The 2018 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 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. “Roxy the PTSD Service Dog” was nominated in the Service Dog Category, “K-9 Flash” represents the Law Enforcement/Arson category. “Chi Chi” is a Therapy Dog; and “Sgt. Fieldy” is a Military Dog. “Frances” is a Guide Dog, and the Search and Rescue Dog is “Ruby”.
The remaining finalist is a little guy named Willow, who represents the Emerging Hero Dog category. At age eleven he was sold to a dog meat farm in South Korea because his owners thought he was too old. He had not received very good care – his teeth were rotting out, his hair was full of mats, his tongue was infected and he was dangerously thin. His luck changed for the better when he was rescued by an animal welfare worker in South Korea, and after a few weeks of veterinary care and some T-L-C he was adopted by his rescuer’s friend from Nevada.
Two years later, this now cute, cuddly, healthy fluffy-haired dog with no teeth but with an amazingly friendly nature and an outgoing personality is an ambassador for the movement to put an end to the dog meat trade. His campaign, “I Am Willow I Am Not Food” raises funds for flights for other rescued dog victims. He is currently working on getting his therapy dog certification and will continue his campaign for humane treatment of all animals.
Learn more about all the wonderful animals nominated for the 2018 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, September 5th!
Whether saving a life or just enriching one, these four-legged heroes deserve our gratitude, when we’re speaking of pets.