Black Collar Affair Honors Canine Heroes

The guests of honor wore black ties, arrived in limousines and walked the yellow carpet – on high-low-jack .

In a “black collar” ceremony in ny City, professionally trained service dogs were honored for his or her contributions to the community through the Pedigree Paws to acknowledge program, an annual tribute to canine heroes.

Jacko, an 8-year-old Belgian Malinois, took home top honors because the 2005 Canine of the Year for his work to guard America’s borders. In his career with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, he has detected quite 32,000 pounds of marijuana, 800 pounds of cocaine and 9 pounds of heroin. Using his detection skills, Jacko alerted authorities of a scheme to smuggle 49 people inside wooden boxes on two flatbed trailers into the us .

Other notable nominees included Jenner, a retriever that works as a seeing-eye dog for the blind and as a hospital volunteer in San Francisco; Keyotae, a volunteer search-and-rescue bloodhound who is on call 24 hours a day; Shug, a retriever that comforts patients through her work as a therapy dog at various hospitals; and Boris, a Belgian Malinois and military dog who served in Bosnia, Kosovo and last Iraq, where he was a morale building for lonely and homesick soldiers.

More than 50,000 people cast their votes online for the dog they felt most deserved the title of Canine of the Year. All nominees received medals of honor and every dog’s paw print was placed in cement. The prints were then added to the Hollywood-style “Pedigree Paws of Fame” in l. a. .

This year, Pedigree created two additional awards during a new “Everyday Heroes” category honoring non-service dogs and other people who exemplify a love for dogs through their work.

The winners were Pepper, a 3-year-old pointer/healer mix from San Antonio who, despite a fear of water, saved his family’s two children who were caught during a riptide; and Dave Breen of Sierra Vista, Ariz., who has rescued quite 250 greyhounds through his self-started, not-for-profit organization.

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