"Hero Dogs on the Hill: A Celebration of Working Dogs in Our Lives," hosted by the new congressional Humane Bond Caucus, featured the eight winners of the 2015 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards.
Congress and the American public met these heroic hounds for the first time, including:
- 2015 American Hero Dog and Emerging Hero Dog of the Year Harley, who spent 10 years in a puppy mill before being rescued.
- Arson Dog of the Year Glory who investigates deadly arson fires and helps put criminals behind bars.
- Guide/Hearing Dog of the Year Chara, who trained herself to detect her handler's impending myoclonic dystonic attacks.
- Law Enforcement Dog of the Year Dax, who saved the life of police Sgt. Chris Alberini.
- Military Dog of the Year Rambo, who conducted 622 searches and had a limb amputated.
- Search and Rescue Dog of the Year Glory, the only certified S&R dog to track pets.
- Service Dog of the Year Axel, who helps his handler Marine Capt. Jason Haag cope with the hidden wounds of war.
- Therapy Dog of the Year Hudson the Railroad Puppy, who was severely abused but now works to comfort the young, the sick and the aged.
And because behind every hero pet is a hero vet or hero vet tech, the event also proudly featured the winners of the 2015 American Humane Association Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards. Dr. Annette Sysel and Julie Carlson talked about their important work to help animals in need.
Earlier this summer, Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL-12) and Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) founded and launched the new Humane Bond Caucus, which is devoted to bringing a common-sense, scientific and rational dialogue to the issues surrounding the physical, emotional and even medical connections between humans and animals.
"The mission of this caucus is to strengthen the humane bond between people and animals in working environments, our homes, hospitals, educational settings, the wild and agriculture," said Congressman Bilirakis. "The bond with animals has defined humanity for thousands of years. Today's event on Capitol Hill showed why it's so important to celebrate this bond."
"I want to thank all who came out today to support humankind's best friends and hear the stories of some remarkable American hero dogs who have protected our troops and comforted our veterans, children and the elderly," said Congressman Cuellar. "It's important that we celebrate and honor these hero dogs for all the work they do to keep us safe."
"We are very grateful to Congressman Bilirakis and Congressman Cuellar for championing the power of the humane bond on Capitol Hill," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane Association's president and CEO. “American Humane Association is so proud that you founded the Humane Bond Caucus this year, and we will fully support you along the way."
The American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards are presented by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and will be broadcast nationally on Hallmark Channel on October 30 at 8 pm ET/PT, 7pm Central. The awards will also be available digitally to subscribers via www.HallmarkChannel.com.