American Humane Association’s


The final nominees for the 2015 Hero Dog Awards have been announced! This Thankful Thursday, we would like to celebrate all these Heroes.

AHA Hero Dog poster

If you are in the USA, help honor heroes on both ends of the leash by voting.

The last round of voting will remain open until September 7th at 12pm Eastern Time. 

The Final Award Show will be broadcast on the Hallmark Channel on October 30th, 2015.

Hero Dog Award Categories

The annual American Humane Association Awards recognize America’s Hero Dogs – often ordinary dogs doing extraordinary things, whether it’s saving lives, finding lost friends, lending sight or hearing to a human companion, or making the lives of children better.

There are eight categories of Hero Dog Awards: Law Enforcement & Arson Dogs; Service Dogs; Therapy Dogs; Military Dogs; Guide Dogs; Search and Rescue Dogs; Hearing Dogs; and Emerging Hero Dogs (the category for ordinary dogs).

Check out our previous post recognizing the nominated therapy dogs

The 8 Finalists:


Category: Emerging Hero Dog

Charity Partner: New Leash on Life


Harley spent 10 years living in a small cage in a puppy mill before he was rescued and brought into his forever home. His journey inspired a campaign called “Harley to the Rescue”, which has raised funds to save and provide medical care for more than 500 puppy mill dog over the past two years. As a spokes-dog against puppy mills, Harley is a voice for the thousands of breeding dogs still living in puppy mills. He makes public appearances at events and schools, educating thousands of people, of all ages, about the horrors of the commercial dog breeding industry. Check out our ‘Say No To Puppy Mills Post”.

This little dog has overcome so much from his years of neglect and abuse. A diseased heart, a mouth filled with rot, a fused spine, a broken tail, gnarled toes, legs that were deformed and a missing eye.  Winning the “Emerging Hero” award will help further his mission.

Join us in promoting awareness. We featured Harley in our #RescuesRock Campaign. Remember, Adopt Don’t Shop, especially at Pet Stores and Always Say NO to Puppy Mills.

You can purchase one of his ‘Hops and Harley’ t-shirt’s today! All proceeds go to National Mill Dog Rescue to help save more dogs like Teddy and Harley. Order here:

Visit Harley on Facebook HERE 

 Hudson the Railroad Puppy

Category: Therapy Dogs

Charity Partner: Hand in Paw

Hudson - Nash Picture

In 2012, at just three weeks old, Hudson and his two siblings were found intentionally nailed to railroad tracks near Albany NY. The puppies were severely dehydrated and malnourished, and each had horrific injuries to their back paws. The railroad workers brought the puppies to the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society where they received veterinary care.

TH Hudson 3

After lifesaving treatment for Hudson and Pearl, they became known as the “Railroad Puppies” (sadly, Carina did not make it). Several surgeries later, Hudson became one of the first dogs in New York to be fitted with a prosthetic paw.

Hudson was later adopted.  His loving new family recognized that he could do great things as a therapy dog and to spread awareness about animal cruelty. Today he volunteers at schools, hospitals, adult day care facilities and hospices, visiting with patients and their families. His hope is to teach the children and everyone we meet that just because you’re different, you are still special in your own “Wooftastic” way. Hudson brings smiles to everyone he meets.

Hudson certainly brought a smile to our faces when we met him at Animal Advocacy Day last year with Bocker Labradoodle. What a sweetie.

Say hi to Hudson on his Facebook page.


Category: Law Enforcement Dogs

Charity Partner: K9s4COPS

Dax sits in front of police car

July 2, 2013, Officer Chris Alberini and his K9 partner, Dax, answered a call to investigate a suspect who had a suspended driver’s license and an active arrest warrant. Upon entering the attic where the man was hiding, Jax was murdered.  He saved Officer Chris Alberini from being shot when he climbed into the attic. Jax died in the line of duty, protecting his partner and is a true hero.


Category: Guide/ Hearing Dogs

Charity Partner: Guide Dog Users Inc.

Chara the hero dog in the snow

Chara was originally trained as a signal service dog for her hearing-impaired owner. Her owner had an accident in 2008 because of Myoclonus-dystonia, a movement disorder she suffers from. Chara then taught herself to predict impending attacks from this disorder 15-45 minutes prior to episodes. If that wasn’t amazing enough, just two weeks after her handler gave birth to her son, he developed a severe cold. One night, unbeknownst to his mom, he stopped breathing. Chara alerted that something was terribly wrong. Thanks to her quick response and dedication, the boy was saved.

