2021 National Dog Month We asked… You answered!

Meet The Montanian’s

Canine Contest Candidates


This handsome boy is Wilbur. He deserves some special recognition because we have been doing a lot of training with him, especially with recall. He’s worked hard though and is doing so well! He’s also a rescue dog through Freckles and Tomcat and he is a wonderful brother to many fosters. Plus he’s just so darn handsome!”

– Kaitlin O’Neal


I was told God created dogs so we never

have to be or walk alone, and I believe it. Mandie is a

wonderful service dog.

She is loving, caring,

and a joy to

everyone she meets.”


Bruce Wayne is a three year-old German Shepherd who was born and raised with our three kids. He is a devoted playmate and protector. Nothing makes Bruce more happy than to join his kids in all of their adventures and everyday activities. No matter where we are and what we are doing, we can always depend on Bruce to be there joining in and watching with a smile. To our kids, this happy-go-lucky dog is a super hero.” – Shaina Cernick



These guys don’t mind chilling out when needed, but they love to get out and stay active. They are great at digging up

gophers outside of the garden, chasing squirrels and bears out of the

orchard, and catching mice and pack rats. Their favorite times are on the trail or swimming in the Yaak river on a hot day.”


Zorro know how to pose! He

would hold his position so that I could get a good photo. Zorro helped me through my husband’s passing in 2014. He gave me a reason to get out of bed every morning and he helped me to feel safe and protected,

even though I was alone.”

– Renee Wild


Nick Harper and his 4-H girls Mirta (4 years)  and Freya (1 1/2 years). “These kids are never apart and there is nothing in this world they couldn’t do. Showmanship at 4-H, agility work climbing the ladder to fix the roof,  jumping on 6-8 feet tall hay stacks, or just enjoying a swim and kayak ride at the lake—which they did for the very first time this year and seemed to love.”

– Svetlana Harper


“Mr. Tucker—Always

wanting to give love!”

– Linda Schikora


“There is no way to make this a short story, so please bear with me as I tell you about my best friend
and canine companion, Shadow.
Shortly after having to help our German Shepard, Dawson, cross the rainbow bridge – and having my husband say to me, “That’s it, no pore pets!” – we met the most adorable German Shepard/Border Collie mix at the Libby dog jail.

At less than 10 months old, she had been lost and was captured running near the Kootenai River in Troy. We immediately agreed we wanted to adopt this cutie, but learned there is a 4-day waiting period to adopt a lost animal (in case the owner claims him/her).

We were offered the
opportunity to foster this little bundle of fur, but I told the animal control officer, “IF I take her with me, she’s never coming back.” So, we spent the next four days planning and buying needed items any loving pet parent would provide to welcome a new fur baby home.
February 10, 2009, we practically ran to Libby to pick up our adorable pup!
Fast forward to 2011: I had a “very large” stroke and spent over two months in the hospital and care center. My husband had been training Shadow to be a social/emotional
support dog. Shadow had frequently visited the
hospital and care center where her sweet demeanor and loving behavior made her a welcome guest and a favorite among patients.

Fast forward again to 2012: my wonderful husband of 32 years passed away. Now Shadow and I were here in Montana with no family, lots of good friends, and time to help each other heal from our loss.

As it had turned out,
shortly after her adoption,
Shadow (who followed me right on my heels, thus her name), was diagnosed with severe separation anxiety. 19 seat belts
destroyed, a broken car window, and the entire head liner were all
destroyed in a matter of minutes when I took her anywhere. It is always
necessary for Shadow to have human contact and she has a great “dog sitter,” Don, who stays with her when I can’t (like my many medical appointments these days). I appreciate his willingness to stay with her on short
notice. Just as my stroke has left me with a severe handicap, Shadow’s terror of being alone is her

Another fast forward: 13 years later, Shadow and I are inseparable. Pre-covid (before her severe spine arthritis), we did everything together: Sunday church, Bible Study,
hospital support group meetings, car rides, walks with friends and more. Despite both of our medical challenges, Shadow is still a huge part of my life and I don’t contemplate life without her.

Shadow has never had an “accident” in the house and still can get up the back porch steps and into the house. She lover her “morning munchies” and likes getting her silky, soft fur brushed. Shadow has truly been my best friend and I hope she gets an
honorable mention in the Montanian canine contest. She deserves it!
To all pet parents out there: thank you for giving your best friend a loving home! Celebrate every day with a nice walk or a good nap together.

– Barbara Stryker