From Haywood to Hollywood: Roxy the service dog in the running for national award

    Roxy the service dog and her owner Justin Tucker were visited by a film crew with the Hallmark Channel on Friday. Roxy is competing to be named the American Hero Dog. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

    A pit bull service dog out of Haywood County is a top seven finalist to be named American Hero Dog.

    Roxy and her owner Justin Tucker, a veteran, were selected out of 260 other contestants for the title.

    It's all part of the American Humane Hero Dog Awards, which is an annual campaign that aims to recognize heroes on both ends of the leash.

    A crew with the Hallmark Channel recently visited Roxy and Tucker to shoot a tribute video that will air in front of millions during the awards ceremony.

    "It's a lot different from being Haywood famous to Hollywood famous. It's a very big honor to be amongst other hero dogs," Tucker said.

    The pair has already won $2,500 for Paws and Stripes, a therapy dog organization. If Roxy wins the top award, that will add another $5,000 to the program.

    Justin is hoping their story will raise awareness on the effects of PTSD and the benefits a service dog like Roxy can provide.

    When Justin feels an attack coming, Roxy will calm him down by placing a paw on his hands, licking him, or putting her weight on his body. This forces Justin to focus on the here and now.

    With Roxy's Tiffany blue nails (which Justin paints), the two are also trying to erase the stigma around pit bull breeds.

    "Bully breeds are not bad dogs, and they do make good service dogs," Tucker said.

    Voting for the American Hero Dog is open until Sept. 5, with the American Hero Dog announced live at the gala on Sept. 29.

    If you'd like to vote for Roxy, click here.

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