1. Surviving a Bobcat Attack
On December 15, 2007, three days after her second birthday, Sydney was badly mauled in a near-fatal attack by a bobcat in the fenced yard at her home in Maine. She underwent two emergency surgeries to save her life and her front left leg. Beating all odds, Sydney survived, but the prognosis for her leg was not good. At best, she more than likely had suffered severe nerve damage and would either walk with a bad limp or drag the leg altogether (which would eventually lead to amputation). Her show days were over as far as everyone was concerned, but she was alive and healthy.
In late January 2008, she was allowed to finally have all of her bandages removed and go out into the yard where she had been attacked more than a month earlier. After a few very tentative steps, Sydney broke out into a full zoom around the yard, finally collapsing in a heap 20 minutes later. Against all odds, she returned to the show ring in September 2008, finishing the year in the top 20 after competing in only nine shows and winning a group along the way. In 2009, Sydney was the winner of multiple groups and group placements and finished the year as the number two Tibetan Terrier bitch and number five Tibetan Terrier overall in the country, earning an invitation to Westminster.
2. Mobility Assistance Service Dog
Zorro is a mobility assistance service dog and is shown with his disabled handler, Sara. These two have been working together after Sara's first service dog had to retire due to age. She started teaching Zorro, and although Malinois dogs are usually not cut out for it, Zorro matured and instinctively gravitated toward those in need of assistance.
Sara and Zorro are now the perfect team and have flown around the country, participating in some prestigious shows and earning some impressive titles. Sara says the most impressive thing, though, is Zorro's dedication to his work.
3. Surviving a Hurricane and Bear Attack
Deacon and his smooth collie housemate were let out to use the bathroom the evening of a hurricane, and for some reason, the other smooth collie decided to take off and Deacon decided to followed her. During the night, they were separated. The collie stayed at a wood lot, but Deacon made it to a small farm. The next day,, a door blew off a pen of turkeys belonging to the farm's owner, and the turkeys got out. Despite having never been trained to herd, Deacon herded all the turkeys back into the pen.
Deacon showed off his heroism again during his stay with his handler/co-owner, Natasha, in New York. She took Deacon out for a run around the paddock one morning, and while she was tending to the other dogs, Deacon suddenly began barking and acting very strange. Natasha was yelling at him to come, but when he resisted, she knew something was wrong. Natasha saw the reason for the commotion—a bear. Deacon continued to growl and bark at it and finally chased it out of the yard, watching it run across the road up to the woods. Had it not been for Deacon's bravery, the bear would have likely done some major damage while searching for food around the house.
4. Seizure Alert Dog
Vala is a female Canaan dog who acts as a seizure alert dog for her 14-year-old handler, who has cerebral palsy. Ethan, her handler, feels the effects of cerebral palsy on his entire left side, but that hasn't stopped this dynamic duo from constantly winning Best of Breed.
5. Lead Sled Dog
Trace is a working dog as well as a show dog. This Husky runs lead on a sled team and has participated in several sledding events. He has led the six-dog team in the Siberian Husky Club of America's National Specialty rig race as well as the Nemacolin Winterfest 6 and 4 dog teams. Trace also participates in educational sledding demonstrations, and while running, he averages a four-minute mile.