Eight finalists have been announced, each representing a specific category (see below). The finalists and their owners will be flown to Hollywood to take part in the Hero Dog Awards gala. They 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.
Only one of these dogs will be named the American Hero Dog for 2014. The winner will secure an additional $5,000 for their charity partner dedicated to dogs, along with a prize pack from Trupanion.
The 2014 finalists:
Kai – Arson Dogs Category – sponsored by State Farm
San Antonio, TX
Charity partner: Project Paws Alive
The San Antonio Fire Department’s six-year-old black Lab was rescued from a shelter and given a second chance. Now she helps keep others safe by investigating arson cases. In her four-year career she has taken part in more than 200 investigations and helps educate children on fire safety.
Kota - Law Enforcement Dogs Category
Charity partner: K9s4COPs
A member of the Winchester, Virginia police force, this dog was injured in an eight-foot fall while responding to a burglary in progress. Undeterred, he helped his fellow officers finish the call, fighting with a severely fractured limb to ensure their safety.
Xena - Emerging Hero Dogs Category – sponsored by Trupanion
Johns Creek, GA
Charity partner: Sheltie Rescue of Utah
This pit bull was knocking on death’s door when she was brought into a Georgia shelter outside Atlanta. Emaciated and dehydrated, she was given just a one percent chance at survival. Unbelievably, she defied the odds, made a full recovery and was adopted by a family with a little boy with autism. Before, the child had closed himself off to the world, but the arrival of Xena sparked something in the child, and went from once silent to now constantly singing to and chatting with Xena the Warrior Puppy.
Xxon – Guide and Hearing Dogs Category – sponsored by Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food
Charity partner: Fidelco
In January 2010, an explosion in Kandahar, Afghanistan left Air Force Sergeant Michael Malarsie blind and killed four of his fellow servicemen, including his best friend. Though he lost his sight, Sgt. Malarsie was soon partnered with XXon, and they became the only active duty guide dog team in the Air Force. Now retired, Sgt. Malarsie continues to work with XXon every day as the dog helps get him safely to wherever he needs to be.
Chaney – Military Dogs Category
Charity partner: America’s VetDogs
This eight-year-old lab retired from the Marines in 2013 after multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as an IED detection dog. While deployed, Chaney not only saved countless lives by locating IEDs, he also served as a great morale booster for everyone in his squad. Since retiring, Chaney was adopted by one of his handlers and they now spend many hours volunteering around the Midwest for a nonprofit organization called Retrieving Freedom, Inc., which trains service dogs for disabled veterans and children with autism.
Susie – Therapy Dogs Category – sponsored by Zoetis
High Point, NC
Charity partner: Paws & Effect
A puppy that was set on fire and a woman who suffered a brutal dog attack became a dedicated team that eventually changed North Carolina animal-cruelty laws. Susie the Pit Bull mix began life with terror and pain when she was beaten, burned, and abandoned. Susie and her owner both triumphed over pain and fear to become voices for abused animals who have no voice. They visit hospitals, schools, and nursing homes to inspire people never to give up.
JJ Krawczyk – Service Dog Category – Sponsored by Modern Dog Magazine
Charity partner: Eyes Ears Nose & Paws
Once a shelter dog, this small hero was rescued, trained, and partnered with a young girl suffering from a rare condition known as Mastocytosis, which can cause severe reactions. This dog with the gifted nose can detect when reactions are about to occur, alerting the girl’s parents that her life might be in danger. When she needed surgery recently, doctors requested the dog be present in the operating room to help keep the girl alive.
Bretagne – Search and Rescue Dogs Category
Charity partner: Penn Vet Working Dog Center
Over her long career, Bretagne has made a significant contribution to the search and rescue community through her many deployments including the World Trade Center after 9/11, the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, and Hurricane Rita in 2005. She now continues as an ambassador for search and rescue dogs as she visits elementary schools where she helps first graders learn to read.
Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinarian Technician Awards
A Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinarian Technician will also be selected at the Hero Dog Awards gala. Five finalists have been chosen. The Grand Prize voting session ends on July 21st, click here to read their stories and vote!
We all know veterinarians and veterinarian technicians are heroes. We see them on the news bringing freedom to members of an illegal breeder seizure. We hear about the amazing research they are doing to find a cure for feline leukemia. We see the animals they take in who are out of options and need loving care.
But we also see them day in and day out, getting to know our own beloved pet and offering us the best care possible for something as simple as an ear infection. We love them and we respect them and we couldn’t imagine our lives without them.
The Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinarian Technician Awards, presented by the American Humane Association, now offer us a chance to honor them. These new awards recognize the commitment these professionals have to the betterment of the health and well-being of animals.
The Hero Dog Awards were created by the American Humane Association to celebrate the devoted relationship between dogs and people. The annual national competition searches out and recognizes America’s Hero Dogs – often ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things, 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.
If you haven’t already, get a pet insurance quote for your own hero dog here.
Videos of 2012 and 2013 winners