lives. That initiative gave rise to The AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE), which celebrated its first presentation year in 2000.

To qualify, the dog is required to be AKC registered or an AKC recognized breed, and have performed some exemplary act, whether large or seemingly small, that has significantly benefited a community or individual. One award will be given every year in each of the following five categories: Law Enforcement, Search and Rescue, Therapy, Service, and Exemplary Companion Dog. When appropriate, dogs earning honorable mention will be selected.

Each of the five honorees will receive a cash award of $1000 and an engraved sterling-silver collar medallion to be presented at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. Their names will be engraved on a plaque that hangs permanently in The American Kennel Club Library in New York City. Dogs receiving honorable mention will be awarded an engraved bronze medallion.” (http://www.akc.org/news/ace/index.cfm)

With the letter came an award certificate and more personal letter.  As most of you know, I am not often speechless, but lately that seems to be a theme.  No matter whether Bravo wins…being nominated is a humbling honor.

The following is the letter that was submitted to the AKC.  Virginia Erickson submitted the letter but the author is unknown.

“Bravo is a 4-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever who belongs to KC Owens of SLC, UT. Bravo is a true ambassador to the Chesapeake Retriever Breed. He is active in AKC Hunt Tests, Agility, Obedience, Rally, Dock Jumping, and he is a Therapy Dog with Intermountain Therapy Animals.

Last year Bravo started alerting his owner to dangerous hypoglycemia and now works as her service dog. No matter what this dog is doing or where he is at, he stops and tells her that her blood sugar is dropping. He tends to be about 15 to 30 minutes ahead of her blood glucose meter.

KC says: “You know I have had some amazing dogs over the years. I have titled dogs in many venues, but no award I have ever received matches the feelings I have when this dog wakes me up in the middle of the night to tell me my blood sugar is low. It is a gift, a gift from him to me! It has brought me to my knees knowing how much these alerts make a difference in allowing me to keep a more regular life. In my humble opinion, Bravo is nothing short of an angel! You hear that dogs are mans best friend……Bravo is more than that he is my very heartbeat”
KC herself has given so much to the dog world. She is an AKC judge, she is on the board of directors for at least 3 dog clubs, she helps teach classes for therapy dogs, and in general is willing to help out anyone who needs it.

I hope you consider this dog for the 2010 ACE Award for service dog. The bond between this team is incredible…I swear he never takes his eyes off of her.
Thank You!”

I am not anyone special nor in many ways is Bravo…we make a good team I agree but I can name many people and dogs who do far more that either of us do.  I know in my heart that the bond between the two of us is a very special one and should be treated as such but I have been fortunate enough to witness that same bond in many dogs and owners on many different levels. 

There is an old saying from an unknown author that says “My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am”. How true is that………our dogs think we are perfect in every way.  I know most of them wish we would give them more cookies, but even when we don’t they still love us with everything they have! George Eliot stated it this way, “We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults.  Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.”

Monday, June 7, 2010

Well You don’t See This Every Day




Bravo is now officially Fetch Express Bravo Zula SH RN NJ!  Hopefully, this year we will add CD and AJ.  I could dream and hope for QAA but I don’t see that happening this year, but it is fun to dream. 

I have said this before but none of these ribbons or titles hold a candle to when he alerts for a low blood sugar!  The thing is that it is only because of that ability that I am able to compete at these other venues.  I love being outside, I love Hunt Tests and Field Trials, I love hunting, I love Splash Dogs and Dock Jumping, I love working with Intermountain Therapy Animals, and I love doing agility…………but I could do none of that without Bravo.  Not just because it takes a dog to do these things, but because he allows me to have a more full life because of his alerts!  There was a time not to long ago when I thought I was going to have to give all of those things up because of the diabetes and the low blood sugars!  I have cut back immensely but because of that ability to alert to low blood sugars I can now at least compete on a smaller scale!  I still try to make sure someone is with me when I travel out of town or go on long trips but my freedom to do what I want is important to me. 


So is this dog!  From the look of it  he feels the same way!


John Hafner_30 (this picture by John Hafner)

John Hafner_34 (this picture by John Hafner)


Number 4 of 5 for AKC Senior Hunter Title



This picture was taken May 16 near Springfield ID.  He run a good test……I little ugly on the 2nd series but still gave me good effort!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Long Time No See!

So sorry folks!  I have been up to my ears for the last little bit.  It seems that all fronts of my life have been on overload lately!

I promise to catch you all up very soon as I get things wrote up.  There has been many exciting positive things occurring lately!  Some of which I don’t even have words for yet!

Max (the lil choc pup) gave her first alert!  She also has had alert 2, 3, and 4!   The most exciting for me is that one of the alerts was with her owners!  They were a little unsure of what they were seeing but sure enough Max was telling that Shannon was low!  I have started teaching Max hold and fetch, and working on more advanced obedience stuff.  She is still very young but I am very pleased with what I am seeing!

Bravo and Radar have had numerous alerts over the last month.  Bravo has alerted a couple of times on drops that were occurring while I was driving.   Once when Virginia E. and I were driving to Pocatello, ID to a AKC Hunt Test.  B had been sleeping in the back seat of the truck.  All of the sudden, he is trying to wedge his way into the front seat.  He kept shouldering up on the console between me and Virginia.  Virginia exclaimed, “gee, he has been so good up till now…what is going on?”  I told her I was dropping and he was telling me.  I treated the low, he laid with his head on the console for about 10 minutes watching me.  When he was sure I was okay, he returned to his spot in the back, curled up in a ball, and went back to sleep!   He did the same basic thing when a friend came into town to judge an AKC Hunt test memorial day weekend.  We were heading to Kennecott Copper Mine for some site seeing when Bravo again alerted to my blood sugar dropping! As soon as I treated the low……..he observed me for a bit, then curled up and went back to sleep.  Then there was the day that my friend Kim came over.  She is also diabetic.  I was in the middle of a low when she got there.  I was trying to treat it but it was one of those lows that won’t respond to regular methods of treatment.  Since he had told me I was low….he decided to go tell her.  All of the sudden his body language changes and he alerts her and then comes and tells me that she is low too!!! Poor B about wore himself out that night between the 2 of us!  One evening in early May I went to a graduation party for a friend who just got her doctorate.  Many of the folks that were there work in the diabetes field.  We all met at a nice restaurant in downtown SLC.  My friend Kim was with me as well.  Bravo was laying at my feet under the table, quietly snoozing.  I saw him lift his head and sniff the air.  He gets up and alerts Kim to a low.  He then lays back down.  The next thing I know his head is in my lap alerting me to a low.  It was another one of those lows that doesn’t respond to food…so I finally took a shot of glucagon.  I have said it before….I LOVE THIS DOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Radar one morning a couple of weeks ago was dinking around the front room.  I had let Bravo and Raven outside.  Radar had been out earlier so I just let him hang out with me.  I was fooling around on the computer.  All of the sudden he jumps up on the back on my chair.  I pushed him off and he jumps up again.  Again I told him to get down!  He jumps back up a third time and starts pawing at the top of my head.  I reached down to grab me meter and while I am trying to check my sugar, he is trying to get his nose in my ear and at the same time pawing at my head.  Sure enough..I was 62!  Radar is still young…just turned 2.  He has come A LONG WAYS, but still has more to learn.  The jury is still out as to whether he will ever be a service dog, but I love his tenaciousness!!!!  Not much shuts this lil guy down!  He is persistant and focused about the alerts!  I am working on him to not keep re alerting after I have treated the low….but as with all things it takes time!

More to come………………………