It’s not unusual to find Elle, a 5-year-old pit bull, cuddling up to elementary school children for story time. She is a therapy dog at an elementary and a middle school in North Carolina.
Her owner, Leah Brewer, started Elle in a reading program called Tail Wagging Tales to help students practice reading and strengthen their confidence.
Students at Vaughan Elementary in Macon, N.C. and Chaloner Middle School in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., take turns sitting with Elle and reading out loud to her for 20 minutes. Leah said, “She provides confidence for students and a comforting ear.”
The American Humane Association honored Elle with the 2013 American Hero Dog award. Elle and the other finalists were flown to LA with their owners to attend the star-studded awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Her win is a sign that misconceptions about pit bulls might be changing.
The Humane Association awarded Elle the top honor after combining more than 1 million public votes with those from a panel of animal activists and celebrity judges that included Kristin Chenoweth, Candy Spelling and Miranda Lambert. Other finalists included:
- Cassidy, a three-legged dog who visits rehabilitation centers to comfort children with disabilities.
- Jingles, a guide dog who brings joy, exuberance and safe travels to her disabled owner.
Congratulations to all the dogs that were up for the American Hero Dog award and to all those that are heroes in their own right. You are all winners! I cannot tell you how happy I am about Elle, as I advocate for pit bulls to change their bad public image! Pit bulls were once recognized as America’s Heroes and ‘nanny’ dogs. Bringing it back!
Check out BADRAP, dispelling the myths about pit bulls. BADRAP was ranked nationally as the number one high-impact nonprofit for Local Animal Welfare, Rights, & Protection for Guidestar’s Philanthropedia.
- Bully for her! Elle the pit bull is 2013 American Hero Dog (today.com)
- Pit Bull Named Year’s Top “American Hero Dog” At The 2013 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™ (prnewswire.com)
- Rescued Pit Bull Saves Boy’s Life (newser.com)