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Winnipeg Rottweiler a Purina hall of famer

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TORONTO -- Stinky is anything but.

The 10-year-old Winnipeg Rottweiler is headed into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame after being named the service dog of the year. She and four other dogs -- all family pets -- were honoured for their acts of loyalty and bravery at a ceremony in Toronto on Monday in one of Canada's longest-running pet-recognition programs.

Stinky is part of the Manitoba Search and Rescue's Elite Psychiatric Therapy Dog Program, founded by her owner, George Leonard. One of the key program components is providing constant emotional therapy via psychiatric dogs to Canadian soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Stinky, who serves as the lead dog, has helped provide love and encouragement to soldiers diagnosed with severe cases of PTSD and depression.

Since its creation in 1968, more than 150 animals have been inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame, which recognizes life-saving feats of pets and service animals.

Their images and stories will be on display at PawsWay in Toronto, the permanent home of the hall of fame.

This year's other honourees:

Scooter, a 12-year-old Australian Cattle Dog, and Missy, a six-year-old border collie from Cherhill, Alta.

The dogs, who spent their days herding cattle on a family ranch, are credited for helping save owner Glenda Mosher after one of the cows turned and fiercely charged at her. Scooter jumped at the cow and nipped her on the nose, while Missy bit the animal's hind leg. The pair continued to bark and run at the cow, distracting the animal until it finally turned away from Mosher and walked back through the gate. Mosher's injuries included broken ribs, a broken jaw, broken cheek bone and teeth, a fractured skull and a dislocated hip. She lost hearing for several weeks and has a numbed lower lip due to her injuries -- but survived. Scooter, who died on April 15, will be honoured posthumously.

Moose, a two-year-old whippet from Trenton, Ont.

Jolene Sararas was doing chores in the kitchen with the back door open to keep an eye on her daughter, and Moose was outside with the young girl. The dog's furious barking and jumping helped alert her attention to three-year-old Alexis. The girl's neck was caught in the backyard wire gate, leaving her barely conscious. Alexis survived and suffered no permanent injuries.

K'os, a two-year-old French Neapolitan mastiff from Peterborough, Ont.

Linda and Jason Guindon's son, Hunter, 14, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 2009, a condition that affects the lungs and can lead to difficulty breathing. When the normally calm K'os ran into their bedroom and began barking furiously and jumping on the couple's bed they were immediately concerned. Linda followed K'os into her son's room and found the dog standing over Hunter, who was having a severe seizure. The teen was rushed to hospital and was later diagnosed with epilepsy. Linda Guindon said without the dog's quick thinking "our son Hunter would not be here today."

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 17, 2011 D1

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