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The AKC works with several non-AKC service and sports organizations to recognize the titles that AKC-registered dogs earn in their programs. This includes the AKC Therapy Dog titling program and the AKC Search & Rescue title program. AKC also recognizes titles of the Barn Hunt Association (BHA); North American Diving Dogs (NADD); and the North American Flyball Association (NAFA). For more information on how to apply for AKC recognition of these titles, go to: Read on to meet some of the All-American Dogs who are recent achievers in these sports.

AKC Therapy Dog Title
The AKC Therapy Dog Title program offers titles based on the amount of service that a therapy team has volunteered, giving more dogs the opportunity to earn the honor. Dogs also must be certified by an AKC-recognized therapy dog organization. The titles are:

  • AKC Therapy Dog Novice (THDN). Must have completed 10 visits.
  • AKC Therapy Dog (THD). Must have completed 50 visits.
  • AKC Therapy Dog Advanced (THDA). Must have completed 100 visits.
  • AKC Therapy Dog Excellent (THDX). Must have completed 200 visits.
  • AKC Therapy Dog Distinguished (THDD). Must have completed 400 visits.

We salute these All-Americans who are recent recipients of the THDD title for 400 or more visits!

Buddy Tice THDD CGC owned by Tina Marie Tice of Kitty Hawk, NC
Buddy was Tina’s first dog as an adult, and she had no idea how to train him. She reached out for help from a few dog trainers and they noted that Buddy was so mellow and had such a gentle temperament that she should consider working with him to become a therapy dog.

He passed puppy classes and earned his AKC Canine Good Citizen certification and completed some additional training. Ultimately, he was approved through The Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs of Morris Plains, NJ. Tina and Buddy reached their goal of earning a Therapy Dog Distinguished title in December 2018. Their 400+ visits were earned making weekly visits with the elderly in the Outer Banks community, specifically at Peak Resources in Nags Head; Spring Arbor of the Outer Banks in Kill Devil Hills; and with The G.E.M. (Gentle Expert Memory care), which they visit with monthly at Kitty Hawk Methodist Church.  Buddy works well with everyone but is especially enjoyed by the Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

Coffee Byrnes THDD CGCA TKN owned by Luci Byrnes of Hancock, NH
Coffee is a brown and tan Chihuahua born in southern California in September 2011. A rescue group brought him and several other Chihuahuas to New Hampshire, where Luci found him at the Ossipee Humane Society in December 2011.

“He was a little timid at first but a bit of a show-off when running in the yard,” said Luci. She enrolled him in rally classes, which she does with her other dog. “Coffee gained a lot of confidence from the classes and competed some in rally. He is very social and just thought that most everybody wanted to meet him.”

In talking with an instructor who had therapy dogs, Luci thought that it was something she would like to do. “It is my way of giving back or paying forward for help I received in the past. Both dogs tested with Alliance of Therapy Dogs, and we have been making therapy visits since September 2014. Coffee loves anything to do with young people and can handle even large groups of children.”

When Luci puts on Coffee’s special collar with the heart tag and bowtie, he knows he is going visiting. “During Paws to Read, he doesn’t care what they read to him, he just loves being with and interacting with them. It’s more fun reading to a dog than to a teacher and Coffee’s small size is less threatening to children or adults who aren’t used to dogs or are afraid of them. He has a very, very happy tail and he seems to know when someone needs a little extra attention.”

Coffee visits four schools and two other reading programs as well as taking turns at two assisted living facilities and a hospital. There are also relaxation days before finals at a high school and two colleges in addition to other requests.

“He is just the most special little guy with a wonderful personality, those big ears and he is so soft to touch. As far as I know, Coffee is the first dog in this region to regularly visit an elementary school for Paws to Read,” said Luci.

Coffee made his 400th visit, to Monadnock Community Hospital, in December 2018.

Diane’s Molly RN THDD CGC TKA owned by Diane Kostner of Yardley, PA
Molly has been a therapy dog since August 2011. “She loves her work and enjoys being around all people, young and old,” said Diane. “She has always had a gentle, loving personality, bringing a smile wherever she goes, and therapy work was her calling.”

