Click here to learn more.
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Tomorrow marks a big day for one truly big-hearted pup: The winner of the 2012 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards will be crowned at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.
The black-tie, star-studded event — everyone from Betty White to Jewel will be in attendance — is designed to honor the many amazing canines who make a difference in the lives of countless people, ranging from therapy pups to search-and-rescue dogs.
This year eight dogs are vying for the top title, and Vetstreet caught up with the handlers and owners of four of the heroic canine contenders.
Although he's now retired, this Labrador Retriever completed more than 210 combat missions in Iraq, and successfully sniffed out 26 explosives and weapons finds, earning him three Army Commendation Medals.
“We were deemed the most productive military dog team in the theater of Iraq in 2007,” says Gabe’s former military-handler-turned-owner Sergeant First Class Charles Shuck. “When soldiers died in Iraq, Gabe (shown at left) would represent a piece of home as grieving soldiers would hug him and cry on him. He gets the chance to be the voice of all military working dogs.”
In the span of just eight months, Marissa Levy had lost her father, her best friend and her dog. But once she adopted a Standard Poodle puppy, whom she named Stella Lenore in honor of her grandmother, Levy’s life began to brighten and have a compassion-filled purpose.
“I was at a dog park with Stella, who was about five months old, when a lady told me that my dog was exceptional and then asked if she was in training to be a service or therapy dog,” recalls Levy. “When Stella turned one, I enrolled her in the Therapy Dogs International program, and she breezed through. Today, we make therapy visits six days a week, and she seems to bring out the best in people — the staff at one nursing home told me that a man who had never spoken now has conversations with Stella but no one else."
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
Knowing these commands might save
your dog’s life in a scary situation. Trainer
Mikkel Becker shares how to teach…
Our expert sings the praises of
food-dispensing toys and drops some
helpful hints for choosing the right one.
Mother's Day is coming up, so we're
showing our appreciation for the amazing
moms who care for their fur children.
The APBT has a formidable reputation
and appearance, but he is meant to be a
dog who loves and accepts people.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
Visit HealthyPet magazine for interviews with pet-loving celebrities, health advice from our experts, training tips and…
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.