Dole Honors Stellar Canine

It's the third year for the Purina "Great American Dog" contest, and this year's winners are an adopted German shepherd from Texas named Keisha and her owner, Melissa Osburn.

All contestants submit photographs and descriptions of themselves with their dogs. Looking good for the camera is important, but the real challenge is the 100-word essay beginning with the phrase: "My dog is incredible because..."

News About Animals
Melissa and Keisha were whisked from Dallas to Washington in first class style. There they received a VIP tour of major landmarks in the nation's capital and enjoyed luxury accommodations at the legendary Willard Hotel. Melissa will receive $10,000, and Keisha gets a lifetime supply of Purina Dog Chow.

Melissa and Keisha's winning entry was announced by former Senator Bob Dole at the National Press Club, where they were honored along with four runner-up contestants. "Melissa's entry captured the essence of what makes Keisha an incredible dog," Senator Dole said. "Keisha is a living example of the unconditional affection and joy shelter pets can bring into our lives."

Melissa's essay told the story of an abused dog with a will to survive. Keisha survived euthanasia attempts at the shelter where Melissa found her.

Skittish at first, Keisha gradually regained her trust of people, mainly through Melissa's gentle persistence. She wrote, "After several years of my unconditional love, patience, and socialization, she's become the hit of the neighborhood."

Melissa plans to donate some of the prize money to animal rescue centers and encourages people to adopt a pet from their local shelter.

Ironically, when Melissa met Keisha, she was actually looking for a cat.