Good Boy: Stockton Dog Up for Humane Hero Award

 STOCKTON -- He has helped a number of people devastated by the wildfires in Santa Rosa, helps children learn to read, and is only 7 years old -- in human years.

"He loves people. He enjoys getting out," owner Gil Anema said.

The dog's full name is Don Suave Gilberto de Camarillo. It's a mouthful, so most people just call him Suave.

Anema, who moved to Stockton about a year ago, says when he first retired years ago in Camarillo, he wanted to do something that would involve his Cocker Spaniels.

"We didn’t get into this to get rewards or anything. We got in it to, you know, for me, it’s to find something for him to do," Anema said.

Anema says Suave and his siblings have helped hospice patients, helped kids read and are the only team in San Joaquin County that is part of the Hope Animal Assisted Crisis Response organization.

But Suave was special. He had the temperament to undergo Crisis Response training and that training paid off when he visited Santa Rosa and helped those impacted by the wildfires last year.

Suave and other therapy dogs helped victim after victim cope with the devastation in Northern California, including a frightened young girl.

"So we went up to her and her family and she got to spend some time with him, petting him, and everything else and made her feel better," Anema said.

Now, the Cocker Spaniel is not only being recognized for his good work. He’s up for the eighth-annual American Humane Hero Dog Award for his therapy work.

Click here to vote for Suave.

Suave is running up against 265 other dogs. While the award would be an honor, Anema says the work they do is the reward.

"If he doesn’t win, he just keeps on doing what he does," Anema said. "I mean that’s what we’re here for."