When visiting area nursing home residents, Molly entertains by showing off her tricks, including playing her piano, ring toss, and getting a tissue when Diane sneezes. She brings special fun during the holidays by dressing up.

They also volunteer in the library’s Reading Goes to the Dogs program. Children love to snuggle and give Molly belly rubs, which she enjoys. She visits schools for more reading and listening to children tell her about their adventures. “It’s so rewarding to see a child who was afraid to read aloud open up to Molly and become a good reader,” said Diane.

“Molly is a little dog with a big dog’s heart, and she shares her love with everyone she meets. As her handler, there are not enough words to describe how proud of Molly I am. Over the years she has made so many relationships with people she has met, and I could not be prouder of her. It has been a great journey for Molly and we plan to continue for many years.”

Molly earned her THDD in September 2018.

Josephine Rock Star THDD CGC owned by Richard and Pamela Hoose of Pinckney, MI
When Richard and Pamela retired in April of 2014, they began serious training and socialization in preparation for Josephine’s Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD) therapy dog test. Josephine, a 6-year-old Poodle mix, passed and has been a certified ATD therapy dog since March 2015.

The team began with weekly visits to reading programs at elementary schools before adding weekly visits to the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI. In early 2016 they began volunteering weekly at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Brighton, adding the main hospital in Ann Arbor to their calendar in January 2018.

Earlier this year they added a fourth weekly visit, to Wellbridge of Pinckney, a senior facility. For the last four years they have made monthly visits to Eastern Michigan University for its Wellness Woof student event. This summer will be their fifth year for a summer reading program at the Pinckney Community Public Library. Josephine logged her 400th visit in November 2018.

Pamela and Richard are certified ATD therapy dog handlers for both Josephine and Ruby, who has more than 350 visits logged so they expect to apply for her THDD later this year. Rich is also an ATD Tester/Observer for therapy dog certification.

Kassie Respecki THDD NSD CGCA CGCU TKP owned by Laura Respecki of Berkley, MI
Kassie was a stray who spent the first five months of her life living outdoors. When rescued she was very timid and afraid of human contact but after several months she started allowing familiar people to pet her. Laura spent the next year in obedience and agility classes with Kassie, trying to find what really made her happy.

“One day while in public she approached some children and allowed them to pet her; we spent several hours walking up to new people that also had physical contact with her. That was the day that I realized we had to certify her as a therapy dog,” said Laura.

Shortly thereafter they began visiting senior homes, libraries and Detroit Children’s Hospital. A few years later Kassie “found her happy place” at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI; this is where she earned the majority of her 460 visits to date. Laura and Kassie have faithfully volunteered every week for more than six years at Beaumont. During many holiday seasons, they visit daily to raise the spirits of those in need.

“Together we have earned the advanced AKC CGC, Trick Dog, Stunt Dog titles, and attended all the Do More with Your Dog certifying workshops. Our journey has also included training owners to provide an enriched life for their canine companions so that together they can celebrate life at home and in the community just like we are!” added Laura.


McIntire’s Rocky THDD owned by David and Elizabeth McIntire of Westminster, CO
Nine-year-old Rocky has made almost 500 visits as a therapy dog. He completed the requirements for his THDD title with his 400th visit to the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, CO on October 24, 2018.

Most of his visits have been divided between the hospital, the library, and a nursing home. Rocky absolutely loves meeting people and makes friends readily. “He is an ideal therapy dog and gets excited when he sees his working vest being pulled out of the drawer as he knows it is time to get busy,” said Dave.


Molly Frison THDD CGCA CGCU owned by Barbara and Lorin Frison of Munford, TN
The Lorins rescued Molly, a Border Collie mix, seven years ago from their local shelter. She was 6 months old and they needed to “channel her puppy enthusiasm for life into positive behaviors,” said Barbara. Through the process of training they became aware of Molly’s loving and easy-going personality. They made a goal to become a therapy dog team.

After successfully completing advanced obedience classes and passing the CGC, CGCA, CGCU tests, Molly became a registered therapy dog with Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs, Inc. in January 2015. She is now a certified test dog helping prospective therapy teams become certified, and Barbara has become an evaluator with B&BTD.

