Sophia Silva Award 


We are pleased to announce the National Bloodhound Training Institute’s Sofia Silva Award. Sofia's life represents the spirit in which this award is given and represents. This is our way of brining honor to the Silva family and Sofia’s memory. Sofia was a child who was taken from us by a serial killer. In her short life, she touched so many people and should never be forgotten. This award will serve to keep not only Sofia’s memory alive, but a reminder of all the children who have been taken from us. This is at the heart of all we train for.

The Sofia Silva award is given to recognize those individuals who have preformed with a determined sense of duty and responsibility by assisting in saving the life of a lost or missing person. Whether they are civilian Search and Rescue, Law enforcement, or Fire Rescue personnel.




Do you know of a canine trailing/ tracking team that has gone beyond the call of duty?

The National Bloodhound Training Institute is currently accepting nominations for the Sophia Silva Award

This award will be presented in April, 2004 to a

Canine trailing/ tracking team that has made remarkable trailing/ tracking contributions to communities or to the saving of lives of individuals. 

  • The nominated dog team must accomplish something out of the ordinary which calls attention to the outstanding trailing capabilities of the team. The accomplishment must have occurred in the year 2003.

  • The nominated dog may be of full or mixed breed. Dog does not need to be registered to qualify.

  • Judges must be able to verify the authenticity of all stories provided.

  • This award is for outstanding service to humanity and Canine Excellence and will be given annually by the National Bloodhound Training Institute

Deadline to receive this years nominations is February 15th, 2004.

Please send your submission to:

Sophia Silva Award

c/o: Mark Holmes


Texas Bloodhound Search and Rescue



             Please submit the following:

          A photo of the dog (with handler if available)

          A 500-word or less description of how the dog has demonstrated excellence

          The canine's name, breed, age and sex

          The owner’s name, address and phone number

          Person submitting (if other than the owner/ handler) name, address and phone number



2002 Award Recipient - Detective Mark Holmes 


Sofia's Parents Present the Award to Detective Holmes

Recipient for the year 2002
On April 13, 2002, Detective Mark Holmes and his canine partner were dispatched to a call of a woman who left her home the previous day who was despondent and had recently been in a state of depression. Several hours after the women left her residence,
3 suicide notes were located in her home which were directed to her husband and two children.

Detective Holmes was contacted after three other canine teams were unable to locate the woman's trail. Detective Holmes and his canine partner "Bo" trailed the woman's scent 7.1 miles before stopping due to health concerns of "Bo" which were caused by temperatures above 90 degrees. At this point Detective Holmes returned to speak with the ground searchers and relayed the information he gained from his trail and requested they continue where he left off.

The woman was found by ground searchers less than 100 yards from where Mark and Bo ended their trail. The woman had overdosed and suffered from heat exposure and insect bites. The woman was in a coma for several days prior to regaining consciousness. The woman has made a full recovery.

The trail was 19 ˝ hours old and took Detective Holmes 4 hours and 30 minutes to run.

Because of his determination and commitment to training, Mark was able to give vital information that led to saving a life.