By Verena Dobnik, The Associated Press
NEW YORK - Just after Sept. 11, 2001, the moist nose of a dog named
Jake searched for signs of life at ground zero, his sore paws scaling
heaps of jagged rubble night after night.
Now the black Labrador from Utah is up for an international award
honoring heroic dogs.
Jake is among six U.S. nominees for Canine World Hero - to be chosen
by Internet voters. The winning dog is to be recognized in August in
Washington, D.C., with a cement paw print at a Hollywood-style canine
Walk of Fame. Voting was scheduled to begin earlier this month.
Jake and his owner, Mary Flood, are on 24-hour call, year round, to
respond to disasters as members the Federal Emergency Management
Agency's 27 search-and-rescue units, and as volunteers for Utah's
Rocky Mountain Rescue Dogs.
Jake is a four-legged mirror to the humans he's out to save: He's a
Flood adopted him about six years ago after he was abandoned, a puppy
with a broken leg and a dislocated hip. He's now a muscular 82-pound
animal trained to tackle disasters like building collapses,
earthquakes and floods.
Puerto Rico and nine foreign countries - Argentina, Brazil, Britain,
Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico and South Korea - also are
choosing their own outstanding service canines.
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Among the other U.S. nominees are Roselle, a Labrador from Novato,
Calif., who guided her blind master to safety from the 78th floor of
a World Trade Center tower on Sept. 11; Peekaboo, a Papillon from
Tucson, Ariz., who assists a woman suffering from terminal vascular
disease; Crazy Joe, a Labrador working as a drug detector in New
York; and Remington, a Capitol Hill explosives-sniffing Labrador.