WILMINGTON-- Service dog Titus was given a second chance at life and Canines for Service President and the Rick Hairston are to thank.
"We got Titus the night before he was due to be put down from Horry County. He spent a year in the military prison up at Camp Lejeune. He was trained by several prisoners up there and they did very well and he is now my service dog," said Rick.
While Rick was once a hero to Titus, the tables have turned. Titus is vying for the title of "Hero Dog" in the Service Dog category of the 2015 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards.
The contest includes eight categories: Military Dogs, Arson Dogs, Service Dogs, Law Enforcement Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs, Guide/Hearing Dogs, Therapy Dogs, and Emerging Hero Dogs.
The top dog in each will win $2,500 for their designated charity partner.
"That helps us to provide the services to the people who are asking for them and need them and continue our program work," said Pat Hairston, a Canines for Service program manager.
The Canines for Service program helped Titus learn a total of 90 different commands.
"He'll load a washing machine. He'll unload a dryer. He'll retrieve a bottle of water out of the refrigerator too. He'll stand and brace to help me recover from a fall. All things that I have difficulty to do, due to a neuropathy and degenerate disc disease," said Rick.
Titus can pick up something as small as the back of an earring and as large as a 10 pound weight. Though he might be a bit biased, Rick said he believes Titus is well-deserving of the "Hero Dog" award.
"He's extremely well-behaved. He does everything we've asked him to do whenever," said Rick.
Always eager to please, Titus is the true definition of a service dog and hero. To vote for Titus, visit the hero dog awards website.
If you would like to donate to Canines for Service, the non-profit corporation dedicated to empowering people with disabilties with the help of service dogs, visit the Canines for Service website.