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.
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.”