(Welcome to the weekly pet column of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla, N.Y. A new article is posted each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)
American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, recently announced the official start of the 2020 American Humane Hero Dog Awards campaign, sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation. The annual campaign seeks to identify and honor America’s bravest heroes on both ends of the leash and will culminate this fall with the premiere of the “American Humane Hero Dog Awards” on Hallmark Channel. The two-hour special, now in its 10th year, is broadcast in conjunction with the network’s pet adoption advocacy initiative, Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After, which aims to empty the shelters and end this country’s epidemic of pet homelessness.
Dog owners across the country are invited to visit www.herodogawards.org and nominate their heroic hound in one of seven categories. The top dog in each category will travel to Los Angeles and be celebrated at the Sept. 26 star-studded, red-carpet awards gala at the Beverly Hilton. One of the category winners will be unveiled as the American Hero Dog of the year – the most prestigious honor a canine can receive.
The seven categories for 2020 are: Law Enforcement Dogs, Military Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Service Dogs, Shelter Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs and Guide/Hearing Dogs. Following the nominations period, which ends on March 10, 21 semifinalists (the top three in each category) will be chosen in a first round of voting by the public. The second round, featuring a combination of public and celebrity judge voting, will narrow the field to seven category finalists who will then vie, through a final public voting round, for the title of 2020 American Hero Dog.
During the past nine years, Americans have cast millions of votes for more than 1,000 dogs, all seeking the coveted title of American Hero Dog. The program reaches more than one 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 Vivica A. Fox, Jay Leno, Billy Crystal, Betty White, Ariel Winter, Rebecca Romijn, Jerry O’Connell, Dean Cain, James Denton, Beth Stern, Katharine McPhee, Shannen Doherty, Whoopi Goldberg, Denise Richards, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Chelsea Handler, Martin Short, Jewel, Wilson Phillips, Carson Kressley, Miranda Lambert, Pauley Perrette, Kristin Chenoweth, Naomi Judd, Eric Stonestreet, Fred Willard, Danica McKellar and many, many more.
“Every year, hundreds of dogs vie for the coveted title of ‘American Hero Dog’ at the American Humane Hero Dog Awards,” said Robin Ganzert, Ph.D., American Humane’s president and CEO. “Dogs do so many extraordinary things to improve and even save our lives, and this campaign is our way of saluting our best friends.”
“For thousands of years, dogs have protected us, comforted us in times of need, and selflessly saved the lives of those around them,” said Lois Pope. “We need to recognize their extraordinary achievements and heroism, and I am pleased to serve once again for a ninth year as the platinum presenting sponsor for the American Humane Hero Dog Awards. I wish all our remarkable nominees luck and look forward to reading their stories of valor and courage.”
“Hallmark Channel is proud to have the American Humane Hero Dog Awards serve as the focal point of our Adoption Ever After initiative,” said Bill Abbott, president and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks. “Adoption Ever After is our on- and off-air advocacy and awareness initiative designed to celebrate the joy pets bring to our lives, shine a spotlight on the wonderful animals in shelters across the country, and promote adoption.”
More information about the 2020 American Humane Hero Dog Awards, including complete contest rules and entry information, can be obtained by visiting www.herodogawards.org.
(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PetConnectionProgramsinc. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)