Top Canine Contenders Revealed for the 2023 American Humane Hero Dog Awards

The American Humane Association, the nation’s first national humane organization founded in 1877, once again set the stage to honor our four-legged heroes.

The association recently announced the finalists for the 2023 Hero Dog Awards, a prestigious annual event that celebrates America’s most courageous canines.

The competition, which began in April, saw hundreds of dog owners from across the country nominating their pets for the coveted title of “American Hero Dog.”

The five categories include law enforcement and first responder dogs, service and guide or hearing dogs, therapy dogs, military dogs, and emerging hero and shelter dogs.

Among the top contenders is Poppy, a five-year-old Labrador from Columbia, South Carolina.

Serving as a valuable member of the University of South Carolina Police Department, Poppy is a finalist in the law enforcement and first responder dog category. Her duties include security sweeps, crowd screening, and safety presentations for students.

Another finalist is Maverick, a six-year-old European Blue Great Dane who serves as a therapy dog at the United Service Organizations (USO) in Saint Robert, Missouri.

Maverick brings comfort to military heroes and their families, escorts children to military funerals, and helps individuals cope with trauma.

In the military working dog category, Buda, a four-year-old German shorthaired pointer from Oceanside, California, stands out.

As one of only 18 certified explosives-detection canines in the U.S. Coast Guard, Buda has completed over 185 operational deployments, including safety sweeps of vessels and responding to bomb threats.

Raina, a 13-year-old Australian shepherd dog from Perkasie, Pennsylvania, is the finalist for the emerging hero and shelter dog category.

Despite being born blind and deaf, Raina’s infectious positivity and perseverance have inspired many, including her owner Kristen Strouse, a former middle school music teacher.

Moxie, a five-year-old mini Goldendoodle from Ballwin, Missouri, is the finalist in the service and guide or hearing category.

Moxie serves her 42-year-old handler, Katie Harris, who lost her ability to walk due to a rare genetic condition. Moxie assists with simple tasks and provides medical alerts when necessary.

The award ceremony, set to take place on November 10, 2023, in Palm Beach, Florida, promises to be a grand affair. The finalists will walk a red carpet and be judged by a panel of hosts before the 2023 American Humane Hero Dog is announced.

Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of the American Humane Association, said that the awards provide an opportunity for Americans to celebrate the “strength, hope, and happiness that dogs bring to our lives.”

These awards indeed serve as a testament to the extraordinary bond between humans and dogs, and the remarkable ways in which these four-legged heroes enrich our lives.

This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.

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Written by Western Reader

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