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Media shower attention on dog hero

Bobby MagillGlenwood Springs correspondent
Chelsea Bennett plays fetch with Zion Thursday along the Roaring Fork River at the spot where the pooch came to a boy's rescue on Mother's Day. (Kelley Cox/Post Independent)
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Going to New York City was a long shot for 13-year-old Chelsea Bennett this summer, but with the nation’s spotlight briefly shining on her family’s dog Zion, she could get a free ticket to the Big Apple. Before she packs her bags, though, David Letterman has to call.Zion is a 2-year-old yellow Labrador that saved 9-year-old Ryan Rambo from the cold, rushing waters of the Roaring Fork River on May 14. Rambo, who came with his family to Glenwood Springs after escaping the Hurricane Katrina-ravaged New Orleans metro area, had fallen out of his raft, and Zion, whom Chelsea was playing with on the riverbank, swam out and brought the boy to safety. Beginning with a Glenwood Springs Post Independent story about the incident two days later, the local and national attention to the heroic rescue hasn’t stopped. The next day, The Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News and at least one Denver TV station covered the story. Then came calls from Ladies’ Home Journal, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and the National Enquirer.Chelsea’s mother, Robin Bennett, said People magazine is doing a photo shoot of Chelsea, Zion and the Rambos on Saturday at her south Glenwood home. “It’s been wonderful, really,” Robin Bennett said. “It’s really been good for Chelsea’s self-esteem.” It’ll get a huge boost if Letterman offers her a free trip to New York and an appearance on national television. “We’re waiting for a call from the ‘Late Show,'” Robin Bennett said, adding that Chelsea and Ryan had been interviewed by a “Late Show” producer a few days ago, and they’re waiting for word from Letterman’s staff about a possible TV appearance. All the media attention has been quite dizzying for the seventh-grader at Glenwood Middle School.”The kids at school think that this is all pretty cool,” she said. “They were all excited when I told them about People magazine and David Letterman.”She admitted that parts of the whole experience are a little overwhelming, “but mostly it’s fun.”The gifts and award nominations have flowed in. She said Zion has been recommended for the Golden Paw Award from the Humane Society, while a man from Aspen is nominating Zion for a Carnegie Hero Fund medal. A Highlands Ranch dog trainer even offered to board and train Zion for two weeks near Denver. “We’ve just [received] numerous, numerous kudos in recognition that nobody deserves,” she said. “It was a wonderful feel-good story, and I guess that’s what America’s craving.”Kelley Cox contributed to this story.


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