AHA American Hero Dog 2012

Life-saving Military Service Dog is named Top "American Hero Dog" at the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards.

Posted: Oct 12, 2012, 11 a.m. EST

Hero Dog Winner- Photo courtesy American Humane AssociationSpecialized Search Dog Gabe, the life-saving military working dog who served our country by completing more than 210 combat missions with 26 explosive and weapons finds in Iraq, has been named the top American Hero Dog at the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards. Gabe was honored at the second annual Hero Dog Awards with his handler, Sergeant First Class Charles Shuck.

The sold-out, star-studded awards honoring America's most courageous canines, hosted at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 6 by Emmy and Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth, was created to celebrate the powerful relationship between dogs and people and recognize extraordinary acts of heroism performed by ordinary dogs.

The event will be broadcast nationwide by Hallmark Channel on November 8 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT.

During a nationwide search over the course of six months, hundreds of dogs from all 50 states were nominated and more than 3 million votes were cast by the American public, culminating in the selection of eight extraordinary canine finalists.

"Tonight we honor some of the most extraordinary heroes the world has ever known, the very best of our 'best friends' – ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of American Humane Association. "These courageous canines have gone above and beyond the call of duty, saving lives on the battlefield, comforting the ill, aged and afflicted, bringing hope to those who have lost it and reminding us of the powerful, age-old bond between animals and people. Choosing a top dog is difficult because they are all so terrific, but we are proud to announce Gabe as the top American Hero Dog for 2012."

The eight finalists and their handlers were flown to Los Angeles by JetBlue Airways, Official Airline Sponsor for the 2012 Hero Dog Awards, where they were joined by Atticus, the evening's Grand Marshal Dog, who appeared on behalf of the nation's disabled veterans, four winning dogs from the Hero Dogs Class of 2011, and Michael Hingson, owner of Roselle, the 2011 American Hero Dog, who passed away in June 2011.

The winner is chosen through a combination of public votes and voting by a panel of animal advocates and celebrity judges including Whoopi Goldberg, Victoria Stilwell, Candy Spelling, Miranda Lambert, Kristin Bauer Van Straten, Michelle Forbes, J.R. Martinez, Tinsley Mortimer, Megyn Price, Prince Lorenzo Borghese, Edie McClurg, Tara Harper, Susan Orlean, Chrishaunda Lee Perez, Ashley Rhodes-Courter and Dr. Debbye Turner Bell.

Also honored at the awards was the legendary film and television star Betty White. White received two prestigious awards from American Humane Association, the National Humanitarian Medal and the Legacy Award. The medal is bestowed on those who reflect the charity's core values of compassion, caring and hope. White earned the Legacy Award by dedicating herself to protecting and improving the quality of life for animals.

 Meet the American Hero Dog Award Finalists>>


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