Paws of Courage

April 27, 2020

The AKC Paw of Courage is an award given to show appreciation for the work that dogs do in the service of humankind. This award recognizes dogs who serve their communities, making great impacts in the lives of their human counterparts. Paw of Courage awards can be presented to Police K-9s, Military Working Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Service Dogs and other canines that work to make the lives of the people around them safer, easier or just simply happier. In light of COVID-19, we are awarding three special dogs who have made a difference during the national pandemic with the AKC Paw of Courage.

Jackson is an eight-year-old Golden Retriever owned by Bob Wharton. Jackson has been a Certified Therapy Dog for six years and completed more than 1,400 visits. He has also earned his CGC, Trick Dog Advance, and Therapy Dog Distinguished titles. Jackson also holds Therapy Dogs International Titles of TDI Gold and Tail Waggin’ Tutors and has received a “Certificate of Recognition” from his township. He is presently a Certified Therapy Dog with Angel On A Leash, “America’s Therapy Dogs”.

In this trying time, Jackson and Bob haven’t been able to do their regular visits due to the COVID-19 crisis. However, this hasn’t stopped the duo from visiting the people who need them – they have continued to do virtual therapy visits with Independent and Memory Care Facilities and 1st graders at an Elementary School twice a week through photos and videos. Jackson is even the main character in a children’s book written and illustrated by Bob. The book has been sent electronically to the homes of the children from the 1st-grade class that they visit for the children to read to their families during this stay at home order. In such an unsettling time, Jackson and Bob continue to bring smiles and comfort to the people around them who need it most. Molly, officially known as Little Girl Molly RN THDD CGCA CGCU TKP RATN NSD, is a ten-year-old Vizsla owned by Connie Priesz. Molly has been a registered therapy animal with Pet Partners for nine years. They also belong to North Star Therapy Animals, a twin cities group of registered Pet Partner therapy animals.

Since the COVID-19 stay at home order, Connie and Molly have taken steps to stay connected in order to continue to bring comfort and joy. In an effort to change to virtual visits, the therapy dog team has made movies while reading a book, for schools, libraries and social media sites to share and have made virtual visit videos for the patients at the VA hospital they usually visit. In addition, Connie and Molly have joined the AKC PupPals program, submitting countless videos to those in need and have sent cards and pictures to all the sites they typically visit. The pair also created a Facebook group called “The Therapy Animal Space” for people with animals to stay connected and share stories during this global crisis.

These new trying times have made Connie and Molly think differently about how to help bring adventures and connections to those who need a smile. They plan to continue to serve their community and beyond by using technology to bring the effects of the human-animal bond to more people and reach even further as they work in this new way.

Phoebe,  is a 10-year-old Belgian

As part of their ongoing work as an AKC Canine Ambassador, Phoebe is used to participating in public demonstrations about training, responsible dog ownership, performance sports, how to greet a friendly dog, meet the breeds, and other important topics at schools, fairs, museums, and similar venues.  Of course, all those fun public demos came to a halt in March due to the nationwide efforts to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. But that didn’t stop Pamela and Phoebe from continuing their work as an AKC Canine Ambassador team.

The pair created several videos for the AKC PupPals program and have been regularly going on “front yard visits” to individual homes and assisted living facilities for the past six weeks.  During the visits, Phoebe performs tricks and stunts while her audience is safely sheltered inside and watching from their windows. Although her Harry-Potter themed tricks are a favorite among the younger generation, the Obedience and Agility tricks – in particular, scent work (“Can Phoebe count?”), hand signals, hoop jumps, retrieving, and weave poles – are the crowd favorites! Phoebe is a big-hearted, willing dog, who works so tirelessly to bring joy, entertainment, and social connection to people’s lives during these uncertain times.

  • Most Recent News

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    January 8, 2021

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    January 8, 2021

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    January 8, 2021

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    January 7, 2021

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    January 7, 2021

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more

    The Right Rescue Dog

    January 7, 2021

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more

    Police Dog Attack

    January 7, 2021

    A resolution headed to the Duluth City Council on Monday could put to rest a lawsuit filed by Teri Lynn Ehlers, an employee of the Patch Motel, who was bitten by a Duluth police dog named Oakley. Former Duluth Police Officer Marc Johnson was a registered guest of the Warroad establishment May 28, 2018, when […]

    Read more

    PAWS With A Cause

    January 7, 2021

    Pebble Hill Plantation and the Thomas County Public Library are pleased to announce the upcoming Enlightening Bites program, “PAWS With a Cause,” on Friday, January 8, 2021 at noon in the Flipper Room of the Library. The program is being presented by Jeri Anderson, field representative. Anderson is recently retired from the City of Monticello, […]

    Read more

    Police Canine Team

    January 7, 2021

    Kingston Police revealed in a news release late Wednesday afternoon that they’ve been keeping a four-legged secret for roughly three months. The force announced it added a second canine unit, with the arrival of police service dog Dak this past October. He is working with Const. Jeff Dickson, while police service dog Bask is working […]

    Read more

    K9s For Warriors

    January 7, 2021

    K9s For Warriors, a nonprofit organization that provides military veterans suffering from severe PTSD, traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma with service animals, recently changed the name of its main campus to honor its leader and founder Shari Duval. Duval began K9s For Warriors in 2011 after her son returned from two tours in […]

    Read more

    More Recent News