Scully, the star of the WakeMed Pet Assisted Program, has been nominated for the 2012 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards. Finalists get a trip to Hollywood.
Created two years ago, the awards celebrate the contributions of our four-legged friends who offer a comforting paw during times of need, protect our communities, and serve as first responders during emergencies.
Scully, a Lab/Golden Retriever mix, was nominated in the “service dog” category by Elizabeth Penny, his handler and a licensed/certified therapist at WakeMed. He helps patients who have suffered a stroke or brain injury with articulation of speech; provides physical therapy by letting patients groom, walk or feed him; and serves as “pure motivation”, especially for pediatric patients.
He wears a special vest that identifies him as a service dog. When you see a dog wearing such a vest, please remember that the dog is working. Do not pat the dog. Service dogs like Scully get lots of love and attention from the patients they help and the family who cares for him.
“Some people say Scully is built like a linebacker, but has the temperament of a kindergarten teacher – unflappable and endlessly patient,” Penny wrote in Scully’s nomination. “The impact that he has had on my patients and my co-workers has been profound.”
To vote for Scully, visit www.herodogawards.org until June 30 and select the “service dogs” category from the pull-down menu. Scully’s photo is in the middle, a third of the way down the page. The top vote-getter will be named “First Place Category Winner” and “Finalist” for that category. You can vote once a day!
A second round of voting will be held from July 3 to October 5 to help determine the grand prize winner. A judging panel consisting of celebrities, animal care professionals, and other advisors will also help choose the winner.
The real winners are the patients of all ages Scully helps at WakeMed for three hours a day, five days a week. He has helped patients improve their memory and word retrieval, their socialization skills, balance, and range of motions. Patients who have worked with Scully often experience more self-confidence and the motivation to participate in daily activities.