Top dogs

Two Jackson County pooches will be among the three dogs inducted into the Oregon Animal Hall of Fame Saturday.

The local top dogs are Nelson, a black Labrador retriever owned by Janet Voorhies of Ashland; and Jakob Dylan, an Irish wolfhound owned by Sharyn Arthur of Gold Hill.

The Oregon Animal Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Oregon Animal Health Foundation and the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association. The event will be held during the annual Oregon Veterinary Conference at Oregon State University.

The foundation and the veterinary association honor animals each year that exemplify the affection, loyalty, security, public service and value of the bond between humans and animals, says association spokeswoman Raina Dey.

The Oregon Animal Hall of Fame is the second longest running awards program among veterinary groups in the nation, she said. Since it began in 1988, the hall has inducted dogs, cats, horses and a llama, as well as an animal welfare group and a horse therapy group, she noted.

Nelson, who was featured in Nov. 17 Tidings story, will be inducted in the service/professional dog category.

Nominated by veterinarian Brad Frank of the Jacksonville Veterinary Hospital, Nelson is a 2-year-old black Labrador retriever. He was in training to become a service dog with Guide Dogs for the Blind when a problem with a sensitive trachea sidelined him.

But he was quickly picked up and trained by Dogs for the Deaf to become a program assistance dog. He was placed with Voorhies, an Ashland Middle School teacher of special-needs students.

Each school day, Nelson accompanies Voorhies to her classroom, where his calm demeanor and friendly presence comforts students and helps them communicate and focus on their studies, according to Voorhies.

Jakob will be inducted in the hero category, which recognizes animals that have saved or preserved a life.

The 18-month-old dog was featured in a column in Sunday's Mail Tribune, which related how he saved Arthur's life by getting help after she was seriously injured in an ATV accident on her property last summer. He was nominated by veterinarian Mike Motschenbacher with the Animal Clinic in the city of Rogue River.

Dottie, a black and white Papillon owned by Redmond resident Christina Lewis, will also be inducted Saturday in the Hall of Fame's companion category. The 10-year-old dog spends her days and nights at the Eagle Inn Adult Home in Redmond, where she has befriended each resident, providing both emotional and medical benefits.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or e-mail him at

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