Oregon Animal Hall of Fame™: Leah and Rawhide are New Inductees
Each year, the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association and the Oregon Animal Health Foundation honor animals who, through unselfish and courageous accomplishments, exemplify the affection, loyalty, security, public service, and value of the human-animal bond.
The Oregon Animal Hall of Fame™ is the second longest running awards program among veterinary organizations in the country. Since the program was started in 1988, the OVMA and the OAHF have recognized dogs, cats, an animal welfare group, a horse therapy group, horses, and one llama! Animals are inducted into the Oregon Animal Hall of Fame™ during the Oregon Veterinary Conference in Corvallis. See below for a list of past inductees.
This award recognizes animals who have saved or preserved a life.
Owned by Jeannette Sinclair
Nominated by Dr. Wendy Labrousse, Ocean Boulevard Veterinary Hospital, Coos Bay
Jeannette Sinclair of Coos Bay knew from the first time she worked with Leah that this Labrador was special. She also recognized that the kindness and intelligence evident in Leah marked a dog with abilities that far exceed most canine companions.
Jeannette has worked closely with Leah to hone her dog’s ability to track missing people. Together they have spent countless hours in training, and have volunteered their time on numerous tracks for missing people along the Southern Oregon coast.
In late September 2014, a five-year-old autistic child was reported missing. Fire and rescue crews responded around 2:30 in the afternoon and called in the local Search and Rescue group as well as the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in North Bend.
Leah and Jeannette were among the Search and Rescue volunteers – and this marked the first time Leah would respond without another K-9 Search and Rescue team present.
As Leah started tracking, Jeannette tried to redirect her canine colleague, believing that Leah was headed in the wrong direction. But Leah was persistent, and Jeannette unleashed the dog to disappear into thick brush.
Approximately one hour after Leah and Jeannette first arrived on the scene, Leach began vocalizing to signal she had tracked and found the cold, wet boy.
Leah remained with the autistic boy until Jeannette managed to scramble through the brush to reach the pair. The boy was mired in mud at the bottom of a ravine.
Together, Leah and Jeannette rescued the child and returned the uninjured boy to his family. It is unknown whether the young boy would have survived the night.
With the assistance of this dedicated Search and Rescue team, we do know that he was safely returned home.
Incredibly kind, keenly intelligent, highly trained, and a loving companion. That is Leah the dog. And it is also Leah the Hero!
This award recognizes animals specifically trained for service or assistance.
Owned by Paul Jordan
Nominated by Dr. Keith Sides, Cinder Rock Veterinary Clinic, Redmond
Rawhide, an aged black Labrador retriever, graduated from the Guide Dogs of America program in 2004 when he was two years old.
The male dog had been trained by John Barletta, who served as a member of President Ronald Reagan’s Secret Service detail. In fact, John used President Reagan’s Secret Service code name of “Rawhide” to assign to this puppy and also included the dog in his book, “Riding with Reagan.”
Rawhide entered Paul Jordan’s world when Paul was seeking a guide dog from Guide Dogs of America. A veteran of the Korean War, Paul had impaired vision in his left eye from Amblyopia at birth, but suddenly lost all vision in his right eye from Ischemic Optic Neuropathy.
Paul initially thought he wanted a female Golden Retriever, but Guide Dogs of America connected him with Rawhide instead, where they quickly became a cohesive team. For almost eleven years Rawhide served as Paul’s visual aide, despite developing elbow dysplasia that required constant veterinary care.
Together, Paul and Rawhide have tirelessly worked to increase awareness of vision impairment and guide dogs. You might say they have hit the circuit, volunteering their time to speak – and perhaps bark on occasion – to students, support groups, veterans, and just about any other group that will listen.
Aside from his responsibilities as a guide dog, Rawhide provided emotional support to Paul and his wife, Della, when Paul was battling cancer. Della jokingly admits to an occasional pang of jealousy, given the close relationship between her husband and this wonderful dog.
Today, Rawhide is enjoying his pampered retirement while making sure that Cooley – his replacement – is responsibly carrying out his duties. Paul believes that Rawhide was born to be a guide dog and has demonstrated excellence every day of his life.
Recognizes animals who have saved or preserved a life.
- 1988 Big Red (dog), Sam (cat)
- 1989 Hadji (dog), Morgan (dog)
- 1991 Max (dog)
- 1992 Missy (dog)
- 1993 Gunner (dog)
- 1997 Helga & Tad (dogs)
- 2000 Sheba (dog)
- 2002 Ceasar (dog)
- 2003 Pillsbury (dog)
- 2004 Sunny (dog)
- 2005 Chassa (dog)
- 2009 Zar (dog)
- 2011 Brodie (dog)
- 2012 Jakob (dog)
- 2013 Hunter (dog)
- 2015 Leah (dog)
Recognizes animals who have provided a benefit to their human companions or their community.
- 1994 Solo (cat)
- 1999 Project Pooch
- 2002 Howard (dog)
- 2003 Jesse (dog)
- 2005 “Ginger” (dog)
- 2006 Cassidy (cat)
- 2007 Daniel (dog)
- 2008 Gracie (dog)
- 2009 Ace (dog)
- 2010 Rusty (dog)
- 2011 Bosa (dog)
- 2012 Dottie (dog)
- 2013 Lily (dog)
Recognizes animals specifically trained for service or assistance.
- 1990 Sparkle (dog)
- 1994 Ranger (dog)
- 1998 Horses for the Physically Challenged
- 2001 Cajun (dog)
- 2002 Kate (dog)
- 2003 Camas (llama)
- 2004 Rikki (horse)
- 2005 Gleason (dog)
- 2006 Snert & Jake (dogs)
- 2007 Annie (dog)
- 2008 Butterscotch (horse)
- 2011 Doc (dog)
- 2012 Nelson (dog)
- 2013 Ryerson (dog)
- 2014 Raido (dog)
- 2015 Rawhide (dog)