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The American Kennel Club (AKC®), the world’s largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for all dogs, is honored to recognize K9 Huk of Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in Jacksonville, Florida and K9 Loki of Michigan Department of State Police, in Houghton Lake, Michigan with the American Kennel Club’s DOGNY Paw of Courage Award.

The AKC DOGNY Paw of Courage demonstrates appreciation for the work that dogs do in the service of humankind. This award recognizes dogs who serve their communities, making great impacts on the lives of their human counterparts.

“The American Kennel Club is proud to present this award to these two incredibly deserving canines,” says AKC Executive Secretary, Gina DiNardo. “We honor K9 Huk and K9 Loki for their dedication and commitment to keeping their communities safe every day.”

K9 Huk, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Jacksonville, FL

On July 22, 2022, Canine Officer Cheth Plaugher and his Police Service Dog Huk responded and actively engaged in a vehicle pursuit, where PSD Huk was deployed to engage the suspects and was struck several times by gunfire, critically injuring him.

Officer Plaugher provided first aid to PSD Huk while he was driven to Brentwood Animal Clinic.  He was then airlifted by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Aviation unit to First Coast Veterinary Specialists in Jacksonville Beach. Huk underwent numerous surgeries and medical treatments during his nine-month recovery. Unfortunately, on March 30th PSD Huk had his front limb amputated and was subsequently retired from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

PSD Huk is a great example of the dedication, loyalty, and selflessness that police service dogs exhibit in the line of duty.  He served his community honorably for nearly six years and displayed extreme courage and bravery during this incident.

K9 Loki, Michigan Department of State Police, Houghton Lake, MI

In June of 2023 A Michigan State Police K-9 found a 3-year-old lost in a remote wooded area of Roscommon County for at least a half hour. K-9 Loki and his partner from Michigan State Police were in the area when they received the call and started tracking the boy’s scent through heavily wooded terrain and marshes.

Trooper Whited became a K9 handler in 2017, assigned to the Houghton Lake Post and took the responsibility of being Loki’s handler who was then a one-year-old German Shepherd. Trooper Whited and Loki who is now 7 years old continue to serve out of the Houghton Lake Post.

K9 Loki is very obedient and friendly with members of the community and a favorite amongst members assigned to the post.

To learn more and nominate a dog for a Paw of Courage award, click here.