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Xena, Hero Animal of the Year

When a Lilburn, GA couple adopted Xena, a Flat Coated Retriever, from an animal shelter, they never realized what a wonderful addition she would become to the family. The beautiful black dog has paid the Hunt family back several times by rescuing another family pet as well as a 2-year-old child. This pet has developed a remarkable value for life.

When Gabbie was in need of assistance, Xena was there to help. The African Grey parrot had somehow gotten to the middle of the backyard pond and was unable to free itself. Xena swam to the middle of the pond and gently picked up the parrot in her mouth and held it above the water. She swam with the parrot, placed it safely on shore and licked her feathers. The two have shared a special connection every since the rescue.

A few months later, a family visitor’s child successfully climbed over the pond fence and tried to go for a swim. Before the little visitor could get in the water, Xena placed herself between the child and the water and frantically barked until someone came to help.

In addition to being a hero, Xena is also the companion to one of the Hunt’s daughter who is paralyzed. This highly valued member of the family was named the Hero Animal of the Year by the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association which honors and celebrates the human-animal bond and the ways animals enhance our lives. She was nominated by Dr. Elizabeth H. Clayton of the Mountain Park Animal Hospital in Lilburn, GA.