Did your working or non-working pooch do something extraordinarily good this past year? Nominations are now being accepted for the 2016 American Humane Association (AHA) Hero Dog Awards.
The purpose of these awards, sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, is to “celebrate the powerful, age-old bond between dogs and people – and give recognition to courageous acts of heroism performed by our four-legged best friends,” according to the official website.
“Every year, hundreds of dogs vie for the coveted title of ‘American Hero Dog’ at the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of AHA. “Dogs do so many extraordinary things to improve and even save our lives, and this contest is our way of saluting our best friends.”
Through March 2, you can nominate your hero dog in one of the following eight categories:
- Emerging Hero Dogs (ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things)
- Law Enforcement Dogs
- Arson Dogs
- Service Dogs
- Therapy Dogs
- Military Dogs
- Search-and-Rescue Dogs
- Guide and Hearing Dogs
Beginning March 16, you can vote online for your favorite in each category. The winner of each category will receive $2,500 for their designated charity partner, a nonprofit dedicated to celebrating the role of working dogs.
The category winners will be flown to Los Angeles to attend the 6th Annual Hero Dogs Award ceremony, to be held Sept. 10 at the Beverly Hilton. The ceremony will be televised on the Hallmark Channel in the fall.
During the awards ceremony, one of the category winners will receive the prestigious American Hero Dog of the Year honor, and an additional $5,000 for their charity partner.
The 2015 recipient was Emerging Hero Dogs category winner Harley, a 15-year-old Chihuahua who spent the first 10 years of his life living in a cage in a filthy puppy mill. Harley suffered several physical ailments, including the loss of an eye when his cage was power-washed while he was still inside it. He was the inspiration for the Harley to the Rescue campaign, which raises funds to rescue and provide medical care for more other puppy-mill dogs.
According to AHA, the Hero Dog Awards show is viewed by more than 1 billion people around the world each year. It has featured celebrity participants including Betty White, Martin Short and Fred Willard.
Founded in 1877, AHA was the first national humane organization in the U.S., and is the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals.
Photo via Facebook