This past February, the Hallmark Channel put on the first-ever American Rescue Dog Show, a competition for — you guessed it — rescue dogs.
This is not your usual breed-standard show with purebred canines being physically examined by a judge and run in circles across the stage.
Instead, the show includes 10 categories of some of the things we love most about our canine friends.
The rescues competed in the following areas:
- Best in Couch Potato
- Best in Fetching
- Best in Kissing
- Best in Listening
- Best in Senior
- Best in Snoring
- Best in Special Needs
- Best in Talking
- Best Underbite
- Best Wiggle Butt
Each category had 5 finalists who made it to the stage to strut their stuff.
While I have to admit I am partial to a wiggle butt, my favorite category to watch had to be the couch potatoes. The team brought out 5 couches, 1 for each finalist, and the dogs in this category got to demonstrate their stellar couch-hogging skills.
The winner, a Saint Bernard named Lazarus, wasted no time relaxing with ease as though he were sitting in his own living room and not in front of an audience of strangers.
Lazarus is a gentle giant who, when he’s not lazing on the couch, enjoys going for car rides and meeting people on walks around his neighborhood, particularly kids and other dogs.
As charming as Lazarus was, I think my favorite category winner would have to be Charlie, a Dalmatian mix who won the Best in Special Needs category.
Charlie is deaf and had been in 4 different homes before his forever human finally adopted him. What makes Charlie so special? He now knows 52 commands in American Sign Language!
Charlie struggled to learn in his previous homes because he can’t hear, which made training difficult, but he’s incredibly smart. Finally finding a person who refused to give up on him, he was able to overcome his hearing obstacles.
Charlie went on to become a therapy dog, and his human says one of his favorite signs is “I love you,” and his favorite activity is to run along the beach with a group of his canine pals.
So what do the winners receive besides ultimate recognition?
Charlie, Lazarus and the other category winners each earned a $5,000 donation to the rescue group that rescued them, with the grand prize, Best in Rescue Champion of all the categories, getting a whopping $25,000 to their rescue.
And the recipient of this incredible grand prize? The Best in Senior winner, an 11-year-old black Lab named Jackie.
Jackie was 10 years old when she was dropped off at the shelter and was rescued by her family only hours before she was scheduled for euthanasia.
Jackie now lives with her family and 3 other rescue dogs, and her favorite things to do are snuggle on the bed and go swimming. In fact, despite her age, her family says Jackie will spend hours swimming in the pool and catching the ball, no matter how tired she is.
Check out what the rescue dog show was all about:
Recognizing the Rescuers
Of course, it wouldn’t be a show about rescues without honoring the heroes of animal rescue: the people who help make it all happen.
The Hallmark Channel dedicated a segment of the show to the hardworking men and women who help find, treat and rehome animals all over the country.
And while this part of the show is likely to make you tear up a little, it’s so important to recognize the hard work thousands of people put in every day to make sure every animal is treated with dignity, care and respect.
And rest assured the majority of the show is sure to bring nothing but smiles, laughter and heartwarming stories of truly great dogs.
If you’re interested in learning more about American Rescue Dog Show, you can check out highlights on the Hallmark Channel’s website, where you’ll also find pictures and biographies of the finalists and the winners.
Season 2 is planned for next year, so keep an eye out! There are lots of great rescue dogs out there just waiting to have their special talents celebrated.
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This article was written by Kristene Carroll, a certified veterinary technician. She worked for 10 years in general practice and now works in specialty doing anesthesia and surgery. She lives in Massachusetts with her boyfriend and 3 dogs.
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