2006 AKC Awards for Canine Excellence

When I was active in agility with Darcy I got to meet a very special handler named Ron, who always had the crowds cheering him and his dogs on. So, it was so exciting to learn today that he had won this year’s AKC ACE Award in the category of Exemplary Companion Dog. These are wonderful awards and you should go and check out all the honorees for this year. Some years back, I actually nominated the winning dog (Senior Bullet) for this very same award.

Here is the write-up for Ron and his beautiful gal K.D.:

K.D. is a six-year-old Golden Retriever described as “the canine half of an extraordinary agility team”. She and Ron Heller have excelled in a sport that is said to require agility and speed, not only in the dog, but in the handler as well. Ron, affected by cerebral palsy and limited mobility, has proved that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Together, he and K.D. have earned Master Excellent and Agility Excellent Jumper titles.As a team, they have overcome challenges by focusing on what they CAN do and are an inspiration to many. Watching Ron direct K.D. through a complicated course, it appears to bystanders as if K.D. is actually reading Ron’s mind. Ron has trained K.D. to respond to cues from as far as the opposite side of the ring. His success with K.D. has motivated Ron to become an agility instructor, specializing in teaching distance handling skills.

Outside the agility ring K.D. transforms into a gentle, quiet dog that walks politely on lead. The team has qualifying scores in Novice Obedience and Novice Rally. K.D. is also a registered therapy dog with Therapy Dog, Inc. Ron and K.D. are active in their local dog club and together they visit nursing homes, schools, and give training demonstrations at community events.


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