The biggest heroes can sometimes come in small packages. A tiny Chihuahua named Mackenzie (Kenz for short) proved that when she won the 2020 American Humane Hero Dog Awards. She followed the legacies of many past hero dogs, including Harley the puppy mill survivor and Abigail the former bait dog.
Mackenzie might not look like much, but she was near death as a puppy. Kind humans nurtured her and helped give her a better life. So, now she nurtures other animals with birth defects, including dogs, cats, squirrels, birds, and even goats!
Mackenzie was born in 2013 with a cleft palate. A cleft palate is a split in the roof of the mouth that makes it difficult for the dog to eat or drink. The Mia Foundation moved mountains to care for Mackenzie just like they do with all the disabled animals in their care. Poor Kenz had to be tube fed for the first year of her life. But she refused to give up. She had such a strong will to live.
At about 1 year old, Mackenzie had life-saving cleft palate surgery. Suddenly, she was able to eat and drink normally like most dogs are born to do. But sweet Mackenzie remained humble about her new skills. All she wanted to do was help others.
The sweet little dog continues to help other animals with birth defects at The Mia Foundation. She is nurturing to every animal she meets, regardless of their species or size. She nurses, cleans, cuddles, and plays with them. Some of her most notable companions were a goat named Aerie, a pigeon named Herman, and a turkey named Charlie.
A Tiny Hero with a Big Heart
Mackenzie first won the 2020 American Humane Hero Shelter Dog category, and then later went on to take the grand prize. She truly deserves this award, not only because of her journey and the animals she’s helped but also because of the message she’s sharing. She visits schools and teaches kids to be open-minded toward animals that look different. They can also learn about kindness and patience from her.
This sweet dog will continue to spread the word, and hopefully, she’ll reach more humans now that she’s the hero dog of 2020. She’s a real-life example of how rescuing one dog saves many other dogs too. Her story also teaches others that you can make a difference in the world no matter how small you feel.
Mackenzie won out of 407 competitors thanks to millions of dog lovers voting. Of course, all the competing dogs were very deserving of the award, but Mackenzie stole the most hearts in the end. This was the 10th anniversary of the American Humane Hero Dog Awards, and every year it inspires more people to help dogs in need. So, thank you to all the wonderful dogs who have participated.
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