The 2017 Hero Dog Awards seek to find and recognize dogs who help people in many important ways. Dogs are nominated in one of seven categories: Service Dogs, Emerging Hero Dogs, Law Enforcement/Arson Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Military Dogs, Guide/Hearing Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs.
The Emerging Hero category honors the partnership that often develops between human and dog. Some of these animals are trained in such areas as detection of diseases such as cancer; others are just pets who, without any special training, instinctively assist their human companions; and some, like Abigail (pictured wearing one of her "bonnets" that covers her missing ear), are overcomers who have triumphed over adversity in an extraordinary way.
Over the past several weeks I have highlighted six of the seven finalists for this year’s Hero Dog Award, sponsored by the American Humane Association. “Atlas the Wonderdog” was nominated in the Service Dog Category; “Ice” represents the Law Enforcement/Arson category; “Aladdin” is a Therapy Dog; “Adak” is a Military Dog. “Pierce” is a Guide Dog, and the Search and Rescue Dog is "Luca.
The remaining finalist is Abigail, who represents the Emerging Hero Dog category. She is a Pit Bull with a very inspiring story. It begins tragically when she showed up last year at an animal shelter.
She was anemic, infested with ticks and fleas, and badly mauled. Her rescuers believe she was used as a bait dog for a dog fighting ring, then abandoned and left to die. Most of one side of her face was missing and so infected she smelled bad. It was uncertain whether she would survive.
She was hospitalized, where a soft-hearted and determined veterinarian performed a number of surgeries including skin grafts. When she was being bandaged, the gauze wrapped around her head resembled a bow. Someone called it her “bonnet” - the media picked up the story and people started sending her doggie bonnets from all over the world.
Abigail has a great disposition. She likes all people and animals, and responds to any kindness shown to her with love. She now has a mission to teach forgiveness and put an end to dog fighting. You can keep up with her on her Facebook page, “Bonnets for Abigail”. Her charity partner is Dogs on Deployment, which helps members of the military find loving, safe foster homes for their pets while they are serving our country.
Learn more about all the wonderful animals nominated for the 2017 Hero Dog Award by visiting the website at HeroDogAwards.org. Cast your vote for the finalist you think should be America’s Hero Dog – but don’t delay because voting ends Wednesday, August 30th! Whether saving a life or just enriching one, these four-legged heroes deserve our gratitude, when we’re speaking of pets.