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Hero dog nominated for award

Reporter's Notebook

Jenny, a mixed-breed dog adopted from the Clovis Animal Shelter who died saving her master from a rattlesnake, has been nominated for the Elizabeth Lewyt Award for Heroic and Compassionate Animals, said Merrit Clifton, editor of Animal People, a Clinton, Wash.-based animal newspaper.

The purpose of the award, presented to 50 animals since 1999 by the North Shore Animal League America, is to spotlight the heroic or compassionate deeds of former shelter animals, Clifton said.

If an animal is selected, a $500 cash prize goes to the shelter from which it was adopted and $500 goes to the adopting family.

Jenny died October 2003 when her owner, Ranchvale Elementary School second grader John Samuel Kelm, encountered a rattlesnake while walking in a vacant lot behind his house. Jenny rushed between John Sam and the snake and was struck three times.

An Animal People researcher found the News Journal story and forwarded it to Clifton, who sent the nomination to the North Shore League, an animal welfare group that sponsors dog and cat adoptions on Long Island, N.Y.

“Among heroic dog cases, a handful stand out to signify why someone might want to adopt a shelter dog. The classic nominee is a dog — or cat — who alerts someone to a house fire. We’ve only had one other nominee who saved someone from a snake,” said Clifton.

John Sam’s mother, Amanda Wright, said she hadn’t known about the Lewyt Award and was surprised by the nomination.

“I think it’s really neat that they give something back to the shelter,” she said.

Reporter’s notebook was compiled by CNJ staff writer Jack King. Suggested items may be mailed to editor David Stevens at P.O. Box 1689, Clovis 88102. The e-mail address is:

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