Hometown dog gets national recognition - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hometown dog gets national recognition

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March 19, 2006

Albany -- One South Georgia dog is up for a national award. It's the Pedigree Dog of the Year Award given to a dog who serves its community. It's a pretty prestigious award only five dogs in the country will be competing for the title.

Our hometown nominee is Hero, and ten years ago he was just a stray puppy in Lee County before he was rescued. Now the he's become a hero to many people in the community.

Ten-year-old Hero may play like puppy when it comes to fetch, but he's a decorated veteran when it comes to helping others.

"I just thought gosh wouldn't it be great if we could just share his nature, because he was so calm and sweet," said Hero's owner Marty Harris.

That's why the Paws Patrol Pet Therapy came about. For nine years Hero has shown affection to many area groups like grief stricken children, at-risk teens, even people in elderly homes.

"They have to be able to tolerate loud noises, ackward speech patterns, heavy petting, ackward petting," explained Harris.

Therapy dogs like Hero help decrease anxiety, stress, and even help lead sick patients to easier recovery.

"These animals really love visiting people and meeting people and having a good time. They enjoy that so much," said Harris.

Hero enjoys serving others so much he is out in the community about three times a week.

"It was Hero's nature that made me decide we should do pet therapy," said Harris. 

His hard work is finally catching up to him with well-deserved recognition.

"This is the third award Hero's been up for in the past three years, and he won the other two awards," said Harris. 

This old boy hopes another win can make him South Georgia's very own hometown hero as Pedigree Dog of the Year.

Now the way a dog wins the national award is by popular vote on Pedigree's website.

Voting doesn't start until April 4, 2006 and you can support Hero at www.pedigree.com.

Hero's black labrador friend is six month old "Dixie" who is looking for a good home. For information on adopting Dixie, call Marty Harris at (229) 883-9411.

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