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2011 FINALISTS: AMERICAN HUMANE ASSOCIATION HERO DOG AWARDS

Law Enforcement/Arson Dog — Sadie
Westminster, Colo.

A nationally certified accelerant detection K-9, Sadie works in the Major Crimes Unit of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. She has worked approximately 400 fires, and has assisted in cases resulting in numerous arrests, including high-profile arson/homicide cases where her nose has detected critical evidence for collection and prosecution. She has never lost in court. Sadie has worked in extreme environments (high-rise buildings, collapsing structures, snow-covered mountains) and never missed a call to duty. She has an incredibly friendly demeanor and conducts approximately 50 demonstrations a year to promote fire safety and fire prevention. Sadie is truly an ambassador for all working dogs, and I am humbled to be her partner.


Watch Sadie's story >>


Service Dog — Zurich
Des Plaines, Ill.


Zurich, a Canine Companions for Independence certified service dog, was partnered with Patricia Kennedy in 2004. Patti has some challenges, but together they find ways to make things work. Zurich has learned to retrieve everything, even the neighbor’s TV remote control! Patti and Zurich’s experience together has extended and enriched both of their lives. Patti has been surviving now six years beyond the best medical opinions. She knows their time together may be limited, but she also knows that no one is here forever — it is how you live it that counts. Patti can no longer walk or speak, but she believes Zurich is the hero who magically makes tomorrow come again.

Watch Zurich's Story >>

Therapy Dog — Stacey Mae
Guffey, Colo.


Stacey Mae is a 4-year-old greater Swiss mountain dog who delivers teddy bears and stuffed animals for kids in the hospital and adults in a nursing home. So far, she has received and distributed almost 2,000 teddy bears and stuffed animals from all around the world. She visits the nursing home 2-3 times a week with her family, as well as passing out baked goods. She has helped brighten the lives of those who are often forgotten about. It’s hard to say goodbye, but knowing you were there to brighten their lives makes it a bit easier. Stacey is going to continue her community service work for as long as she can. She loves helping those who are in need.

Watch Stacey Mae's Story >>

Military Dog — MWD Bino C152
Las Cruces, N.M.


Dutch shepherd Bino served the U.S. Army’s 35th Military Police Detachment at Ft. Gordon, Ga., as a Narcotics Detection/Patrol K-9 for almost 11 years. He deployed in Iraq for 14 months, as well as serving special missions with the Border Patrol in the war on drugs. Upon retirement, Bino learned a new skill set as a post-traumatic stress disorder Demo Service Dog. He and his handler go on numerous weekly “training missions” to teach Ft. Bliss, Texas, Wounded Warriors and their dog partners the do’s and don’ts of public-access training. Bino shows them how to navigate without distraction or panic attacks in grocery stores, busy malls, on elevators/escalators, and through airport security. He is a true example of a tirelessly serving K-9 hero who never quits giving.

Watch Bino's Story >>


Guide Dog — Roselle
Novato, Calif.


On Sept. 11, 2001, my guide dog (for the blind), Roselle, and I were working in the World Trade Center on the 78th floor of Tower One when the airplane crashed into our building. From the outset, Roselle guided and did her job perfectly, as we went to the stairwell and traveled down 1,463 stairs. After leaving the building, we were across the street from Tower Two when it collapsed. Despite the dust and chaos, Roselle remained calm and totally focused on her job, as debris fell around us and even hit us. We found a subway entrance, where we could escape the heavy dust. All that day, Roselle worked flawlessly. She saved my life and truly is the greatest dog hero of all. 



Roselle was named the top American Hero Dog at the
2011 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™. 

Watch Roselle's Story >>



Search and Rescue Dog — Sage
Hagerman, N.M.


K-9 Sage is 12 years old and has served her community and her nation heroically her entire life.

She passed the FEMA Canine Readiness Evaluation at 18 months and was called to the Pentagon as part of New Mexico Task Force 1 in the recovery efforts following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Sage’s missions have included Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, searching for missing or captured U.S. soldiers in Iraq (for the U.S. Army), and numerous local missing-person searches. In 2009, Sage was diagnosed with two types of lung cancer, believed to be the result of searching several highly toxic sites. Her newest mission is inspiring cancer patients and survivors. She is the children’s hero at a cancer camp, showing that their illness doesn’t have to dampen their fun-loving spirits. And she walks energetically alongside cancer survivors at “Relay for Life” events.

Watch Sage's Story >>

Hearing Dog — Harley
Fountain Hills, Ariz.


Harley became my hearing dog when I was 52 and had been severely hearing-impaired all my life. I had limped through school and my adult life, hearing very little of what was said around me. When Harley arrived, his sound work showed me how much I had missed all my life. He taught me that I’d never spent time just thinking — reflecting, contemplating — because I’d always been working so hard listening for sounds. Oh, the thinking I can do now! Finally, Harley has given me self-confidence and a feeling of equality with others that I’d not experienced before. All of these gifts are priceless to me, but to imagine they came from a dog is almost unfathomable!



Watch Harley's Story >>



Emerging Hero Dog — Ricochet
Escondido, Calif.


Ricochet was slated to be a service dog, but her natural instinct to chase birds caused her to be released from that role. However, she was destined to serve in another way. Ricochet surfs with special needs kids and people with disabilities for therapeutic purposes. As a surfing dog, she has inspired people all over the world, encouraging them to be who they truly are, focus on what they can do, and turn negatives into positives. A video of her journey “From Service Dog to SURFice Dog” on YouTube went viral with 3.3 million views. She has raised more than $100,000 for a number of human and animal causes and has helped inspire many people.



Watch Ricochet's Story >>

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