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Public Education Educator Resources Hero Dogs

Learning Objectives

Students will write an argument using clear reasons and evidence to support their claim.


Grade Levels



Common Core Standard


Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.


Materials Needed

Articles from Family Dog Magazine

ACE Award Information Here

AKC website (

Internet access

Student note-taking sheet and paper

Pencils or pens




  • Have students partner together to read a Family Dog article from above. Have students share the summary with the entire class.
  • Have them brainstorm a list of characteristics that made the dogs from the stories exceptional.

Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling

  • Introduce the AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence to the students. You can use the resources found here: ACE Awards
  • Explain that the ACE Awards celebrate canine heroes and the ways they contribute to our lives. Each year, five loyal, hard-working dogs are commemorated for making significant contributions to an individual or their communities.
  • The categories are as follows:
    • Uniformed Service K-9 (Dogs certified to help law enforcement, military or firefighting personnel in their work)
    • Search and Rescue Dog (Dogs certified to assist in wilderness and urban tracking, natural disasters, mass casualty events and locating missing people)
    • Therapy Dog (Dogs certified to provide affection and comfort to those in need)
    • Service Dog (Dogs certified to help those with disabilities)
    • Exemplary Companion (Non-certified, household pet)

Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling

  • Ask the students if they know any dogs that would qualify for the ACE Awards. Provide examples of dogs from the literature, news reports of Search and Rescue dogs, military or police K9 dogs, guide dogs, etc.

Independent Working Time

  • Students will research past ACE Award winners here: ACE Award Winners as well as exceptional local dogs to nominate.
  • Students will choose a local or fictional dog to nominate. They must first brainstorm the reasons that this dog would qualify based on the contest rules and former ACE dogs.
  • Students will write a letter, individually or in groups, to the nominating committee on behalf of a local dog or a fictional dog they feel should be considered for an award.
  • Discuss with students how to format an argument effectively, using reasons and evidence.
  • Rough drafts should be submitted for edits.
  • Final draft of those written on behalf of real dogs can be submitted for consideration. Entries close July 31st

Review and Closing

  • Discuss what makes dogs exceptional and why they are important in our community.


American Kennel Club. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Boccone, B. (2017, May). The Science of Service Dogs. AKC Family Dog, Pages 1-2. Retrieved from

Bovsun, M. (2017, July). The Mighty Midge. AKC Family Dog, Pages 1-3. Retrieved from

Coffey, L.T. (2017, January). Turning the Page. AKC Family Dog, Pages 1-3. Retrieved from

The AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence. (n.d.). Retrieved from