Two Million Votes Yield Eight Outstanding Dogs to Receive Top Honors in Beverly Hills at “American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™” Gala and Award Ceremony October 6!
MILITARY DOG CATEGORY
Winner: GABE (Columbia, SC) – Retired MWD Sgt. Gabe has served our great country since 2006 when he first reported for duty. From training in Ft. Lewis, WA to completing over 210 combat missions with 26 explosive and weapons finds in Iraq, MWD Sgt. Gabe still made time throughout the day to bring love and joy to his comrades. Since retiring in 2009, MWD Sgt. Gabe has earned over 40 awards and coins of excellence for his heroic work and spends his free time educating children on the value of respect and staying in school. (Charity Partner: The United States War Dog Association, Inc.)
EMERGING HERO CATEGORY
Winner: DANIEL (Nutley, NJ) – Daniel, a beagle from an Alabama shelter on “death row,” did the unimaginable in 2011 when he survived the most inhumane form of euthanasia, the gas chamber. Since adopted by his loving guardian, Joe Dawyer, Daniel the “Miracle Beagle” has used his second chance at life as an advocate for shelter adoptions and humane euthanasia legislation across the United States. (Charity Partner: The Pine Street Foundation).
We’ve hung with Daniel and his pop, Joe. Great dog and human! — Kenn
GUIDE DOG CATEGORY
Winner: TABITHA (South Bend, IN) – Guide dog Tabitha is more than just a guide dog to her former guardian, Ann Drake, who lost her sight as an adult. Tabitha guided Ann back to a place within herself where she found the confidence that she had lost and overcame the fears of her new life. With Tabitha by her side, Ann went on to complete her undergraduate and graduate studies. (Charity Partner: Leader Dogs for the Blind).
LAW ENFORCEMENT/ARSON DOG CATEGORY, sponsored by State Farm
Winner: JYNX (Shillington, PA) – On the evening of June 29, 2011, Law Enforcement-Arson K-9 Jynx desperately worked to try and pull his guardian Sgt.Kyle Pagerly and another officer out of harm’s way as a crime suspect opened fire during a routine warrant delivery. 28-year-old Sgt. Pagerly was killed in the line of duty leaving behind his pregnant wife. If not for the swift and heroic efforts of K-9 Jynx, more officers would have lost their lives that night. (Charity Partner: K9s4COPs).
HEARING DOG CATEGORY, sponsored by MRB Productions
Winner: TATIANA II (Plantation, FL) — Hearing dog, Tatiana II, was matched with handler Cristina Saint-Blancard in 2011 as her hearing dog but quickly turned into her life-saving hero. Cristina suffers from asthma which is exacerbated by frequent ear infections and one night found herself struggling for breath and soon completely without breath. Tatiana II was quick to notice something was wrong and ran into the next room to alert Cristina’s family. If not for Tatiana II that night, Cristina would not have gone on to graduate from Purdue University last December with Tatiana II by her side. (Charity Partner: Dogs for the Deaf).
SEARCH AND RESCUE DOG CATEGORY
Winner: SOOT (Charleston, WV) – West Virginia Search and Rescue K-9 Soot, didn’t know he had a big job ahead of him when he was adopted by Lorraine Burdette. Soot’s training in air scent, scent discrimination, and certified search and rescue wilderness training gave him the tools he needed to rescue a lost 78-year-old diabetic hunter lost in the wilderness on a cold December morning. (Charity Partner: The Sage Foundation for Dogs Who Serve).
SERVICE DOG CATEGORY, sponsored by Trupanion
Winner: HOLLY (Magna, UT) – Seizure alert Service Dog Holly never takes her attention away from her guardian, Shanna Wilkinson, who suffers from epileptic seizures. With Holly by her side, Shanna is able to embrace all of life’s gifts and challenges without fear. Together they travel and together they teach elementary students the importance of Service Dogs. (Charity Partner: International Association of Assistance Dog Partners).
THERAPY DOG CATEGORY, sponsored by Pfizer Animal Health
Winner: STELLA (Mt. Kisco, NY) – Therapy Dog Stella and her guardian Marissa Levy, dedicate their time to bringing love and joy to the residents at Richmond Community Services, a not-for-profit organization that cares for developmentally disabled children and adults. Stella is unfazed by disabilities and diseases – befriending and with time, unconditionally loving all she meets. Stella is the sunshine that beats the cloudy days for the residents and for that they are so appreciative. (Charity Partner: Angel On A Leash).
Phase II Hero Dog Voting Now in Progress with All-Star Judging Panel
The final phase of this exciting journey to select the winning 2011 American Hero Dog has now begun with voting by the public (cast your ballot at www.herodogawards.org) and an all-star panel of judges including Whoopi Goldberg, Victoria Stilwell, Candy Spelling, Kristin Chenoweth, Miranda Lambert, Michelle Forbes, Megyn Price, J.R. Martinez, Susan Orlean, Kristin Bauer Van Straten, Chrishaunda Lee Perez, CBS-TV’s Dr. Debbye Turner Bell, ABC-TV’s Dr. Marty Becker, Tinsley Mortimer, Prince Lorenzo Borghese, Tara Harper, Edie McClurg, Christie Brooke, Ashley Rhodes-Courter, and the handlers and owners of last year’s winners Jerry Means, Nancy Otte, Michael Hingson, Patti Kennedy, Maria Mandel, Debbie Kandoll, and Diane Whetsel, who will help choose the Grand Prize Winner from among the finalists. The judging period will continue until midnight on October 5.