The team has visited eight different nursing homes and still visit three regularly. They are part of the Memphis International Airport Therapy Dogs and will start visiting a university during finals week.

“We love to participate in educational activities that teach the benefits of therapy dog visits and special events such as the PuppyUp Organization,” said Barbara. “Before we realized it, we made our 400th visit at Covington Care Nursing and Rehab Facility on Dec. 21, 2018. Molly is only 7½ years old, and we have many more places to go, people to see, and love to share.”


Reba THDD owned by Donald Austin of Summerville, SC
Reba is a 5-year-old chocolate Bluetick Coonhound. After an accidental pregnancy at a Bluetick kennel, she was given up to a rescue, where, after her puppies were weaned, Donald was able to adopt her when she was just 17 months old.

“She had a gentle demeanor from the first day I met her and knew she would be a wonderful therapy dog,” he said. “A mere three months after her adoption, she received her therapy dog certification from Alliance of Therapy Dogs and went right to work.”

This team works at least three days a week visiting nursing homes, schools and hospitals around the Charleston, SC, area. They primarily work at the Ralph Johnson VA hospital, Trident Medical Center and The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). In addition to these venues, Reba has worked with Special Olympics and Camp Happy Days for children with cancer.

In conjunction with her 400+ visits, Reba has amassed more than 1,000 hours of visitations. She recently was honored as a “Health Care Hero” by the Charleston Business Journal for her work at MUSC. Reba made her 400th visit at MUSC on December 12, 2018.

“Reba is not your typical coonhound as she is very quiet and a little shy but has an uncanny ability to put people at ease just by her presence. Originally raised as a hunting dog, all Reba hunts now is a soft sofa, a cool floor, and somebody to pet her.”


Rico THDD owned by Linda Fritts of Clearwater, FL
Rico is an 8-year-old Poodle mix who came into the Fritts’ lives when he was 4 months old. “He is a very friendly, inquisitive little dog who enjoys new experiences,” said Linda. “He loves people, old and young, as well as other animals. His many friends include dogs, cats, a bunny and a tortoise.”

Rico was certified as a therapy dog in May 2012 by Paws for Friendship, Inc. and has been brightening people’s lives ever since. He has logged 750-plus visits over the years, but the visit that earned him the AKC Therapy Dog Distinguished title took place on Feb. 2, 2016, at Sabal Palms Health Care Center in Largo, FL.

Rico routinely visits four assisted living/memory care facilities. He is also certified in his therapy group’s Paws to Read program and travels to libraries and schools so that children may read to him. In addition to his therapy visits, Rico attends special events, such as health fairs and Great American Teach-ins at schools, so that students can learn about the role of a therapy dog.

“This happy, handsome boy enjoys bringing a smile to everyone’s face,” said Linda. “I am so grateful to have him in my life and to be able to share him with others.”


Skyler Sacks THDD CGC owned by Heather Danielle Sacks of Baltimore, MD
Eleven-year-old Skyler is an “amazing” therapy dog with Pets on Wheels in Baltimore, MD, Heather said.

Skyler and Heather have been a therapy team since 2013, visiting colleges, schools, assisted living facilities and nursing homes. “Skyler’s quiet temperament and calming spirit enable her to patiently focus on providing therapy even in hospice centers,” said Heather.

A few times a week they visit the hospice center to support the families and patients as they are experiencing the final stages of life. “Skyler’s gentle disposition and keen sense of recognizing someone’s need for comfort make her somewhat of a celebrity in the world of pet therapy.” She has completed more than 400 visits and received her Therapy Dog Distinguished Title (THDD) on Nov. 12, 2018.

Congratulations also to these All-American Dogs who have earned the THDD:

  • Bandit Ryan THDD CGCA owned by Gerry Ryan and Mary Jane Ryan of Helena, MT
  • Beamer’s Max THDD CGCA CGCU owned by Jan M. Beamer of Sun Prairie, WI
  • Bouc THDD owned by James and Ellen Kidwell of Lebanon, TN
  • Joy Larsen THDD CGC owned by Norman Larsen of Tampa, FL
  • Stella Artois Likes to Hike THDD CGCA owned by Pattie DiFraia of Sparks, NV
  • Yeandle’s Dixie BN RI THDD CGCA CGCU TKA owned by Karen Yeandle of Whitesboro, NY

 Barn Hunt Association

The BHA enables all dogs to participate in the sport of hunting for vermin. Dogs track rats safely enclosed in sturdy tubes that are hidden among hay bales. The titles range from Novice level to Champion to Champion Excellent, and since March, Crazy 8s. Go to for more information.

