Five heroic dogs have been selected as winners of the 11th annual AKC Humane Fund Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE).

The winners, announced today, are:

 – Cassius, who was adopted from a shelter.  Cassius has assisted in rescue activities related to Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina, and helped in Haiti after the earthquake, amongst other crises.  Cassius is also a certified Therapy dog.

 – Rufus, the top winning Bull Terrier of all time, is retired from the show circuit and now works as a Therapy dog at schools, nursing and rehabilation centers, and even visited wounded troops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

 – Wyatt, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, serves as a patient and gentle ‘trial’ dog for developmentally disabled and autistic children.  Through his work with Merlin’s Kids, he has spent time with hundreds of children during evaluations to see if a service dog is an appropriate option for a child.

 – Nike, a German Shepherd, is a ten year veteran of the New Castle County, Delaware, police department.  He has participated in the apprehension of 161 suspects, and assisted with the seizure of $1.6 million in illegal drugs.   He also helped locate a lost Alzheimer’s patient, and a 6 year old autistic boy, during his years of service.

 – Ricochet, a Golden Retriever, surfs for charitable causes.  He has raised over $10,000 for a quadriplegic boy’s rehabilitation, and also helped fund the purchase of toys for 630 children at hospitals and women’s shelters during a Christmas toy drive.

The five dogs were selected from 100 nominees for this year’s awards.  The winners and their owners will receive $1000 and an engraved silver medallion.  The awards ceremony will be televised nationally on December 5th, 2010,  from the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in Long Beach, CA.