The 2014 Hero Dog Awards Honors Eight Heroic Canines

Giggy, Lisa Vanderpump

Stars gathered at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Saturday, September 27th to celebrate eight incredible dogs that truly remind us all why these four legged creatures are man’s best friend. The night was nothing short of amazing with stars like Lisa Vanderpump, Lori Loughlin, Bailee Madison, Brant Daugherty, Lacey Chabert, Charlotte Ross, and many others in attendance for the American Humane Association’s 4th Annual “Hero Dog Awards.”

Lor Laughlin with her daughers Olivia and Isabella

Lor Laughlin with her daughers Olivia and Isabella

The night’s festivities were co-hosted by James Denton and Beth Stern, who both kept the night full of laughs, focusing on the dogs being honored that night. The night also included a special performance from the musical group, Wilson Phillips, whose set included their hit song, “Hold On.”

“The American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards were created to honor some of the most extraordinary heroes the world has ever known, the very best of our ‘best friends’ – ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of American Humane Association.  The dogs were honored in eight categories: Arson Dog, Emerging Hero Dog, Guide/Hearing Dog, Law Enforcement Dog, Military Dog, Search and Rescue Dog, Service Dog, and Therapy Dog. A nationwide search took place resulting in 135 dogs from across the country being nominated. After more than one and a half million votes were cast Kai, Xena, Xxon, Kota, Chaney, Bretagne, JJ Krawczyk, and Susie were the selected winning dogs for the eight categories.

“These courageous canines have gone above and beyond the call of duty, saving lives on the battlefield, comforting the ill, aged and afflicted, bringing hope to those who have lost it and reminding us of the powerful, age-old bond between animals and people,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert. For their heroic efforts, each dog received $1,500 towards their partnered American Humane Association charity, and the 2014 American Hero Dog of the year received an additional $5,000 for its charity partner. The night’s winners in each category included:

  • Susie from High Point, NC  was this year’s American Hero Dog and Therapy Dog winner. She partnered with the Paws & Effect charity. Despite the fact that this pit bull mix was savagely beaten, set on fire, and  left to die, she managed to overcome it all and become a sign of hope for people and animals everywhere. Susie is truly an inspiration, and has helped pass “Susie’s Law” in North Carolina, which calls for harsher penalties for convicted animal abusers.

    This year's "Hero Dog," Susie

    This year’s “Hero Dog,” Susie

  • Kai from San Antonio, TX  won the Arson Dog Award, and partnered with the Project Paws Alive charity. In Kai’s four-year career she has been part of more than 200 investigations, and also helps keep her community safe by teaching children about the importance of fire safety.
  • Xena from Johns Creek, GA, the Emerging Hero Dog Award winner, partnered with Sheltie Rescue of Utah charity. After being given a one percent chance at survival, Xena defied the odds and went on to be the miracle that changed an autistic little boy’s world. Before Xena, the child was closed off, but now he is constantly singing and chatting.
  • Xxon from Bloomfield, CT who won the Guide/Hearing Dog Award,  partnered with the Fidelco charity. After an explosion in  Afghanistan left Air Force Sergeant Michael Malarsie blind, Xxon gave him a grasp on his independence and life again. Together they advocate the importance of service dogs for members of the military.
  • Kota from Winchester, VA, partnered with K9s4COPs charity. Kota was injured while responding to a burglary in progress. Despite a severely fractured limb, he climbed back up the stairs and helped his fellow officers finish the call to ensure their safety, earner his Law Enforcement Dog Award.
  • Chaney from Waverly, IA who won the Military Dog Award, partnered with the America’s VetDogs charity. Before retiring from the Marines in 2013 Chaney served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as an IED detection dog. While deployed, he saved countless lives by locating IEDs, and was a great morale booster for the members of his squad.
  • Bretagne from Cypress, TX partnered with the Penn Vet Working Dog Center charity. Before retiring 2008, Bretagne was a huge asset 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. Bretagnes efforts earned her the Search and Rescue Dog Award.
  • JJ Krawczyk from Apex, NC, who won the Service Dog Award, partnered with the Eyes Ears Nose & Paws charity. This once shelter dog is now a hero to a little girl suffering from a rare condition known as Mastocytosis. JJ Krawczyk’s nose can detect when reactions are about to occur, alerting the girl’s parents that her life might be in danger.

Be sure to catch all the highlights of the night youself on the Hallmark Channel on October 30 at 8 pm ET/PT, 7 pm Central Time. This year’s winners are equally as cute as they are heroic.


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