NAPLES — Amy Sherwood and her trained service animal, 4-year-old Dolly Pawton, a black Labrador Retriever, will appear on the Hallmark Channel this fall as Dolly competes for the title of “American Hero Dog” in the 2020 American Humane Hero Dog Awards.

Amy Sherwood trained her service dog, Dolly Pawton, herself by watching YouTube videos and picking up tips from other trainers. Courtesy of Amy Sherwood

Dolly won in the service dog category and will join fellow Mainers Gretchen Evans and her service dog, Aura, on the national stage. Aura won in the guide/hearing dog category and the two will face five other competitors from across the country.

Sherwood, who has postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, congestive heart failure and adrenal insufficiency and uses a wheelchair, trained Dolly to alert her if her heart rate gets too high or her blood pressure falls too low. Dolly also helps Sherwood with a number of other tasks, such as her laundry, paying for items at stores and other ways to “help maintain the normalcy in life,” she said.

“The American Humane Hero Dog Awards are our way of honoring the best of our best friends,” noted Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane president and CEO. “This unique effort brings attention to the life-changing, life-saving power of the human-animal bond.”

Anyone aged 18 and up who lives in the United States can vote for Dolly at Voting ends Sept. 10.

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