Nearly 200 Courageous Canines Across America Nominated For Chance To Become Nation’s Top Hero Dog


Public Voting Opens to Choose Seven Finalists for 2017 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®

Every dog has its day, and 189 of the nation’s bravest dogs are hoping that day will come for them on September 16 at the American Humane Hero Dog Awards®, sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation. These dogs are all competing for the honor of being named 2017’s American Hero Dog, the highest honor a dog can receive. But it’s now up to America to decide which of those dogs will take home that coveted prize.

american humane hero dog awardsDog lovers across the country are invited to visit and vote once per day for their favorite dogs in each of seven categories. Following the first round of voting, which ends May 3 with the selection of 21 semifinalists (the top three in each category), a second round, featuring a combination of public and celebrity voting, will narrow the field to the seven category finalists. The winning dog in each category will be flown to Los Angeles and celebrated at a red carpet, star-studded awards gala on September 16, when this year’s American Hero Dog will be revealed. The sixth annual Hero Dog Awards will be hosted by James Denton and Beth Stern and will air nationwide as a two-hour special on Hallmark Channel this fall.

The seven categories for 2017 are: Law Enforcement/Arson Dogs, sponsored by the K-9 Courage Program™ from Zoetis; Military Dogs, sponsored by the K-9 Courage Program from Zoetis and the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation; Therapy Dogs, sponsored by Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food, the official pet food of the 2017 Hero Dog Awards; Service Dogs, sponsored by Modern Dog magazine; Emerging Hero Dogs, a category that pays tribute to ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things, sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, maker of NexGard® (afoxolaner) Chewables; Search and Rescue Dogs; and Guide/Hearing Dogs. Following the nominations period, 21 semifinalists (the top three in each category) will be chosen in a first round of voting by celebrity judges and the public.

Over the past six years, Americans have cast millions of votes for more than a thousand dogs, all seeking the coveted title of American Hero Dog. The program reaches more than 1 billion people each year and draws the support and participation of top celebrity dog lovers from all over the world. Hosts, judges, award presenters, and entertainment acts have included Alison Sweeney, Bindi Irwin, Derek Hough, Katharine McPhee, Michelle Beadle, Victoria Stilwell, Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg, Denise Richards, Joey Lawrence, Lisa Vanderpump, Burt Reynolds, Chelsea Handler, Martin Short, Jewel, Wilson Phillips, John Ondrasik, Carson Kressley, Miranda Lambert, Pauley Perrette, Kristen Chenoweth, Naomi Judd, Lori Loughlin, Lea Thompson, Eric Stonestreet, Fred Willard, Danica McKellar, Bailee Madison, and many, many more.

Winners in each category will earn $2,500 for their designated charity partner and the overall winner’s charity partner will win an additional $5,000 prize. Each charity partner is dedicated to celebrating the role of working dogs in our lives, and like American Humane, celebrates the importance of the human-animal bond.

“Our best friends do so much to improve and even save our lives, and every dog owner knows about the extraordinary, unbreakable bond they share with their dog,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane’s president and CEO. “The American Humane Hero Dog Awards are our way of celebrating the power of the human-animal bond, which has been a core part of our organization’s mission for nearly 140 years.”

“The Hero Dog Awards recognize some of America’s bravest heroes,” said philanthropist and presenting sponsor Lois Pope. “I am honored to present this invaluable effort to honor the best of our best friends and shine a light on the extraordinary acts of courage and kindness performed by ordinary dogs.”

“Every year, we have the great honor of highlighting new hero dogs, whose stories of bravery, devotion, and unconditional love underscore the power of the human-dog bond,” said Bill Abbott, president & CEO, Crown Media Family Networks. “The Hero Dog Awards, a truly inspirational program, not only gives our canine friends the recognition they so deserve, but it shines a spotlight on the incredible range of services they perform on our behalf.”

Key dates for the 2017 American Humane Hero Dog Awards contest include:

  • Nominations: January 25March 22
  • 1st Round Voting: March 29May 3
  • 2nd Round Voting: May 17June 28
  • 3rd Round Voting: July 12August 30
  • American Humane Hero Dog Awards event in Los AngelesSeptember 16

Nominations for 2016 Hero Vet and Hero Vet Tech Awards Close Next Week

And because behind every hero pet there is a hero veterinarian or veterinary technician, the Hero Dog Awards once again feature a second contest – the American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™, sponsored by Zoetis. Pet owners and animal lovers across America still have a week left to nominate their favorite animal caretakers in these two fields, with each to be honored at the Hero Dog Awards event on September 16. The nomination period for this separate contest closes on April 6.

For more information about the 2016 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®, and to vote daily in the contest, please visit For more information about the 2017 American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™, and to nominate a veterinarian or veterinary technician, please visit




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