The American Kennel Club (AKC®), the world’s largest purebred dog registry and advocate for all dogs, is pleased to announce the winners of our AKC My Canine & Me Award, which honors children and young adults who are making a positive impact on the world with their dogs or achieving personal growth and success utilizing their knowledge of dogs and their dog ownership.
To be considered, students had to be nominated by a parent, teacher, mentor or another adult familiar with their efforts. They must also be in good academic standing, and a short essay should also be included describing the bond between the child and their dog, and the reason for the nomination.
The winners of the 2022 AKC My Canine & Me Awards are:
Personal Achievement Award: Celebrating children who have overcome personal challenges with the help of their dog.
Bentley Brown, Auburn, California: Bentley suffers from PTSD and anxiety and is raised by his grandparents, Chris and Rhona Watts. While only being 9 years old, he has already gone through a great deal of therapy and found solace in his dog, rescue GSD/Husky mix, Alaska. Alaska and Bentley support each other through everything, and she gives him confidence and comfort in all aspects of his life.
Innovative Junior Award: Celebrating children who have excelled in honing their creativity through training skills with their dogs.
Miles Morgan, Atlanta, Georgia: Miles has overcome his anxiety and found confidence in forming a human-canine bond with Bernese Mountain Dog Zuri. He and Zuri attended dog classes, quickly moving on to Canine Good Citizen (CGC) 1, CGC Community, and now CGC Urban. Being close with his grandparents and watching them experience dementia, and knowing how Zuri has supported him, Miles hopes to continue Zuri’s training and make Zuri a registered therapy dog for the elderly.
Community Achievement Award: Celebrating juniors who show commitment and passion through fundraising and contributing to their community for the welfare of dogs.
Addison Murphy, Gainesville, Georgia: Addison, after rescuing a black lab mix, created “The Dusk Project”. The project undertook fostering and training Dusk to help her become a therapy dog for local law enforcement. Dusk has now officially become a member of the Gainesville Police Department as their community therapy dog. Addison has an inspiring passion for dogs and for serving her community and is in the process of training her second pup that will also go to law enforcement.
Influential Junior Award: Children demonstrating leadership skills with their dog during after-school activities or gatherings and inspiring their peers and teachers as a result.
Caleigh Brown, Attleboro, Massachusetts: Caleigh began her journey with dogs at the age of 8, and her dogs have received many accolades and certifications over the years. She is the president of her local dog club, is a leader at the 4-H National Convention and Conference and heads her school’s stress-relief therapy dog club. She trains both dogs and dog handlers, and gives talks at schools, meetings, fairs and more. She looks to promote responsible dog ownership, share effective dog training, and the impact of the canine-human bond with others.
Winners were awarded $1,000 scholarships which can be used toward tuition, additional training classes or another dog-related activity. Additionally, they received a plaque honoring their achievement and a mention and interview on AKC.TV.
If you are interested in nominating a child for the 2023 AKC My Canine and Me award, please visit AKC.org to learn more about the program.
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