August 18, 2015 | Posted in Andy The Everydog
The Hero Dog Awards celebrate the special relationship between dogs and humans by recognizing heroic acts performed by ordinary dogs.
In a nationwide search, 141 dogs from across the country were nominated. The winner was chosen by a mix of public votes and those of a voting panel consisting of animal advocates and celebrity judges including Victoria Stilwell, Kristin Chenoweth, Candy Spelling, Miranda Lambert, Dr. Marty Becker, Michelle Forbes, Megyn Price, Prince Lorenzo Borghese, Blake Koch, Tara Harper, Jerry Means, Nancy Otte, Michael Hingson, Shara Strand, Maria Milito, and Ashley Rhodes-Courter.
Eight ordinary dogs who have done extraordinary things were chosen as finalists. Their deeds have saved lives on battlefields, comforted the ill, aged and afflicted; brought loyalty, joy and hope to those in need.
The American Humane Association has fought breed-specific legislation (BSL) for years and was pleased to honor Elle, the pit bull, as its 2013 American Hero Dog representing a breed that has often been unjustly maligned.
Elle is a therapy dog, visiting retirement and nursing home residents. Her real love, however, is children and helping them learn to read. Children read aloud while Elle listens, helping to build their confidence because she will not scold them if they make a mistake. She also helps teach children how to safely interact with dogs.
Winners in other categories were:
- Cassidy the Sheltie, winner of the Emerging Hero Dogs category, was rescued from a pile of trash on the highway by her forever human mom, Kathy. His front leg needed to be amputated. He is an advocate for special needs rescues and does presentations with Kathy about children with disabilities, visiting rehabilitation centers, enhancing the message that everyone is different, special and needs to be accepted for who they are.
- Jingles, a Lab/Golden mix, is a guide dog for Karen Ann who is diabetic and multiply disabled. She is the Guide Dog winner. Jingles is Karen’s “right-hand girl”, even though she was trained to walk on her owner’s left and better side. Jingles is adept at crossing streets with blaring horns and screeching brakes; avoiding kids on bikes, construction barriers and the distraction of other pets of flexi-leads. She steers Karen clear of crowded shopping aisles in stores, shopping carts and guides her to safety wherever they go.
- Lola is the winner in the Hearing Dog category. As a dog rescued from neglect and abuse, Lola gives back daily by helping her human partner, Charlene, who is deaf. Lola is Charlene’s alarm clock, exercise companion, oven-timer buzzer, phone call announcer, messenger when someone knocks at the door. She also enjoys trips to the ballpark, grocery store, making hospital visits, rides on airplanes and canoeing.
- K9Lakota is the Law Enforcement/Arson Dog winner, assisting in over 80 apprehensions, 28 drug arrests, vehicles recouped, recovery of stolen property and money. Lakota’s deeds have been used to help change laws for Law Enforcement K9 dogs to insure they are better protected by their departments if injured in the line of duty.
- CWD Carlos EDD is the winner in the Military Dog category for protecting US and ISAF forces in continuous deployment over a period of 5 years in Baghdad and Kandahar, working in direct support of US Special Forces on the front lines. Carlos is credited with finding and saving American soldiers.
- John D won honors as top Search and Rescue Dog, with his ability to detect human cancer, find missing persons in kidnappings, natural disasters, drowning and other emergencies.
- SD Bronx is the winner in the Service Dog category, for being Christopher’s constant, loving and alert companion. Christopher began having seizures when he was 9-years-old and spent a lot of time in hospitals. It was impossible for him to attend school (where kids made fun of him) and he was afraid to sleep alone in his bedroom. SD Bronx was able to know when a seizure was coming and alerted others for help. He stayed with Christopher during doctors’ visits, and never left his side when he lost half of his field of vision.