Since 1877, the historic American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting children, pets and farm animals from abuse and neglect. Today we're also leading the way in understanding human-animal interaction and its role in society.
As the nation's voice for the protection of children and animals, American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses.
To ensure the welfare, wellness and well-being of children and animals, and to unleash the full potential of the bond between humans and animals to the mutual benefit of both.
Meet the 2014 American Hero Dog!
The country’s top therapy dog, a pit bull mix named Susie from High Point, North Carolina who overcame a terrible ordeal but went on to bring hope to both people and animals, has been named this year’s “American Hero Dog” at the 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™, presented by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc. and broadcast nationally on Hallmark Channel October 30, 2014 at 8 pm ET/PT, 7 pm Central Time.
Susie was only a puppy when her owner beat her savagely and set her on fire, leaving her for dead in a local park in Greensboro, North Carolina. After being rescued by a local animal shelter and nursed back to health, she was adopted by Donna Lawrence, who had been the victim of a terrible dog attack that nearly killed her and left her without the ability to have children. Together, they helped each other heal from their physical and emotional wounds, triumphing over pain and fear to become voices for abused animals and helping pass “Susie’s Law” in North Carolina, which calls for harsher penalties for convicted animal abusers. Susie became the subject of the movie, “Susie’s Hope,” and working side by side, Donna and Susie continue to make the world a better place for others by visiting hospitals, schools, and nursing homes to inspire people never to give up. This year’s therapy dog category sponsor, as well as the campaign’s online sponsor, is the leading animal health company, Zoetis.
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.