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January 21, 2022

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Las Vegas ice-skating canine Benny wins kennel club award

2019 Skate America

David Becker/Las Vegas News Bureau

Benny, a yellow Labrador retriever of Las Vegas, skates during a break at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Skate America at the Orleans Arena Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Las Vegas.

An ice-skating dog familiar to Vegas Golden Knights fans is drawing acclaim from the American Kennel Club for his role as a companion animal for children with disabilities.

Hockey fans at T-Mobile Arena know “Benny” for his on-ice abilities with his custom skates and hockey stick.

The AKC Humane Fund on Friday named the 8-year-old Labrador retriever owned by Cheryl Del Sangro of Las Vegas one of five winners of the organization's Award for Canine Excellence.

Benny won as “exemplary companion” for his roles skating with children who have autism and other developmental disabilities as part of the Spectrum On Ice program.

Benny also skateboards and shows off other tricks during visits to Opportunity Village, a Las Vegas not-for-profit that provides vocational training, employment and social recreation for people with intellectual and related disabilities.

Del Sangro is a retired professional figure skater. She adopted Benny from a Salt Lake City animal shelter.

Another Labrador retriever, in North Wales, Pennsylvania, won the Service Dog category.

A retired police German Shepherd named “K-9 Mattis" handled by Sgt. Mark Tappan of Alpharetta, Georgia, won as Uniformed Service K-9.

Therapy Dog went to a Bernese mountain dog named Teddy in Attleboro, Massachusetts and the award for Search and Rescue went to a Belgian Malinois named "Magnus Ares" in Miami.