Congratulations to All-American Dogs who recently received recognition of their BHA titles:


Ballenger’s Levi CD BN RE CA SWN SCA SIA RATCH owned by Christine and Robert Ballenger of Wheaton, IL
Levi is an 11-year-old Boxer mix rescue and three-time cancer survivor who recently completed 16 radiation treatments. “He is feeling great and doing well,” said Christine. He came to the Ballengers from a Georgia shelter to Indiana, central Illinois, and finally to Chicago at the age of 2 where they found him.

“His big smile and beautiful brindle coat attracted us, but his constantly wagging tail and sweet personality endeared him to us and our other dogs.” Levi has his CGC, CD, CA, RE and RATCH. They are enjoying advanced scent work.

“Levi is the sweetest big brother to our new little Russell Terrier puppy, the biggest cuddle bug of any dog we’ve ever had and a great home protector. He is one special dog,” added Christine.

Levi earned his RATCH at Yorkville Paws and Claws on June 17, 2018.

High Cotton’s Roodie NAP NJP NFP RATCH CGC TKN owned by Sandra Madison of Ocala, FL
“I came across Roodie on a rescue site through Facebook, and I couldn’t resist his cute face!” said Sandra. “He needed some love and care, but quickly blossomed into the beautiful dog that he is today.” They started out with a few basic obedience classes in which Roodie excelled, encouraging Sandra to do more with him. “This is the first dog that I have trained and really done things with, so he completely opened my eyes to the AKC world,” she said.

“His DNA suggests that he is a Parson Russell and Rat Terrier mix, the majority being Parson,” Sandra said. After obedience, they competed in agility and then Barn Hunt, at which he was a complete natural.

“I can’t imagine my life without Roodie. He is a true blessing, and I am forever changed for the better because of him. It’s wonderful that the AKC allows All American Dogs to be registered and to compete, as they have so much to offer if given the chance. Thank you for recognizing Roodie; he’s a true champion in my eyes!”

Middletree’s Mary’s Littletyke RA CA RATCH CGC TKN owned by Mary Baker and Michael Sonntag of Poquoson, VA
Tyke, a 3-year-old English Shepherd, earned his Barn Hunt Championship on Sept. 29, 2018, at the 4 The Dogs trial in Smithfield, VA. “He has been competing in Barn Hunt trials for a little over two years and is well on his way to becoming a Master Champion,” said Mary. “His characteristics as a prey-driven dog who loves to search and hunt are quite evident while he is in the ring.”

He’s a very active dog also competing in rally, coursing ability, and agility trials. “Tyke truly possesses a wide smile, a happy tail, and a sweet spirit. Every day he makes us laugh by his ability to find fun in every little thing and encourage us to do the same. He starts each day as if it’s the best day in his life.”


Pari Darwina Hope VCD1 BN RAE OA AXJ NFP SWN SCA SEA RATCH CZ8B CGCA TKP owned by Mary Ann Igoe of Blackfoot, ID
Pari earned her RATCH title on July 29, 2018 in Pocatello, ID. “2018 proved to be the ‘year of her nose’ as all ribbons in AKC Scent Work titles thus far and all 10 qualifications for the RATCH title were earned in 2018,” said Mary Ann.

Pari is a mix of Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie, Cocker Spaniel, and 25% undetermined. Mary Ann found her in 2011 on Pet Finder when she was a year old. After a brutal attack by a larger dog, she was left at a veterinary clinic where she was treated for severe damage to her throat and skull, resulting in being nicknamed “Baby Frankenstein” by the staff. When no one returned for her, she was fostered by the Humane Society.

