Meet the American Hero Dog Awards Finalists

Among a celebrity studded crowd, the dogs are the real stars at the Annual Hero Dog Awards.

By | Posted: October 26, 2014, 11 a.m. PST

Many dogs are heroes to their owners and communities showing bravery, compassion and support when it's needed most. There's a reason that they are known as "man's best friend."  The American Hero Dog Awards, brings awareness and recognition to the amazing impact dogs have on our lives on a daily basis. 

American Hero Dog Awards
Susie, the 2014 Top Hero Dog  

This year’s 4th Annual Hero Dog Awards hosted by Terry Bradshaw and Beth Stern, took place in September, but will air on the Hallmark Channel on October 30 at 8 p.m. EST.

Canines from all over the country are nominated for being a hero in one of eight categories. After being selected through online voting, 8 semi-finalists move on to a panel of judges and then are voted on by the public again, until one is named American Top Hero Dog. Each finalist receives an award for their feats of loyalty, bravery, and love, and wins $1,500 for a selected charity partner, but the top dog takes home an additional $5,000 for their charity.

Susie, the finalist in the Therapy Dog category, took home the top prize this year to her charity, Paws and Effect. Susie was abused and set on fire, but after recovering was adopted by a woman who had been brutally attacked by a dog. Susie, who works with owner to fight for stronger animal-cruelty laws, is a strong reminder that forgiveness and grace are the greatest gifts.

While Susie’s story is an amazing one, the other finalists were winners in their categories, and we salute them for their heroism, compassion and dedicated service.

Arson Dogs Category
Kai, Labrador Retriever
The six-year-old rescue dogs courage and commitment resulted led her to the San Antonio Fire Department where she has assisted in more than 200 arson cases. Kai also lends a paw to helping educate children on fire safety.

American Hero Dog Awards 

Emerging Hero Dogs Category
Xena the Warrior Puppy, Mixed Breed
Adopted in March 2013, Xena proved to be a hero for an Autistic 8-year-old boy who needed her. After Xena jumped into his life, the little boy, Johnny, began talking and singing to her non-stop. Now a happy chatterbox at home, Johnny thrives in Xena’s company. Read more about the pair here>>


American Hero Dog Awards


Military Dogs Category
Chaney, Labrador Retriever
An eight-year-old veteran, Chaney retired from the Marines in 2013, after multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as an IED detection dog. Chaney not only saved countless lives locating IEDs in the front-lines, he also boosted moral. He now helps educate others about what service dogs can do for veterans. 



American Hero Dog Awards


Law Enforcement Dogs Category 
Kota, German Shephard
Injured by an eight-foot fall while responding to a burglary, Kota continued to help fellow officers of the Winchester, VA police force, helping to ensure their safety on the scene. Officers were amazed to see Kota had crawled back up the stairs and were moved by his devotion and loyalty to his handler, and the other officers.



American Hero Dog Awards


Search & Rescue Category
Bretagne, Golden Retriever
Serving as a Search and Rescue dog at the World Trade Center on 9/11, the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, and Hurricane Rita, Bretagne has made significant contributions to the community. However, was is her talents as an ambassador of Search and Rescue Dogs that stood out. Although Bretagne retired in 2008, she continues to serve through education in schools. 


American Hero Dog Awards


Service Dogs Category
JJ, Maltese
Trained and paired with KK Krawczyk, who suffers from a rare condition known as Mastocytosis, JJ uses her keen sense of smell to detect reactions related to the condition and alert KK’s parents when a reaction is about to occur. In December, KK needed surgery and the doctors requested JJ to be in the operating room to help keep the young girl alive.


American Hero Dog Awards


Guide/Hearing Dogs Category
XXon, German Shepherd 
Sgt. Michael Malarsie was blinded and severely wounded by a powerful IED that killed four team members in Afghanistan. XXon provides increased freedom and independence for Michael and his family and has allowed Michael to return to work as the only blind Airman serving active duty in the Air Force. 


American Hero Dog Awards

To learn more about the American Hero Dog Awards, visit

Meet Last Year's Hero Dog>> 


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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

10/27/2014 3:42:17 AM

This just shows how truly faithful and smart dogs are and that there attachment and bonding to humans is increditable.

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