Rescue Dogs Finally Get Their Shot At ‘Top Dog’

I’ve written a lot about the world’s most venerable dog shows. This past week I reported on the recently held Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show celebrating its 142nd year, February 12 at Madison Square Garden. With breeds such as the Bichon Frise, over the years, those prominent award ceremonies highlighted the beauty and talents of the world’s top pedigrees.

But what about those overlooked pups made up of the lost and the abused? What about those canines who need medical assistance or just a good home they may be lacking? What about all those rescue and sheltered animals? Shouldn’t they also get their day in the sun? Read on and see if that long-overdue acknowledgement is about to become a reality.

Rescue Dog History

For those like myself who are aware, the story of rescue dogs has a long history, dating all the way back to 1824:

  • 1824: The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is formed in Britain, giving birth to an organized welfare group for dogs. This sets the foundation for a shift in people's perspective about dogs.
  • 1866: The SPCA makes its way to the US. Henry Bergh forms the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Most people ridicule and oppose him, or simply show indifference towards animal welfare, but the ASPCA continues to grow.
  • 1869: The very first official animal shelter in the country is formed by the Women's SPCA of Pennsylvania.
  • 1877: The American Humane Association is formed.
  • 1954: The Humane Society of the United States is formed.
  • 1960s and 1970s: Private animal shelters are formed in addition to the municipal ones available in an effort to bring in strays and find them homes. Public opinion about strays starts to shift and people begin to view them as potential pets rather than public health hazards.


Hallmark Channel Creates a First

With that lengthy passage of time, it's about time [don't you think?] that a ceremony in their honor take place?

Well . . . perhaps without the panache of Westminster, Hallmark Channel's first-time event "2018 American Rescue Dog Show" is scheduled to appear. This inaugural event will feature shelter dogs of various breeds from across the country vying for top dog in the world's most adorable categories.

It will focus on the heartfelt traits and benefits of mixed breeds and rescued purebreds. Breeds competing for first place will include Basset Hounds, English Bull Dogs, Maltese, St. Bernard, Mixed Breeds and many more. Categories to compete for will be: Best in Underbite, Best in Talking, Best in Senior Dog, Best in Fetcher, Best in Kissing, Best in Special Needs and Best in Listener.

Some of the quirkier categories that will surely bring a smile to face of dog fanciers will be Best Couch Potato, Best in Snoring and Best in Wiggle Butt.

The mission of the "2018 American Rescue Dog Show" is to celebrate rescue dogs in a personality-driven competition. The goal of the show is to spotlight these incredible pets and inspire viewers to adopt their next dog from their local shelter or rescue organization. Whether already in homes or waiting to be adopted, these dogs are all heart and full of personality.

2000 Entries & Winner to be Announced . . .

Nationwide, from more than 2,000 entries competing in 10 semifinal categories, the “Best in Rescue” will become 'top dog' in Pomona, California.

Serving as the show's official mascot is the network's own rescued and adopted pet, Happy the Dog. In addition to starring in movies and specials, Happy the Dog is a certified therapy dog and emotional support animal.

Petco Foundation is providing $75,000 in non-profit grants to the winners and will be showcased throughout the show as a great resource for viewers to find their next pet.

For those interested in the winner, tune in to the Hallmark Channel, Monday, February 19 at 8-11 p.m. or check back on this post for that very special update. Any guesses? [see below]

Rescue Dogs Finally Get Their Shot At ‘Top Dog’

UPDATE: Winner Annouced

Best in Rescue Winner: Jackie
Prize: $25,000
Rescue Organization: A Purposeful Rescue

About Jackie: At age 11, Jackie is young, gentle, and has an amazing spirit. She also loves to be by your side and just sit and stare into your eyes. Jackie was 10 years old when her former family left her at the shelter. Being a senior dog, and a black dog, her chances of adoption were slim. She was scheduled for euthanasia, and with hours to spare, she was rescued just in time! From the moment Jackie came home and met her new family, two kids, and three other rescue dogs, she knew she was home. Jackie loves snuggling in bed with her family at night, after a long day of swimming, playing fetch, and socializing. She has never met a person or dog that she didn’t like.

2018 American Rescue Dog Show

Other winners in other categories are listed here.


Primary Source: 2018 American Rescue Dog Show