Sumner Co. dog nominated for American Humane's Hero Dog Award

hero dog
Posted at 9:01 PM, Apr 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-06 23:59:56-04

WHITE HOUSE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Sumner County dog who has overcome great odds is one of six dogs from Middle Tennessee nominated to win American Humane's Hero Dog Award.

The annual nationwide competition celebrates dogs that have accomplished extraordinary things. Dogs compete in seven categories including service dogs, therapy dogs, military dogs and shelter dogs.

Scarlett is a 6-year-old Shih Tzu from White House. She was born with Spina bifida, and is missing part of her spine and tail. Since the lower part of her spine is twisted, her back legs are weak. She is also incontinent and wears a tiny diaper.

Michelle Smith adopted Scarlett when she was 8 weeks old and saved her from being euthanized.

"She’s just a little spitfire," said Michelle Smith. "She is happy all the time, and is just a bundle of joy."

Smith said Scarlett uses both back legs together as one to propel herself forward, and nothing slows her down.

"She doesn’t know she’s different," said Smith. "She’s happy living her life. She is pure love."

Smith has shared Scarlett's story on social media, and found it resonates with others.

"We love hearing from people who say, I have a disability, or I had a bad day, and she made me smile, so thank you."

Scarlett's is competing in the shelter dog category of American Humane's Hero Dog Awards. Two other dogs - Toby from Nashville and George from Smyrna are competing in the same category. Three other Middle Tennessee dogs - Kodiak from Columbia, Queso from Murfreesboro and Nash Duvall from Portland are competing in the service dog category.

Smith hopes the competition puts the spotlight on the importance of rescuing dogs that may get overlooked.

"We want people to know you can adopt a special needs dog, and she is so much easier than any dog I’ve ever had," said Smith.

Voting continues through May 6 and the seven dogs with the highest vote totals move to the next round. People can vote once a day for the dog of their choice. The winner will appear on the Hallmark Channel in the Fall.

To vote visit