“At first, seemingly benign things like brooms, leashes, loud voices, car rides, and big dogs frightened her. She just wanted to hang out under the bed,” said Mary Ann. “We enrolled in a beginner obedience class, and her confidence bloomed. She loved going to classes and working for treats – so we continue with that fun!”

Barn Hunt is one of Pari’s favorite games and she showed an early interest on the first corner of a tracking trial when she found a nest of mice. They did not pass that test, but after a successful tracking trial a couple months later, they gave Barn Hunt a try.

“Pari truly is my ‘Journey Dog.’ She is the first dog I have ever registered with AKC and we have learned the competition world together. She will be 9 years old this year, and I look forward to many adventures ahead with my wonderful friend.”


  • Rocky Gobeli BCAT THDN RATCHX CGCA CGCU owned by Monica and Gary Gobeli of Land O Lakes, FL


  • MACH PACH Bradley’s Brandy RN FDC MXG MJS MXP6 MXPS MJP5 MJPS PAX2 OF XFP T2B2 T2BP RATCHX12 CZ8P2 DN CGCA CGCU TKI owned by Alison and Kevin Bradley of Fayetteville, AR


  • MACH PACH Bradley’s Brandy RN FDC MXG MJS MXP6 MXPS MJP5 MJPS PAX2 OF XFP T2B2 T2BP RATCHX12 CZ8P2 DN CGCA CGCU TKI owned by Alison and Kevin Bradley of Fayetteville, AR
  • Pari Darwina Hope VCD1 BN RAE OA AXJ NFP SWN SCA SEA RATCH CZ8B CGCA TKP owned by Mary Ann Igoe of Blackfoot, ID
  • Princess Jia Li Of Faerie RM DCAT THDX RATS CZ8B CGCA CGCU TKA owned by Dr. Cynthia Rae Becker DDS MAGD of Fishers, IN


  • Lucky Lucy Lu BN RM FDC OA OAJ OF CA BCAT THD RATM CGCA CGCU TKE owned by Sharon Porter/Michael Porter of Wooster, OH


  • Andy Best Dog in The World RE THDN RATN CGCA TKA owned by Kathy Piecara of Ridgewood, NY
  • Athena Esperanza-Mitchell CA BCAT RATN CGC TKN owned by Alec Mitchell and Michelle Esperanza of Los Angeles, CA
  • Bayley Cottrell SEN RATN CGCA TKA owned by Marilyn Madge Cottrell of Eureka, CA
  • Cookie Wookie RATN CGCA TKI owned by Gabriel Diaz and Jessica Hall of Boynton Beach, FL
  • Crazy for Coco Puff RATN CGCA TKN owned by Cinthya and Michael Penfield of Fairfield, CA
  • Hay There Tag Along RA RATN CGC TKN owned by Lia Peach of Haymarket, VA
  • Jesse B FDC SCN SBN RATN CGCA TKP owned by Valrie Frederick of Center Moriches, NY
  • Jumpin Jeter RATN DM DS CGCA CGCU TKI owned by P. Filomena Diaz Johnson of Rockville, UT
  • Logan’s Flash of An Angel Trixie MX MXJ MXP MJP OF XFP T2B RATN CGC owned by Mrs. Antje L. Logan of Denham Springs, LA
  • Marley L. Miller RATN CGC TKA owned by of Kenova, WV
  • Matzke’s Kronk RA RATN CGC TKA owned by Roger William Matzke of Penndel, PA
  • Matzke’s Odin RE RATN CGC TKA owned by Roger Matzke of Penndel, PA
  • Miss Maya Mayhem NJP NFP ACT1 SWA RATN owned by Sarah Christison of Davenport, IA
  • Moonridge Captain Dynamite DCAT RATN TKN owned by Karen and Thomas Orr of Knoxville, TN
  • Mulcahy’s Hang on Little Tomato RATO CGC TKN owned by Lisa Miller of Bethesda, MD
  • Nina of 70th RATN CGC TKA owned by Michelle M. Hoile of Windsor Heights, IA
  • Penny Pinscher RATN CGCA TKI owned by Nichole Burke of Windham, NH
  • Sergeant Pepper Promises and Prevails RN RATN TKE owned by Joy and Jerry Dyson of Indianapolis, IN
  • Tuvi RN DCAT RATN CGCA TKP owned by Brenda Degnan-Kormylo of Winter Springs, FL


