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American Hero Dog – MacKenzie

This little pup may be small in stature, but she has a huge heart. On December 31, 2013, an amazing dog named MacKenzie (Kenz) was born with a cleft palate. She had to be tube fed for almost a year and suffered from bouts of aspiration pneumonia. Nevertheless, her will to live persisted and she survived.

At one year old, she finally had her lifesaving cleft palate surgery, allowing her to eat and drink on her own, and also focus on what she was born to do – help other animals with birth defects.

MacKenzie’s handler, Sue, rescues baby animals that require special medical attention. Sweet Kenz takes an interest in each baby from day one (regardless of its species or size). She plays nurse and cleans, comforts and cuddles them. She also acts as a mother figure and teaches them how to socialize, play and have good manners. She is their adoptive family.

Kenz also visits the local schools and teaches children to be open minded toward both animals and people with physical differences. Students learn kindness, patience and the important lesson that you can make a difference in the world no matter how small you are.

Kenz may have lost her ability to bark, but she still makes herself heard and speaks for others. She’s a shining example of how rescuing an animal can save more than just one life.

Congratulations to MacKenzie, the 2020 Shelter Hero Dog. You can vote for MacKenzie to be the 2020 American Hero Dog at

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