Hill’s Pet Nutrition awarded a two-year supply of Hill’s Science Diet pet food to the owners of Scout, a companion dog who supports a 17-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. Scout won the Assistance Dog of the Year competition, sponsored by Hill’s. Hill’s will also make a $1,000 donation to Canine Companion for Independence, the organization that trained Scout.
The 5-year-old golden retriever provides practical support for his owner by picking up dropped items, removing his owner’s socks, collecting laundry and closing drawers and cabinet doors. Equally important, Scout serves as a companion and social bridge. Scout’s owner, Duncan Cumby, is from Stephenville, Texas.
“Assistance dogs work every day to improve the quality of their owner’s lives,” said Jolle Kirpensteijn, chief professional relations officer at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, in a press release. “This competition was an opportunity to work with our veterinary healthcare team colleagues to celebrate the outstanding contribution that assistance dogs make and to champion the amazing organizations that train them. The support and companionship these animals provide can transform an individual’s life and often has a positive effect on the entire family.”
Hill’s partnered with the veterinary journal Clinician’s Brief to run the Assistance Dog competition in early 2017. Veterinary professionals from around the world were encouraged to nominate outstanding assistance dogs that they had cared for in their clinic. A panel of independent veterinarians selected three monthly winners and then named Scout as the Grand Winner and Assistance Dog of the Year.
The three monthly winners and the yearly winner will each receive a one-year supply of Hill’s Science Diet pet food.
Honey, a German shepherd that supports Michael Gaither, a wheelchair-bound U.S. Army veteran from Chiefland, Florida. In addition to the constant companionship she provides, Honey supports Gaither by picking up clothes and opening doors. She is also trained to find help or call 911 in an emergency.
Lena, a 15-month-old Doberman pinscher that assists Hannay Haley from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Lena alerts Haley if she is about to suffer a medical seizure and performs tasks that mitigate her anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. This help enables Haley to live a more indepen
New shelter data casts doubt on whether the pet population and pet ownership are truly growing.
While the pandemic caused unprecedented suffering worldwide in 2020, the disruptions to dogs, cats and other pets adoption numbers may normalize in 2021.