The Hero Dog Awards Honors America’s Best Friends

The American Humane Association honored eight dogs at its awards gala hosted by Kristin Chenoweth.


Last night (Nov. 8), the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards finally aired on the Hallmark Channel. (The event took place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Oct. 6.) It was a star-studded affair — or so we imagine. Our cable plan is apparently one that does not offer the Hallmark Channel, a fact we realized far too late to do us any good.


We know it was a great night, because Kristin Chenoweth was the host, and she brought her Maltese, Madeline Kahn Chenoweth, along for the ride. Imagine them up there on the stage — we had to, Time Warner.

Here’s a bit of what went down on the red carpet, via YouTube:

The Hero Dog Awards is a national competition that recognizes “ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things,” according to the organization’s site, “whether it’s saving lives on the battlefield, lending sight or hearing to a human companion, or simply the tail-wagging welcome a pet owner relishes at the end of a hard day.”

Winners in eight categories were selected by the public from a pool of more than 350 contestants. Those winners were flown to the show to be feted by celebrities, serenaded by Jewel, nuzzled by Chenoweth, doted over by Betty White, and subsequently watched by America (at least, those of you who get the Hallmark Channel). Out of those eight winners, one dog was picked to reign supreme for the night as the 2012 American Dog Hero.

Here are those eight winners:

  • Daniel, a Beagle who survived a gas chamber in Alabama.
  • Tatiana, a hearing dog who suddenly transformed into an asthma dog one night when her owner had a severe attack.
  • Tabitha, a guide dog who helped her person regain confidence and go back to college.
  • Stella, a therapy dog who volunteered at Richmond Community Services and comforted people with developmental disabilities and critical health problems.
  • Soot, an “air scent, scent discriminating, certified search and rescue dog” who found a lost, 78-year-old hunter in the woods.
  • Jynx, a K-9 police dog who saved the lives of his fellow officers in the field.
  • Holly, a seizure alert and response service dog who raises money for charity with her owner.
  • Gabe, a military dog with “210 combat missions with 26 finds of explosives and weapons” while deployed in Iraq.

Who was the night’s big winner, landing the 2012 American Dog Hero award? The military dog Gabe, who appeared with his handler, Sgt. 1st Class Charles Shuck. Here’s his story:

“Him going out there, searching for the explosives and finding them,” Shuck said, according to Zap2it, “he does not know that he potentially can die. He goes out and smells for this bad stuff, and if he finds it, he gets his ball, his reward.”

Shuck added, “I want the world to know what military working dogs are. They are so valuable on the battlefield, and they need the support of the American people.”

Congratulations to all the winners, and to the 2012 American Dog Hero Gabe!

Photo via the Hallmark Channel’s Facebook

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