Chara has gone beyond her original taught skills to repeatedly save lives.  She embodies the human-animal bond.


Category: Military Dogs

Charity Partner: America’s Vet Dogs, the Veterans K9 Corp

Rambo the hero dog at grave site

Sgt. Rambo served in the Marine Corps from January 2011 to April 2012 as an explosive detection MWD based out of MCCS Cherry Point, N.C. While on active duty, Rambo conducted 994 hours of training, and 622 missions on base and in his local community. In November 2012 Rambo was medically retired due to a left shoulder injury. He later had the leg amputated.

Rambo is a true war hero.  He is the Alamo Honor Flight’s mascot, accompanying countless WWII veterans to Washington, D.C. ; the official ambassador for the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act and also the mascot for Gizmo’s Gift, a Texas nonprofit that financially supports families who adopt a retired working dog.

Rambo visits local nursing homes where he brings love and life to the residents who suffer from dementia. He visits youth groups during the summer, and brings hope to children with special needs.

Rambo is a hero who is able to cross many lines and bring unity to animal welfare, human rights, and military and veteran groups, all because of his loving personality. By winning this award he can continue breaking down boundaries, and help bring awareness to Gizmo’s Gift and their supported heroes.


Category: Search and Rescue Dogs

Charity Partner: National Search Dog Alliance

Glory the hero dog on a search

Glory is an eight-year-old Bloodhound who is a trained and certified search and rescue dog for lost pets. Alongside her handler, she puts in countless hours searching for fellow pets in extreme temperatures and under difficult conditions.  Through her long and successful career, she has helped bring closure to hundreds of families.


Category: Service Dogs

Charity Partner: Dogs on Deployment

axel the hero dog poses with  Captain Jason Haag

After returning home from two combat tours in the Middle East, Captain Jason Haag (USMC, Ret.) was diagnosed with PTSD and traumatic brain injury. He struggled with alcohol abuse and took more than 30 medications to deal with his debilitating symptoms.

In 2012 he reached out to K9s for Warriors, where he met his lifesaver, a specialty trained German Shepherd named Axel.

Day in and day out, he’s by Jason’s side, ensuring that he’s in a constant state of peace and not panic.

“When I met Axel, he was one week away from being put down, sleeping on a shelter floor. And I was sleeping in my basement with a gun under my pillow. Now I share a bed with a big and furry security blanket.” – Captain Jason Haag (USMC, Ret.)

More Info About the wonderful K9s For Warrior in our interview HERE


Category: Arson Dogs

Charity Partner: Project Paws Alive, Inc.

Glory the hero dog on an arson mission

Glory is a certified accelerant detection canine. She is trained to sniff out minute traces of hydrocarbon based accelerants which helps combat the growing problem of intentionally set fires. Her presence on the team saves hours of labour as her keen sense of smell can confirm or rule out the possibility of arson within minutes.

She also lends a loving paw to firefighters and paramedics who are having a rough day.

Public education is a substantial part of Glory’s job. Glory and her handler visit schools, clubs, and organizations, talking about fire safety, fire prevention and arson awareness.

American Humane Association

The mission of the American Humane Association is to ensure the welfare, wellness and well-being of children and animals, and to unleash the full potential of the bond between humans and animals to the mutual benefit of both.

Read other cool stories from the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop hosted by Pepismartdog Thursday Barks and Bytes Blog Hop hosted by Heart Like A Dog and 2 Brown Dawgs. We also joined  Thoughtless Thursday  Hosted By Ruckus the Eskie and co-hosts Love is being owned by a Husky and M.K Clinton

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  • Those are impressive finalists. Thanks so much for sharing on the hop.

  • Are you saying we can only vote for ONE of these dogs? OMG How could you possibly choose? They are all heroes to me.

    Thank you for joining the blog hop.

    • Profile photo of Talent Hounds

      I know. We are particularly close with Hudson and Harley as they were both in our doc series and are rescue therapy dogs making a difference. But we feel every one of the nominees deserves honouring. It’s incredible what these smart, brave, loving dogs can do for humans and other pets.