American Kennel Club Honors A Special Breed of Hero

New York, NY — As we honor the heroic dogs of 9-11 on the tenth anniversary of the terrorists attacks, American Kennel Club President and CEO Dennis Sprung remembers his emotional visit to Ground Zero after a call came from the rubble of the World Trade Center that working canines injured in the rescue effort needed medical help. The AKC community was a first responder for those heroic search-and-rescue dogs, purchasing and transporting a portable x-ray machine and medical equipment to lower Manhattan two days later. Additionally, AKC supporters covered 100% of the veterinarian bills for those dogs injured working the pile searching for survivors.

Watch a video tribute of the heroic dogs of 9-11 by AKC President and CEO Dennis Sprung at or

“Upon hearing about these tragic events, the AKC community immediately jumped into action to assist the search and rescue dogs working at the sites,” Sprung said. “Reflecting back, I know that AKC did the right thing for our working canines and for our Nation during a time of tragedy.”

Sprung’s visit in the aftermath turned to a vision of “we can do more.” His experience sparked the creation of – through the DOGNY public art initiative- the largest search-and-rescue charitable fund in America. Many may remember the colorfully painted German Shepherd Dog statues spotted around Manhattan, home to the AKC, leading up to the first anniversary of these tragic events.

Since 2002, the AKC CAR Canine Support and Relief Fund has proudly supported the crucial role these volunteers have during natural disasters and other emergencies when the unique talents of a highly trained canine and his handler can often mean the difference between life and death for a missing individual.

The Fund has donated more than $3.5 million to Search and Rescue (SAR) teams and to organizations supporting companion animal relief during natural disasters such as the recent tornadoes in Alabama. In 2011, the Fund gave more than $340,000 in grants, the majority to SAR K-9s as well as other support organizations.

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The American Kennel Club (AKC) proudly celebrated its 125th Anniversary in 2009. Since 1884 the not-for-profit organization has maintained the largest registry of purebred dogs in the world, and today its rules govern more than 20,000 canine competitions each year. The AKC is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function. Along with its nearly 5,000 licensed and member clubs and its affiliated organizations, the AKC advocates for the purebred dog as a family companion, advances canine health and well-being, works to protect the rights of all dog owners and promotes responsible dog ownership. Affiliate AKC organizations include the AKC Humane Fund, AKC Canine Health Foundation, AKC Companion Animal Recovery and the AKC Museum of the Dog. For more information, visit

AKC, American Kennel Club, the American Kennel Club seal and design, and all associated marks and logos are trademarks, registered trademarks and service marks of The American Kennel Club, Inc.


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