Voters Nationwide Choose Local Canine Hero as Finalist in 2018 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®
Final Voting Open Now for Nation’s American Hero Dog of the Year
Sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and Zoetis Petcare, yearlong contest to culminate in red carpet awards gala and two-hour special on Hallmark Channel
“Willow” from Las Vegas, Nevada has won the distinction of being the nation’s top emerging hero dog of the year is now among the seven remarkable canines to have been named finalists in the 2018 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®.
America has spoken and following nearly a million votes cast by animal lovers across the country and a celebrity panel of dog lovers and experts, “Willow” from Las Vegas, Nevada has won the distinction of being the nation’s top emerging hero dog of the year is now among the seven remarkable canines to have been named finalists in the 2018 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®. The awards gala, sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and Zoetis Petcare, will broadcast as a two-hour special on Hallmark Channel this fall.
These heroic canines each took top honors in their individual categories from a field of 266 nominees and now a combination of America’s voters and a panel of celebrity judges will determine which dog will be named the 2018 American Hero Dog. The public is invited to submit one vote per day through September 5 at www.herodogawards.org. The seven finalists will be flown to Los Angeles to take part in the star-studded Hero Dog Awards gala on September 29 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The seven category winners for 2018 are:
- EMERGING HERO DOG OF THE YEAR: “Willow” from Las Vegas, Nevada
- LAW ENFORCEMENT/ARSON DOG OF THE YEAR: “K-9 Flash” from Detroit, Michigan
- GUIDE/HEARING DOG OF THE YEAR: “Frances” from Staten Island, New York
- MILITARY DOG OF THE YEAR: “Sgt. Fieldy” from McAllen, Texas
- SEARCH AND RESCUE DOG OF THE YEAR: “Ruby” from East Greenwich, Rhode Island
- SERVICE DOG OF THE YEAR: “Roxy” from Canton, North Carolina
- THERAPY DOG OF THE YEAR: “Chi Chi” from Phoenix, Arizona
Over the past eight years, more than 8 million votes have been cast for more than a thousand dogs 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.
“The American Humane Hero Dog Awards celebrate the tremendously important roles dogs play in our lives,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane president and CEO. “The American public and our special judging panel now have an extraordinarily tough task ahead of them in determining who our top dog will be because all are worthy winners.”
“It is an honor to support an effort to recognize the best of our ‘best friends,’” said philanthropist Lois Pope, who has been the awards’ presenting sponsor for seven years. “From those who defend our country to those who help us heal, guide us, protect us, and help find the lost, every single contender exemplifies the courage and heroism we seek to spotlight in the Hero Dog Awards campaign. Through this national forum we have helped educate America about the lifesaving, life-affirming work of our nation’s canine heroes.”
“So many of our animals are heroes to us in ways both big and small. We at Zoetis Petcare understand this and join American Humane in recognizing and celebrating the remarkable ways in which these special dogs improve – and often even save – lives,” said J. Michael McFarland, DVM, DABVP, Executive Director, Zoetis Petcare Marketing. “We are proud to be the Corporate Sponsor for the Hero Dog Awards and, through our K-9 Courage Program, to also sponsor the Law Enforcement/Arson Dog and Military Dog categories for this important effort to strengthen and unleash the powerful bond between people and animals.”
Below please find additional information about the Hero Dog Awards finalist from Las Vegas, NV, as told by the dog’s owner/handler.
Emerging Hero Dogs category
Willow (Las Vegas, NV) – Willow is a survivor of the South Korean dog meat trade. His owners turned him in to the slaughterhouse because he was old. Neglected, with cut ears, matted hair, a mouth of bad teeth and an infected tongue, he was allowed to be rescued because he “didn’t offer much meat.” He was one of the lucky ones. Arriving in September of 2016, Willow is spreading awareness on social media and making public appearances to educate people on animal welfare topics (including the dog and cat meat trade) through non-traumatic and non-graphic ways, and presenting resources to help more of his four-legged friends. Willow travels internationally in foamboard form and poses with trade survivors. His campaign, “I Am Willow, I Am Not Food” raises flight funds for dogs. He is the mascot for a newly created Animal Rights Club at a local school, helping students advocate for change in the classroom and aiding their school in becoming the first vegan option cafeteria in the State. We are developing educational tools to use in an animal welfare speaking series for schools and conferences. He is also getting therapy dog certification to spread awareness to disabled children through animal-related books/reading programs. Willow is a voice and inspirational leader for millions of animals, not just those subjected to the dog and cat meat trade. People listen, learn and respond to Willow. He is a vehicle for raising awareness. Willow is an EMERGING HERO who will grow that status into something that makes a lifelong paw print in the animal welfare world.
For more information about the 2018 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®, and to vote daily in the contest, please visit www.herodogawards.org. For more information on sponsorship opportunities email Mari Harner at [email protected] or call 1-800-227-4645.
About American Humane
American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. For more information, please visit www.americanhumane.org.