Hurray! The 2014 Hero Dog Awards are here again! Where we get to celebrate how amazing our four legged, canine companions can be. Last year’s winner for the 2013 award was a pitbull named Elle. Elle is a therapy dog doing awesome things like helping kids read, providing comfort to senior citizen, and even a friendly face to police officers.
What is a hero dog award though? And what do our canine pals have to do to be eligible to compete for it? Well, let’s explore those questions and see what this cool award is all about.
What the Hero Dog Award Is About
Basically, the Hero Dog Award is an award given by the American Humane Association. What does it mean to be a “Hero” dog though? Well, a hero dog is basically a dog that unconditionally avails themselves in many important ways. This can include but isn’t limited to lending sight or hearing to adults and children, saving lives on the battlefield, providing therapeutic support, or it can even just be giving you a wagging tail at the end of a bad day. We love our doggy companions, so why not celebrate how amazing they can truly be, right?
How the Award Works
There a quite a number of dogs who can qualify to compete for the Hero Dog Award. First off, a person has to be at least 18 years old or older in order to nominate an amazing canine. There are eight categories dogs can enter: Law Enforcement Dogs; Arson Dogs; Service Dogs; Therapy Dogs; Military Dogs; Guide & Hearing Dogs; Search and Rescue Dogs; and Emerging Hero Dogs (ordinary dogs who do amazing things or is a hero who helped us).
There will be twenty-four semi-finalists (3 per category) who will be picked by the public through internet voting. From there eight finalists will be picked by a panel of judges and the public. From there a finalist will then be chosen by the public and a special blue ribbon celebrity judge who will be named the Top American Hero Dog of 2014. Each of the eight finalist hero dogs will receive a Hero Dog Award along and win $1,500 for a selected charity partner. One finalist will also walk away with the Hero Dog Award of 2014 along with an additional $5,000 for their chosen charity partner.
Meet some of the 2014 Finalists
Arson Dogs category
Kai – San Antonio Fire Department’s six-year-old black lab who was rescued from a shelter and given a second chance at life. She helps keep people safe by helping investigate arson cases. In her four year career alone she has done over 200 investigations and helps to teach children about fire safety.
Emerging Hero Dogs category
Xena – This beloved pitbull was practically on her death bed when she was brought to the Georgia shelter outside of Atlanta. She was emaciated and dehydrated, and given only a 1% to live. Miraculously Xena beat the odds by making a full recovery from her bad state of health. She was soon adopted by a family who had a little boy with autism. Before, the child had been closed off from the world. With the arrival of Xena though helped spark something in him. He now constantly sings and chats with Xena the Warrior Puppy.
There are six more 2014 finalists who have done amazing things to help out their human companions. Deep down we all know are dogs are heroes. They always provide us with unconditional love and support. And this award is just a way of helping to recognizing the amazing lengths dogs are willing to go to help us.
Photo Credit: istockphoto.com