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About The American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™

Betty White and Gabe

The American Humane Association Hero Dog AwardsTM starts off as an annual national competition searches out and recognizes America’s Hero Dogs, who unconditionally avail themselves to us in so many important ways, whether it’s saving lives on the battlefield, lending sight or hearing to a human companion, providing therapeutic support to children suffering from cancer, or just greeting us with a wagging tail at the end of a hard day. Heroic hounds may be nominated by anyone at least 18 years of age in one of eight categories: Law Enforcement Dogs; Arson Dogs; Service Dogs; Therapy Dogs; Military Dogs; Guide & Hearing Dogs; Search and Rescue Dogs; and Emerging Hero Dogs (for ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things or are just heroes to us). 

Twenty-four Semi-Finalists (3 per category) will be selected by the American public via online voting; Eight finalists (1 per category) will be selected by the public and a panel of judges; and following the announcement of the eight finalists, the public and a special blue-ribbon celebrity judging panel will have the chance to name the top American Hero Dog of 2014.  Every finalist will be presented with a Hero Dog award for their feats of loyalty, bravery, and love, and win $1,500 for a selected charity partner.  In addition, one finalist will walk away with top honors as the winning American Hero Dog for 2014, securing an additional $5,000 for their charity partner.

Meet the 2013 American Hero Dog!

Elle the Pit Bull is not only a therapy dog, but she does so much for the children of her hometown Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. She spends her days visiting the residents of a local retirement home, brightening their lives through the soothing comfort of animal-assisted therapy. But Elle’s other love is helping children to learn to read. Children read aloud while Elle listens and it helps build their confidence because she will not scold them if they make a mistake. Elle is also a hero because she helps teach children how to safely interact with dogs. Pit bulls have a bad reputation as being a dangerous breed, but Elle’s message is that any dog, no matter how big or small, is capable of biting, and should be approached with caution. This lovable pit bill is doing so much to breakdown negative stereotypes of her breed. 

Meet the 2012 American Hero Dog!

Specialized Search Dog Gabe began his service to the United States of America as a Military Working Dog in 2006 and had an impact not only on the life of Charles Shuck, his handler and best friend, but indeed American soldiers around the world. Gabe had been stationed from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Fort Bliss, Texas, to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and Fort Hood, Texas. 

While deployed to Iraq, he completed over 210 combat missions with 26 finds of explosives and weapons. When Gabe wasn’t leading a combat mission he frequently visited wounded troops in Army hospitals and he visited school children in elementary schools. Gabe was selected as the American Kennel Club Heroic Military Working Dog in 2008 and was a runner-up in the 2011 Hero Dog Awards’ Military Working Dog category. Gabe retired in 2009 after a very distinguished career earning over 40 awards and coins of excellence for his work. His service to our country was out of pure love and respect for his country and the people of the United States. Until his last day on earth, Gabe continued to visit schools and inspire children with compassion and respect and the importance of staying in school. Beloved Hero Dog Gabe crossed the Rainbow Bridge on February 13, 2013.

Meet the Inaugural American Hero Dog!

Roselle, the guide dog who led her blind master safely down 78 flights of stairs following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, was named the American Hero Dog at the world’s first American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™. Roselle, who passed away in 2011, was honored at the Hero Dog Awards by her companion and best friend, Michael Hingson, and Guide Dog Africa.  

Meet the Inaugural Hero Dogs!

Meet the 2012 Hero Dogs!

Meet the 2013 Hero Dogs!

Media Inquiries

Mark Stubis

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