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TX: Bull Terrier Receives AKC Humane Fund Award for Canine Excellence

Discussion in 'Bull Terrier' started by Vicki, Sep 17, 2011.

  1. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator Administrator

    Rescued Bull Terrier gets his day
    Tugg receives AKC Humane Fund Award for Canine Excellence

    A rescue dog that’s been to the brink of death and back, a Cleburne English Bull Terrier, Tugg, was recently chosen as one of five winners of the 12th annual AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence.

    The annual ACE awards honor the work of five extraordinary dogs that have made significant contributions to their communities in five different categories. The categories include Exemplary Companion, Law Enforcement, Search and Rescue, Service and Therapy.

    Tugg received the top honor in the Exemplary Companion category.

    “It’s the equivalent of a person winning the Congressional Medal of Honor. It’s the highest award that a dog can win,†said Tugg’s owner, Blake Ovard. “I remember very little of that phone conversation, I was in such shock.â€

    Though he’s a happy, tail-wagging pooch today, Tugg’s life did not start out the way it should have. Tugg’s “parents,†animal control officers Blake and Kim Ovard rescued the pup when he was four months old.

    “He was on the side of the road in Fort Worth,†Blake said. “Somebody called the police because they saw someone wrap Tugg in a blanket and stake [the blanket] into the ground.â€

    Whomever left the puppy on the side of the road also left a 3-by-5 inch index card nearby that simply read, “Dog.â€

    Tugg, barely alive, suffered from severe demodectic mange that covered about 80 percent of his body. He was also battling several other infections in his body and on his skin.

    In fact, Tugg’s skin was so badly infected that the animal control officer who brought him in thought Tugg had been burned. Even his eyes were sealed shut.

    The Ovards soon noticed that whenever they walked past Tugg’s cage at the animal shelter, Tugg would try to come say hello, even though he couldn’t see anything.

    “We see [sick animals] every day, but we just couldn’t let him die. He wanted to live so bad,†Kim said.

    “He had this spark about him that he just wanted to live.â€

    It was a Sunday when Kim took Tugg home, just one day shy of Tugg’s scheduled euthanization.

    Kim rushed Tugg to an emergency clinic where the doctor told her it was best to put Tugg down, but Kim refused.

    “She called me crying,†Blake said.

    The Ovards said they didn’t know how much hope to have for Tugg but wanted to do whatever they could for him.

    The next day, the Ovards’ regular vet told the couple that they could “try†to recuperate the dog. It would take lots of love, time and money.

    After a few days, people kept asking how Tugg was doing. That’s when Blake decided to make Tugg his own Facebook fan page entitled “Tugg the Bull Terrier puppy.†The first week, the page had 15 or 20 fans, Blake said. After that, the page gained about 100 fans a week.

    Tugg’s Facebook fan page is regularly updated with news on his progress and resilience.

    “We always made his ‘pupdate’ happy because there is so much sad in the world. We just don’t want to do that, we want happy things,†Kim said.

    Today, Tugg has more than 9,500 fans on his page. An out-of-state Facebook fan was the one who actually nominated Tugg for the ACE award, the Ovards said.

    Tugg is a certified Therapy Dog that makes school visits, “reads†with children and helps raise children’s self-esteem with his “You are great just the way you are†program.

    “He knows when he goes into school, he goes to work. He knows what his mission is. And then at home, he’s a little stinkin’ brat,†Kim said with a laugh.

    “As long as he enjoys doing it, we’ll let him do it,†she said.

    On school trips, the Ovards show pictures of Tugg when he was sick, and of course, pictures of Tugg in his super hero cape.

    “He beefs all up when his cape is on,†Blake said. “He became a super hero, fighting stick monsters and front porch swing cushion monsters ***— evil doers everywhere.â€

    In fact, Super Hero Tugg is the only living being to have ever been inducted into the Hall of Heroes Museum in Elkhart, Ind.

    “The kids really identify with that. He shows people the good in life and why life is worth living,†Blake said.

    Tugg has also been to numerous charity events and has helped to raise money for animal rescue, cancer research and the Susan G. Komen foundation, among others.

    He has even participated in doggie fashion shows that raised money for smaller shelters.

    Tugg has worked hard to help to recover foster animals the Ovards have taken in to nurse back to health. He has also “adopted†soldiers overseas who he sends care packages to, and spends time working with fire departments.

    And, if being dog-in-chief of the Ovards’ free magazine publication, Texas Dogs & Cats Fort Worth/Dallas isn’t enough, Tugg even has his very own Dallas Cowboys jersey, specially made with his name on the back.

    His wears No. 7, the Ovards said, because Tugg was found on July 7, 2010. Tugg is expected to make appearances at six Cowboy pep rallies between now and Christmas.

    “It’s all him,†Blake said. “It’s one of those things you hear about but you never think could happen to you,†he said.

    Kim agreed.

    “God gave us Tugg as a voice,†she said. “We can help people and animals. It’s like he was born to do this,†she said.

    Tugg is out to prove that no matter how “ruff†times get, you can always bounce back.

    All five winners of the ACE awards will receive $1,000 and an engraved silver collar medallion at an award ceremony on Dec. 17 in Orlando, Fla.

    Local ceremonies will also be held, with information on the date and times not yet released.

    Tugg the English Bull Terrier sits in front of a school bus painting, proudly displaying his badge that says he’s an “animal patrol officer.†Tugg recently received the American Kennel Club’s Humane Fund Award for Canine Excellence in the Exemplary Companion Dog category.

    Tugg wears a shirt by Fenley and glasses, his own, at the Dallas Four-Legged Fashion Show in May. The designers’ clothes were auctioned off, and Tugg’s glasses were such a hit, they went to a bidder as well. All donations from the event went to help small animal shelters in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

    September 16, 2011 By Amber Bell/ The Cleburne Times-Review Fri Sep 16, 2011, 05:00 PM CDT
  2. Bellaluna

    Bellaluna Puppy

    I met Tugg earlier this year at the Ft. Worth shows, he is such a doll, what a sweet, sweet dog! Love him : )
  3. fctv808

    fctv808 Little Dog

  4. Shiskababe

    Shiskababe Puppy

    Great Article. I am a Tugg follower on Facebook :)

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