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Honored Service Dog

As the small and sickly member of the litter, Holly was not given much hope for survival; however, 14-year-old Shanna Wilkinson of Magna, UT saw some hope and nursed the little Shetland Sheepdog back to health. As their bond grew, it was clear that the little Sheltie was something special.

When Holly was three-years-old, she began displaying unusual behaviors around her owner, Shanna. Whenever the Sheltie became very attentive, Shanna would have a seizure. It was then that Shanna was diagnosed with epilepsy and found that she was having 7-10 grand maal seizures a day. Holly’s had a remarkable ability to predict when Shanna was about to have a seizure. She even knew before Shanna. The two began training together for Holly to become Shanna’s service dog.

As Shanna regained her independence and overcame her fears, Holly was right there by her side, making sure to warn her in time to get to a safe place before the onset of a seizure. Together, they have earned titles in Agility, Herding, Obedience and Rally. The two often visit elementary schools to help educate others about service dogs and responsible pet ownership. Shana wrote in her nomination, “Holly is more than just another dog; she is my life, my love, my protector, my everything. I believe everything happens for a reason and Holly was sent here to watch over me."

For her work as a Service Dog, Holly is the recipient of the Award for Canine Excellence (ACE) sponsored by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Established in 2000, ACE has become a valuable public-outreach program for the AKC. Holly was a recipient in the Service Dog category.