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Valerie Aaron of Yulee, FL, was just running in the store to pick up some dog food shortly before the store closed. But a little puppy with sad eyes resulted in Valerie coming home with more than kibble. Norman won her heart and a place in dog competitions through the AKC Canine Partners program. Now Valerie and her husband, Danny, joke that Norman has more titles than their pedigreed Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Read more:

Salty Dawg’s Stormin Norman CD BN RAE CA wasn’t supposed to be my dog… or so I thought.  I simply went to PetSmart on the wrong day, at the wrong time — adoption day, 15 minutes before they closed.

A pitiful looking 6 month-old pointer / hound mix looked up at me quietly with the saddest, most soulful eyes I have ever seen, and a volunteer whispered in my ear “this is his last chance to be adopted…”

That look was all it took.  I couldn’t let those sweet eyes be put down, so I took him home determined to find a suitable home for him myself.  On the ride home I dubbed him “Norman.”

Within about 15 minutes of getting Norman home, that gangly puppy leapt off my elevated front porch and promptly broke his front right leg.  After a large vet bill and several weeks of nursing him back to health, Norman was completely ensconced in our lives.

At the time, I was just getting involved with showing Staffordshire Bull Terriers in conformation.  I figured if I was going to dog shows, Norman should find a job and come along.

We began attending basic obedience classes with Macon Kennel Club and discovered that Norman truly enjoyed the work and wanted nothing more than to please me.  It was as though he knew he was rescued and wanted to repay me.

I sought additional guidance from trainers Mike and Nancy Ferguson of Anelanai Kennels in Warner Robins, GA.  Under their direction, Norman and I flourished, and the rest is history.  Norman has placed in the top three nearly every time he has put a paw in the ring and has received several perfect scores and High Combined honors.  He also is a registered therapy dog and brings joy to everyone he visits.

Norman completed the AKC Rally highest level title of Rally Advanced Excellent (RAE) with another High in Trial honor at K9 Obedience in Jacksonville, FL, in October 2015.  My husband and I often joke about that fact that the mutt in our kennel has more titles than any of our well-bred Staffords!

But the highest honor Norman has earned is Champion of my Heart — I’m so glad he’s mine!