“When I got a dog I became a human again.”

"Bump!"  Last month at Cincinnati's Everything Pet Expo, Amy Hoh showed how her service dog, Cortez, opens doors for her.

"Bump!" Last month at Cincinnati's Everything Pet Expo, Amy Hoh showed how her service dog, Cortez, opens doors for her.

Amy Hoh, 51, is a Hamilton County employee with a strong voice, a glowing face, and degenerative disk disease that landed her in a wheelchair 5 years ago.

Cortez is a five-year-old German shepherd with bat ears that flicker constantly toward Hoh, waiting for a signal that she needs his help.

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Seen at the Pet Expo: Fuchsia Femmes

Regina and Priscilla

Regina (l) and Priscilla (r) waited in line Saturday to strut their colors at the Everything Pet Expo.

Under fluorescent lights reminiscent of an industrial animal farm, last weekend’s Everything Pet Expo nonetheless hummed with celebration. On display were died pom-poms, blurry terriers obstacle-coursing over astroturf pitches, prisoner-trained service dogs, and unsung heroes of several species. I interviewed a few handfuls of organizations that help humans and other animals assist each other through life’s trials.

Over the coming months I’ll be posting more photos, as I profile the most innovative and interesting of these groups. Stay tuned, to read what strokes of hardship and luck can befall unwanted foals, banned pitbulls, wheelchair-bound adults, retired racedogs, disabled children, and feral cats in the Tri-State area.