Sioux City dog in the running for ‘America’s Favorite Pet’

Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 6:43 PM CST
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - People across the world take in animals from rescue shelters to give them a better life. One Sioux City man brought home a special dog who has impacted him greatly and now that special dog is in the running to be named America’s Favorite Pet.

Ernie is a dog who had been rescued by Noah’s hope in Sioux City. Now through his whole journey, he may be America’s favorite pet.

“I sent them a picture of Ernie, one of him looking so proud and regal... He won, he has won his position in his group,” said Mark Solheim, Ernie’s owner.

The award is given by Ernie made it to the quarterfinal round and has a shot at being top dog, but he had not always been in the healthiest environments.

“His entire life he was living in a cage, never knew love or friendship, he was treated like livestock. He was herded from cage to cage with sticks,” said Solheim.

Ernie was very timid and afraid when he was brought to Solheim in December 2017. As Ernie became more comfortable with Solheim it became evident what kind of relationship was forming.

“I don’t own animals, they’re part of the family... I may pay a fee to get them out of jail, kind of like bail, but I don’t own these guys... they are my friends and they’re my family,” explained Solheim.

If Ernie goes on to win the title of America’s Favorite Pet, Solheim and Ernie will win $5,000. The money would be donated to Noah’s Hope. Because money can’t buy the bond shared between Ernie and Solheim.

“Look at his eyes, when he stares with me those eyes, you can see it... it’s just filled full of love,” said Solheim.

If you want to support Ernie, follow this link. As of Feb. 27, Ernie is 5th in his quarter-finals. Voting for semi-finalists ends on March 9 at 7 p.m.