Kandu, the dog who took home "Best in Show" earlier this month at the annual Nuts For Mutts dog show, shows off the affection that won him top prize in the "Best Kisser" category.

Tim Copeland/Courtesy

Kandu, the dog who took home "Best in Show" earlier this month at the annual Nuts For Mutts dog show, shows off the affection that won him top prize in the "Best Kisser" category.

Two-legged dog takes top honors at mutt contest

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For more information about Kandu, the award-winning therapy mutt, go to http://kandu.us. The Web site includes a background story and pictures, as well as a selection of special Kandu apparel - emblazed with the slogan, "O YES U KANDU" - that includes T-shirts, jackets, buttons and thongs.

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Tim Copeland/courtesy

Oak Creek pet Kandu and owner Ken Rogers celebrate their victory at the annual Nuts for Mutts dog show. Kandu, who was born without front legs, took "Best in Show."

— The annual Nuts for Mutts dog show in Woodland Hills, Calif., isn't quite on the same level as The Westminster Kennel Club.

Luckily for Oak Creek pet Kandu, Nuts for Mutts isn't trying to be elite. On June 1, the two-legged Routt County mixed breed took home "Best in Show" at a contest that boasts categories such as "Mystery Mutt," "Most Vocal" and "Fastest Eater."

"It was great. We had seen a little piece last year on Animal Planet that sort of featured it, and it just looked like fun," said Ken Rogers, who adopted Kandu in fall 2006. "And it is, because it's just for mutts."

Kandu, who also won for "Best Kisser" and "Best Physically Challenged," was born without front legs. Rogers applied to adopt the dog - who was set to be euthanized before being saved by the Evergreen Animal Protective League - after seeing a story on Denver's CBS4 news.

"I got to thinking. At the time, we had a dog who was in the Heeling Friends program at the hospital, and we thought this would be kind of cool, that Kandu might make a good therapy dog," Rogers said.

Once they got the dog, Rogers and his wife, Melissa Uchitelle-Rogers, started working on devices to help Kandu move around.

"He actually has a little monoski for the winter time. Living in Steamboat, you've got to have something to ski," Rogers said. "It's like a whole different dog. He had such great spirit to begin with, but he just loves being able to roll and go fast and be with other dogs."

Through the Heeling Friends program at Yampa Valley Medical Center, Kandu and Rogers team up to visit with patients. Kandu gets animated when he sees the door of the hospital, but he calms right down when he's out of his wheels and snuggled up with a patient, Rogers said.

"He really seems to understand. Many dogs do, they seem to sense when somebody's sick. They just get mellow and snuggle up to the patient," he said. "It's really neat to watch."

Rogers said he and Kandu probably will go back to the Nuts for Mutts show next year, but they don't plan to compete.

"We were just excited to be there and would love to go back," he said. "And Kandu had a great time. It was just a great place for folks to come and show off their mutts."

Comments

colobob 6 years, 2 months ago

As a handler, owner, and dog lover myself, I am nothing short of impressed by the attitude and actions of Mr. Rogers (no punn intended) and his family. Definately class acts all! Keep up the good work Ken. What a great example you are for the rest of us.

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fanofsteamboatsprings 6 years, 2 months ago

What a great story. I have seen Kandu and Ken at the hospital and they bring such joy and happiness to patients, families and all the staff. Nuts For Mutts - what a hoot! Big congratulations to Kandu, Ken and all of the Heeling Friends teams. And thank you Margaret for writing such a nice piece.

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joannt 6 years, 2 months ago

Kandu and Ken are a registered Delta Society Pet Partners team and do their therapy animal work with the local group Heeling Friends. All of us at Delta Society would like to think Kandu, Ken and Heeling Friends for all the wonderful work they do in the community. The smiles, compassion, joy and motivation the animals (and their handlers on the other end of the leash) bring to those who really could use it, is nothing short of miraculous.

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TimC 6 years ago

What was the perpuse of removal of my comments? I am the photographer who's photo was asked to be used for the story. would you please email me with the email I provided as to why my comment was removed.

Thanks-

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TimC 6 years ago

Photographer providing photos for this article Tim Copleand/www.tcphotodesign.com Great shots of Kandu and Roger. It was a great day to photograph this wonderful event and lovable dogs.

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summerbird 6 years ago

Tim:

It doesn't take much to set off the P.C. Police.

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Steamboatmom1 6 years ago

I know this dog well. He is an awsome dog with so much love to give. How much more to help others with disabilities to be able to know that they can overcome and be like kandu happ go lucky and do not let your disabilities stop you with your life goals.

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TimC 6 years ago

Hey summerbird, thanks for the comment. I know, and I am not the kind who is P.C. However, Check out my blog you can read more about Kandu and the Nuts for Mutts dog show.

Thanks and take care all you animal lovers! Hi Kandu!

Tim C. www.tcphotodesign.com

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