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.