  • Crazy Casey’s Black Bullet BN RN CA RATO DJ TKN owned by Casey Scheidegger of Tucson, AZ
  • Harlow’s Paddy MXP3 MXPB MJP3 MJPB XFP CA THDA RATO TKN owned by Trudy P. Harlow and Edward J. Dervan of Arlington, VA


  • Sir W Riley RATS TKA owned by Lori Wolbach of Pompton Lakes, NJ
  • The Sir Francis Bacon CD BN RE THD RATS CGC TKA owned by Katie Weihbrecht of Iowa City, IA

North American Diving Dogs

NADD offers titles in both distance dock jumping and air retrieve for all dogs. Dogs receive titles based on how far they jump and only compete in the same division with dogs that jump similar distances. For more information go to

Congratulations to this All-American Dog for receiving AKC recognition of the top-level Dock Elite (DE) title for making five jumps over 23 feet:

Schizo CD RE DE TKA owned by Rachael Croley of Gaines, MI
Schizo is a 9 ½ year old Dutch Shepherd/Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix. He competes in and has titled in multiple sports including flyball, dock diving, and competitive obedience. “His personal best in distance jumping is over 29 feet!” said Rachael.

“As a younger dog, Schizo achieved his Rally Excellent title, CGC certificate, and Companion Dog title. As a middle-aged dog, we focused on high energy sports, with his fastest time in flyball clocking at 3.70 seconds. As an older dog Schizo still competes at high levels of competition, having received his Dock Elite title on Labor Day 2018. He earned his Advanced Trick Dog Title last year. Outside of sports, Schizo is the demonstration dog for Einstein Dog Training, and is the best friend of three young (human!) children he’s helped raise.”

PHOTO CREDIT: Whitney Rupps/Chop Photography

DJ (Dock Junior)

  • Crazy Casey’s Black Bullet BN RN CA RATO DJ TKN owned by Casey Scheidegger of Tucson, AZ
  • Jax Majerle RN DJ CGC TKA owned by Pete and Brandi Majerle of Peoria, AZ
  • Kiyah Aikin CA FDCH DJ CGCA TKI owned by Rebecca Aikin of San Diego, CA
  • Oliver McRae DJ DN owned by Ely J. McRae of Franklin, TN
  • Saylor Davis-Lopez DJ CGC owned by Benito Lopez and Heather Davis-Lopez of McAllen, TX
  • Tilden’s Theia DJ CGC TKA owned by Ashley Colleen Tilden of Puposky, MN
  • Tobias’ Isabell BN RN DS DJ owned by Mona Marie Tobias of Rockport, TX

DM (Dock Master)

  • Jumpin Jeter RATN DM DS CGCA CGCU TKI owned by P. Filomena Diaz Johnson of Rockville, UT
  • Scorch-N-Hot DE DM CGC TKN owned by Beth L. Copeland of El Cajon, CA
  • Smith’s Easy Peasy Japanesey BN RE OA AXJ NF CAX BCAT RATO DM DSX AS CGC owned by Stacia Smith of Tamaqua, PA


  • Emberly RN OA OAJ XF CAA FCAT SCN SIN SEN RATM DMA owned by Kathryn Tyler Smiley of Fall Branch, TN


  • Come A-Waltzing Matilda DSA AS owned by Sarah Leatherman of Apple Valley, CA

North American Flyball Association

AKC recognizes three titles of NAFA competitors – the Flyball Dog Champion (FDCh) for 500 points; Flyball Master (FM) for 5,000 points; and the Onyx award for 20,000 points. For more information on NAFA and how to get involved go to

Congratulations to these All-American Dogs for earning the FDCH:

  • Kendyll Aikin CA FDCH CGCA TKA owned by Rebecca Aikin of San Diego, CA
  • Kiyah Aikin CA FDCH DJ CGCA TKI owned by REBECCA AIKIN of San Diego, CA
  • Lolly Pig BCAT FDCH TKI owned by Anna Rhea Fowler of Lake Stevens, WA