Lifestyle & Human Interest

Puppy Born Not Breathing Is Now a Seattle K9 Up for Prestigious National Life-Saving Award


Lincoln is a flat-coated retriever from Seattle, Washington, who has already accomplished much in his five years of life — but he almost never got the chance.

When he was born, the little black pup wasn’t breathing, and it took skillful intervention on his breeder’s part to save his life.

“Not breathing when first born, Lincoln was saved by a ‘kiss of life’ by a quick thinking helper who is honored in his formal name: ‘Swiftwater Jude’s Phoenix,'” the Hero Dog Awards webpage on Lincoln states.

Lincoln has been trained in search and rescue and absolutely loves his work. The highly-trained dog can cover up to 26 miles a day following his nose and relishes finding human subjects during training.

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“Whether it’s 100 yards or whether it’s five hours, you know, in, on a mountainside — it’s really all the same thing,” his handler, Jonathan Izant, told KCPQ.

“He knows what’s going on when he gets out and sees the sheriff’s car. He sees his other search friends, and he knows he has to get the work,” Izant said.

“It’s quite impressive because he’s a very social dog who loves to play with other dogs, but when he’s working, he tends to ignore them and is laser-focused.”

He’s been trained to “air scent,” which means he doesn’t need to get his subject’s trail or last known location before he starts looking for them, and he doesn’t need an article of clothing.

Last year, after joining the King County Search and Rescue Team, Lincoln was able to locate a missing elderly woman in an impressive 15 minutes, ensuring the 87-year-old’s safety and reuniting her with her family. Suffering from dementia, she went missing at night and had been gone for six hours when Lincoln arrived on the scene.

“After only 15 minutes of working, he darted down behind the neighbor’s house, came back up and indicated by grabbing on the little ball and told us she was there. We went down, and we were able to reunite her with her family,” Izant said.

“He’s incredibly reliable, and yet, I find no way I can ever take that for granted,” Izant said.

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Because of his dependability, drive and determination, Lincoln has been nominated for a prestigious award that would bring his search and rescue team much satisfaction.

The annual American Humane Hero Dog Awards, held by American Humane, seeks to recognize dogs who have given it their all within their specific fields of expertise, including service dogs, military dogs, therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs, guide/hearing dogs, shelter dogs and law enforcement/detection dogs.

“The American Humane Hero Dog Awards is an annual, nationwide competition that recognizes the heroes on both ends of the leash,” the website states. “Seven courageous canines will be featured, but only one dog will be awarded the American Hero Dog title.”

“Vote for Lincoln!” King County Search Dogs posted on Facebook. “All search dogs are heroes but we are quite proud that our very own K9 Lincoln is a nominee for the 2022 American Humane Search and Rescue ‘Hero Dog’ award.

“YOU CAN HELP Lincoln become one of the finalists by voting for him at You can vote once a day through May 18 and also read about the nominees in the Service, Law Enforcement, Military and Assistance categories.

“The Hero Dog Award is a wonderful showcase for KCSD and the lifesaving work our dogs do. So please share this post and make voting for Lincoln a daily habit. Thank You!!”

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