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story.lead_photo.caption Julie Smith/News Tribune Jason Howe poses with his service dog, Sobee, Thursday in downtown Jefferson CIty. It was announced today that Sobee has made it to the semi-finals of the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards in the service category. Voting will continue

Mid-Missourians have again made Sobee a semi-finalist for the American Humane Hero Dog Awards.

The awards are given out annually following a nationwide competition that recognizes the heroes at both ends of the leash in seven categories — Law Enforcement and Detection, Service, Therapy, Military, Search and Rescue, Guide/Hearing, and Shelter.

Sobee, a boxer mix, was only two days from euthanasia, when K9s on the Front Line rescued her and paired her with Jason Howe, a U.S. Navy veteran. Howe struggled with post traumatic stress disorder and addiction after returning home from two deployments.

He found himself in Maine, speaking with a friend, who connected him with the nonprofit.

Paired together in 2016, the two created a bond instantly.

"She just has a way about her," Howe said. "She's super sweet and super caring. And she has a calm nature about her. No matter how stressed people are, she brings a smile to their face."

Sobee is trained to assist Howe with panic attacks. The two now assist other veterans. Howe started a K9s on the Front Line chapter in Missouri, and has assisted 50 veterans with service dogs.

The competition started with 400 dogs and is down to 21 — three from each category.

A semi-finalist in the Service dog category, Sobee faces challenges from Bradley, a golden retriever from Georgia and Tommy II, a lab from Pennsylvania.

Vote for Sobee daily by going to the American Humane Hero Dog Awards website, herodogawards.org/dog/sobee-2/ and clicking on "Vote." Voting continues through 2 p.m. July 15.

"It's an honor to be there again this year," Howe said. "Hopefully, we can get over this little hump and bring it home to Jeff City. She was meant to do something good in this world."

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