PR Newswire - Every dog has his day, and on Friday the 13th twenty-four lucky dogs advanced to the semifinals of the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards, the annual celebration of the country's most courageous canines.
Actually luck had nothing to do with it. More than one million votes were cast by the American public in just the first round, narrowing the field from the 135 original contenders. Voting for the final eight by the public and a special celebrity panel begins today and runs through June 30 at www.herodogawards.org.
Presented by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, and carried to more than 1 billion people around the world by thousands of media, the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards seek to identify and recognize America's Hero Dogs – ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things, whether it's saving lives, lending a comforting paw when we're sick, or just welcoming us home at the end of a hard day.
Hero dogs across the country have been nominated in eight categories: Law Enforcement Dogs, Military Dogs, Arson Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs, Guide/Hearing Dogs, Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs, and Emerging Hero Dogs (for ordinary dogs that do extraordinary things).
Each of the eight finalists and their handlers will be flown to Hollywood to take part in the Hero Dog Awards gala at the Beverly Hilton hotel on Saturday, September 27, to be broadcast nationally on the Hallmark Channel in the fall. There they will walk the red carpet, conduct VIP interviews, and attend the star-studded awards show and black-tie gala where the winning 2014 American Hero Dog will be chosen.
Each of the eight finalists will win $1,500 for their chosen charity selected from the contest's list of 15 charity partners. The top winner will win an additional $5,000 for their charity partner.
"All of these dogs are heroes," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane Association president and CEO. "But in the end only one will take home the title of 2014 American Hero Dog. We call on all dog lovers to repay the good works of our best friends by helping choose and honor America's most courageous canines."
"These dogs bring us hope, love, and often life-saving care," said philanthropist and Hero Dog Awards supporter Lois Pope. "Each and every one of these brave animals is a hero in my book. I look forward to seeing and meeting America's final eight choices in September as we search for our newest American Hero Dog."
You can see photos and stories of all 24 semifinalists, and vote at www.herodogawards.org