Has your dog ever done anything heroic? While some dogs may just be pretending to be Superman this Halloween, many dogs are the real deal (minus the super powers, of course). But a dog doesn’t need to have super powers to do extraordinary things. Dogs and cats do amazing things every day, not for praise or personal gain but out of pure unconditional love for their humans. “Every day, across America, dogs protect, comfort, and give their unconditional friendship and affection to the ill, the infirm, the wounded veteran, and the frightened child,” said Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of American Humane Association. “It was time to recognize the contributions of man’s best friends and celebrate the heroic feats they have performed for us every day.
The American Humane Association did a six month search where hundreds of dogs from all 50 states were nominated for the title of American Hero Dog of 2011. The American public cast 400,000 votes (mine included) along with the consideration by a panel of VIP judges to announce a winner on October 1st.
Roselle, the 9/11 Guide Dog was named this year’s American Hero Dog. She is recognized for her heroism in guiding her blind master safely down 78 flights of stairs following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
So what does it mean to be named American Hero of 2011? Although Roselle passed away early this year, she was honored at the world’s first American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™, presented by Cesar® Canine Cuisine, with her master, Michael Hingson, and guide dog Africa. This award ceremony is “a new ambitious effort to celebrate the powerful relationship between dogs and people – and to recognize extraordinary acts of heroism performed by ordinary dogs,” says the American Humane Association. In addition to Roselle, seven other finalist and their handlers where flown out to Los Angeles for the award ceremony. Among the finalist is local Californian, Ricochet, from Escondido. Ricochet is honored for his work surfing with special needs kids and people with disabilities for therapeutic purposes. Each finalist received $5,000 to be donated to one of American Humane Association’s charity partners and Roselle won an additional $10,000 for Guide Dogs for the Blind.
You have a chance to give your dog recognition for his or her heroism too! A TV special broadcast of this event will be aired on the Hallmark Channel on November 11th at 8 p.m. EST. If you donate a gift of $100 to the American Humane Association you can get your pet listed in the end-credits of the TV special. To get your dog’s name in lights, check out this site to donate to American Humane Association. In addition, for every Facebook “Like”, Cesar® Canine Cuisine will donate $1 to American Humane Association to help spread the love of therapy dogs.
If you would like more information about Roselle and her amazing story, check out these articles:
A man and his guide dog – a 9/11 survival story
Death of an American Hero – Roselle The 9/11 Guide Dog
For more information on all the finalists, visit the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards website.