Help Sage win Hero Dog Award

June 26, 2011 • Local News

Roswell’s famed Sage, the Search and Rescue dog, has been nominated in the competition for National Honors as the Hero Dog Award from the American Humane Association.

Sage is New Mexico’s last surviving dog who served during 9/11. She is one of 29 dogs competing for the national honor and currently ranks fourth. Sage’s handler and human companion, Diane Whetsel, explained that the competition depends on votes rather than merit.

“I don’t see the other dogs have the same merit that Sage has. We need to show the country that New Mexico has the top dog.” Her exploits in the service for her country are numerous and worthy of praise. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, she was part of the searches conducted at the Pentagon.

During the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, she served in the Gulf Coast. She has also done several tours of duty in Iraq. The people of Roswell can cast votes for Sage at herodog Supporters can vote once every 24 hours, until the deadline, July 31.

Whetsel says that the site is easy to navigate. “Just log on one time, and it will recognize you every time you go back.” If Sage wins, $5,000, will be donated the the National Search Dog Alliance.

Meanwhile, each vote cast generates an automatic donation by Cesar Canine Cuisine to the AHA, and there is no cost to vote. Sage has battled cancer for the past two years and she has been the inspiration for the formation of the Sage Foundation for Dogs Who Serve, an organization that helps fund medical treatments for other dogs who have served their country.

“I hope this competition will get the word out about the foundation,” said Whetsel.

Sage acts as the poster dog for the charity, which was created to help dogs who are ill or injured often as a result of their work in search and rescue.

With her human, Sage has also raised awareness of the needs of service dogs whose medical issues are not eligible for funds from the military or civil organizations that they have served.

Now ranked as cancer survivor herself, Sage has donated her support, her time and her presence to local events for cancer survivers. Whetsel reported that Sage finished her most recent batch of chemotherapy a month ago and she is doing fine. “She’s 12 years old, but she was listed as cancer free.”

Whetsel urges people not only to vote but to contact their friends and put the link on their Facebook pages. A vote will help support not just one but three organizations that provide aide for dogs. To vote and review the candidates, visit herodog

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