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Service dog in Virginia competes in national contest of heroic dogs

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Posted at 1:37 PM, Apr 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-06 13:37:53-04

NORFOLK, Va. — A Norfolk dog is competing against many “top dogs” in a national competition called The American Humane Hero Dog Awards® contest. It’s an annual event in which dogs and their owners are recognized.

According to the website, there are seven categories: Law Enforcement and Detection Dogs, Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Military Dogs, Guide/Hearing Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs, and Shelter Dogs.

Cameo's owner, Brittany Sorrentini, suffers from anxiety and narcolepsy, and she got the black lab mix a couple of years ago. Sorrentini could not wait on an organization to provide her with a service dog, which is a process that typically takes three to five years.

Sorrentini adopted Cameo with the intention of training her, and she tells us she lucked out.

“I took a chance with her, put all my faith in her, and it worked out,” said Sorrentini, who added that she knew it was a risk and doesn’t recommend that route for everyone.

“I love that she’s hard-headed and she was a challenge for me. She kept me going. I like all that about her,” Sorrentini described.

Her owner says the dog helps in various ways, including waking her for medication doses, performing deep pressure therapy by lying on top of her when she is having a panic attack, and providing emotional support as well as a barrier between her and crowds.

“I get very sleepy and have sleep attacks. Sometimes it happens while I’m driving, and Cameo will alert to that so I can pull over, take a nap if need be, or go grab a cup of coffee.”

In addition to the continuous support the dog gives her owner, Cameo is also credited with alerting the family during a house fire in the fall of 2019.

“We opened up our bedroom door, and the whole house was filled with smoke. If it weren’t for her, we probably wouldn’t have made it out in time,” Sorrentini told News 3.

Sorrentini also says that Cameo motivated her to become a photographer.

“I created an Instagram for her, and people were like, ‘You’re really good at that.’ So, Cameo suffers from the photographer’s child syndrome, and I take pictures of her all the time.”

To see Cameo’s page, click here.

As for the contest, the category finalists will be honored on the Hallmark Channel this fall. Only one dog will be awarded the 2021 American Hero Dog title. You can vote for Cameo and learn more about the contest here.

This story was first published by Angela Bohon at WTKR.