- MacKenzie is just a little Chihuahua but she has done more great things than most big human adults.
- She was born with a cleft palate and has lost the ability to bark, but she still cares for others.
- She has mothered different species of animals, regardless of their size and physical disabilities — that made her win the 2020 American Hero Dog award.
MacKenzie may be just a small Chihuahua born with a cleft palate, but she proved that size doesn’t really matter if you want to make a big difference in this world.
“Kenz,” as she is fondly called, relied on tube feeding when she was born until she was almost a year old before surgery was done that enabled her to eat and drink by herself.
She was also sickly and had to endure a number of aspiration pneumonia. But despite all that, she was clearly a caring dog who loves to look after other babies with birth defects at a nonprofit that cares for them — The Mia Foundation, in Rochester, New York.
Up to more than 6 years later, Kenz still continued to mother babies of different species, sizes, and birth defects. She has cared for kittens, birds, puppies, a Great Dane, a goat, a squirrel, a turkey, and a mouse!
Although Kenz is unable to bark anymore, that didn’t stop her from visiting even schoolchildren and help them understand and accept whatever physical differences they, other people, or animals, have. She inspires them to be kind all the time, to empathize, and to be patient.
In October, the American Humane organization awarded MacKenzie the 2020 American Hero Dog during its American Humane Hero Dog Awards’ 10th anniversary hosted by Carson Kressley. The event celebrates the relationship between humans and dogs and their heroic contributions to society.
Among 400 dogs who competed, Kenz emerged on top through public voting. She has also won the Shelter Dog category at the same time.
“All of the 2020 winners’ stories were so inspiring and this year, during a global crisis that has caused so much pain and isolated so many, their stories of love, hope, and compassion were more needed and more important than ever before,” says the president and CEO of American Humane, Dr. Robin Ganzert, in an email to TODAY.