For inspiration, check out previous winners of the Awards for Canine Excellence. Wynd, a Rottweiler owned by Renice Zimmerman of Yorktown, Va., won the 2015 ACE Award for Therapy. Wynd served on the therapy dog team at the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) National Seminar in D.C. and was a familiar presence at the Survivor Outreach Service booth during other military events.
2021 Exemplary Companion Winner “Benny,” a Labrador Retriever owned by Cheryl DelSangro of Las Vegas, Nevada
2020 Search and Rescue Dog ACE Winner “Shiraz" is a Belgian Malinois owned and handled by Susan Goodhope of Havana, Florida.
Duke, a Doberman Pinscher handled by Detective Sergeant Ed Soares of Menlo Park, Calif., won the 2017 ACE Award for Uniformed Service K-9. Duke is a narcotics detection K-9 deployed during traffic enforcement stops, parole and probation searches, and narcotics cases. He also serves as an ambassador for his breed.
2014 Ace Award winner Xander the Pug went on to become an accomplished therapy dog after going blind.
Piglet, a Catahoula Leopard Dog owned and handled by Lori Wells of Lancaster, Calif., won the 2017 ACE Award for Search and Rescue. Piglet spends hundreds of hours each year training, testing, and answering the call of duty for law enforcement agencies in California, Nevada, and Arizona.
Boomer, an Australian Shepherd owned by Connie Dilts of Smicksburg, Pa., won the 2014 ACE Award for Exemplary Companion. When a bear charged at and violently attacked Dilts while she was on a walk, Boomer went after the animal and ultimately forced it to flee.
Dennis, a Skye Terrier owned by Stephen P. Hersey of Hampton, N.H., won the 2017 ACE Award for Therapy. Dennis
spent countless hours over the past seven years working in several areas of therapy work.
Gunner, a Great Pyrenees owned by D. Hamilton Kinard of Richmond Hill, Ga., won the 2017 ACE Award for Service. Gunner is a certified mobility assistance and PTSD service dog for his owner, who medically retired from the Army in 2010. Gunner braces Kinard so he can stand, pulls his wheelchair on bad days, and helps bring Kinard back to reality when he suffers from chronic flashbacks.
Radar, a Bloodhound handled by Frank Hurst of Kiowa, Colo., won the 2016 ACE Award for Uniformed Service K-9. Radar worked cases with close to three dozen law enforcement agencies, including the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, as well as the FBI. In 2016, Radar was among just a handful of Bloodhound K-9s assisting NecroSearch International, a national group that solves cold case homicides.
Haus, a German Shepherd Dog owned by Donya DeLuca of Tampa, Fla., won the 2016 ACE Award for Exemplary Companion. Haus fought for his life after stepping between 7-year-old Molly DeLuca and a rattlesnake. Luckily, he recovered and returned home to his family.
Bodie, a Belgian Malinois owned and handled by Amy Lavoie of Santee, Calif., won the 2016 ACE Award for Search and Rescue. Bodie and Amy assisted local and federal law enforcement in Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah.
Jackie, a Sussex Spaniel owned by Jan Hepper of San Francisco, Calif., won the 2016 ACE Award for Therapy. At the time of her win, Jackie was a member of the San Francisco International Airport Wag Brigade, a program that brings therapy dogs to airport terminals in an effort to make travel more enjoyable for passengers.
Teddie, a Labrador Retriever owned by Krystal Greco of North East, Md., won the 2016 ACE Award for Service. Teddie assisted Krystal, who is paralyzed from the waist down, at home and at her part-time job.
Pablo, a Belgian Malinois handled by Greg Madrid of Albany, Ga., won the 2015 ACE Award for Uniformed Service K-9. In 2015, Pablo was a certified PEDD (Patrol/Explosive Detection Dog) by the U.S. Air Force, and was assigned to the Marine Corps Police Department in Albany, Ga. Pablo regularly served on Secret Service details for visiting dignitaries.
Mufasa, a Bernese Mountain Dog owned by Kristen and Robin Greenwood of Bel Air, Md., won the 2015 Award for Exemplary Companion. Mufasa would greet visitors at his owners’ dog wash business (where he had a regular fan club) and his presence alone helped the local community learn about the AKC and responsible breeders.
Ty, a German Shepherd Dog handled by Melissa Frye of Southport, Fla., won the 2015 ACE Award for Search and Rescue. At the time of his win, Ty had been deployed on over 60 missions with great success, particularly in his specialty of water recovery. Ty also served as the Bay County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue public relations dog.
"George,” a Great Dane from Massachusetts, won the 2015 AKC ACE Award in the Service Dog category.
K-9 Bruno, a German Shepherd Dog owned by Officer R.J. Young of the Anaheim Police Department in Anaheim, Calif., won the 2014 ACE Award for Uniformed Service K-9. Bruno spent his career sniffing out narcotics and criminals and even took a bullet to protect his human colleagues.
K-9 Patella, a Labrador Retriever owned by Jim Houck of Ft. Collins, Colo., won the 2014 ACE Award for Search and Rescue. At the time of his win, K-9 Officer Patella was certified as a Human Remains Detection K-9 and had assisted in countless cases across Colorado. Additionally, he traveled 9,000 miles to the Philippines to lead recovery efforts after the destruction of Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
Gander, a mixed-breed dog owned by Lon Hodge of Vernon Hills, Ill., won the 2014 ACE Award for Service. Gander became a service dog to Hodge, a veteran who suffers from PTSD and mobility issues as a result of his time in the military. Hodge credited Gander with saving his life.
Amber, a Cardigan Welsh Corgi owned by Sonja Benavidez of Geneseo, Ill., won the 2017 ACE Award for Exemplary Companion Dog. Amber helped Sonja regain her happiness, and the pair has been told they're the best wheelchair dog and handler team ever seen in the show ring.
Bart, a Vizsla owned by Darcy Hodges of Brooks, Ga., won the 2013 ACE Award for Exemplary Companion. When Bart was 3 years old, his entire front left leg was removed due to cancer. Only four months after his amputation and three weeks after completing chemotherapy, Bart earned his Senior Hunter title and continued to the Master Hunter level, earning that title ten months later.
Jesse, a German Shepherd Dog owned and handled by Susan Condreras of Riverhead, N.Y., won the 2013 ACE Award for Search and Rescue. Jesse served multiple communities by deploying on searches in arduous terrain. Snakes, ticks, steep cliffs, swamps, extreme weather conditions, foxes, bears, and gunshots all threatened her safety while she diligently searched for missing people.
Drago, a Spinone Italiano owned by Lauren Friedman and Chris Sweetwood of Milford, Conn., won the 2013 ACE Award for Therapy. Drago had more than 1,000 therapy visits under his belt when he was called into service after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. Drago and Lauren spent many days at the crisis center that was set up at Reed Intermediate School, providing love and support to those who needed it.
2021 Service Dog Winner“SSD Dyson,” a Labrador Retriever owned by Brandon C. Holiday of North Wales, Pennsylvania