Alice, a five-year-old German Shepherd from Nicholasville, Kentucky, has captured the top title of “American Hero Dog” at the 2019 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®.
Alice can be seen receiving her honor during the ninth annual Hero Dogs Awards, which will be broadcast nationally as a two-hour special on Hallmark Channel on Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. Central).
Alice is a service dog from Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs in Florida who was paired with a boy named Antonio after he was shot in the head by a stranger at the age of 9. He spent 18 days in a coma and has endured five brain surgeries. Nearly four years later, an artificial skull covers half of Antonio’s brain because a seizure causing a fall could be fatal. Antonio not only battles seizures, but migraines, balance issues, spells and more.
“Alice is a hero in our eyes, because without her, Antonio would not be able to do the simple things in life that we take for granted,” related Antonio’s mom, Tara. Alice helps Antonio go to, school and even just for walks outside, always alerting about oncoming seizures and assisting with his balance issues.
The star-studded awards, which also honors other heroic canines, is hosted by film star James Denton and model and animal advocate Beth Stern.
Numerous celebrity presenters, include: Kristin Chenoweth (“Wicked,” “The West Wing”), Vivica A. Fox (“Empire”), Sarah Michelle Gellar (“Other People’s Houses”), Jenna Johnson (“Dancing with the Stars”), Ally Maki (“Toy Story 4,” “Dear White People”), Debbie Matenopoulos (“Home & Family”), Cameron Mathison (“Home & Family”), Wendi McLendon-Covey (“The Goldbergs”), Brandon McMillan (“Lucky Dog”), Barbara Niven (“Christmas in Evergreen,” “Chesapeake Shores”), Kris Polaha (“Mystery 101,” “Wonder Woman 1984”), Roselyn Sanchez (“A Taste of Summer,” “Grand Hotel”), Ariel Winter (“Modern Family”), Eric Winter (“A Taste of Summer,” “The Rookie”), Larissa Wohl (“Home & Family”), and Sofia Wylie (“High School Musical: The Musical: The Series”).
The Hero Dog Awards were created to celebrate the powerful relationship between dogs and people and recognize extraordinary acts of heroism performed by ordinary dogs.
The program will air as part of Hallmark Channel’s Pet Project, the network’s cross-platform advocacy campaign designed to celebrate the joy and enrichment animals bring to our lives. During American Humane’s annual “Adopt-a-Dog Month” this October, the organization is teaming up with Hallmark Channel’s “Adoption Ever After” campaign to help get more of the millions of beautiful animals left in shelters each year into forever homes.
The American Hero Dog winner was chosen through a combination of public votes and voting by a panel of animal advocates and celebrity judges, including Prince Lorenzo Borghese, Philippe and Ashlan Gorse Cousteau, Erik Estrada, Danielle Fishel, Maria Goodavage, Carolyn Hennesy, Bailee Madison, Adrienne Maloof, Agent Jerry Means, Laura Nativo, Carlos and Alexa PenaVega, and Amy Purdy.
All Finalists Are Winners
Alice was the one chosen as 2019 American Hero Dog, but all seven finalists were the nation’s top winners in their categories:
2019 Law Enforcement/Arson Hero Dog, category sponsored by Zoetis, makers of Simparica® (sarolaner)
“Dax” from Libertyville, Illinois – Dax began his successful career with the Lake County (IL) Sheriff’s Office almost four years ago. He has been directly responsible for tracking and successfully apprehending over 70 suspects. D
2019 Shelter Hero Dog, category sponsored by Hallmark Channel
“Gus” from Houston, Texas – Gus was found walking aimlessly down a busy street with a severely swollen head. Through his recovery he gained thousands of well-wishers from all over the country and other countries, as well. He brought attention to the plight of homeless animals and how they suffer. His good nature and compliance through all his very difficult procedures and surgeries have given people hope and something to cheer for.
2019 Guide/Hearing Hero Dog, category sponsored by Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food
“Leader Dog Lady” from Hamilton, Michigan – Leader Dog Lady is a guide dog who has changed her human’s life. “Friends and family always ask what Leader Dog Lady and my adventures are going to be,” relates her human. “My life is busy because of Lady. We educate people about Leader Dogs for the Blind, go to Lions Club conventions to promote Leader Dogs for the Blind. We attend big events and fundraisers for this wonderful organization. July will be our four-year anniversary as a team. Leader Dog Lady loves to work and I feel safe crossing busy intersections, getting on a plane, or walking three miles. She goes to work with me and my co-workers love her. There is nothing we can’t do.”
2019 Military Hero Dog, category sponsored by Zoetis, makers of Apoquel® (oclacitinib tablet)
“Sgt. Yeager” from Cary, North Carolina – Sergeant Yeager performed combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Improvised Explosive Detection Dog with the United States Marine Corps. Sgt. Yeager has been credited with detecting the locations of dozens of explosive devices. During his three combat tours, Sgt. Yeager participated in over 100 patrols, and was tasked with clearing routes for his fellow Marines. On April 12, 2012, Sgt. Yeager suffered shrapnel wounds from an IED that caused him to lose part of his ear. He was awarded the Purple Heart for his injuries. Unfortunately, the same explosion took the life of his handler, Lance Corporal Abraham Tarwoe. The pair was virtuously trying to protect the other Marines in the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Fellow Marines attest to the unbreakable bond between Tarwoe and Sgt. Yeager. After the attack, Sgt. Yeager was transported back to the U.S. and treated for his injuries until he was stable enough to retire from the USMC. Lance Corporal Tarwoe’s widow was unable to adopt Sgt. Yeager as she would now be raising their infant son alone. Sgt. Yeager was adopted by another Marine Corps family. Today, at 12 years of age, Sgt. Yeager is beginning to show signs of aging, though his spirit is undiminished. Despite his trials and witnessing acts of terrorism, Yeager remains a sweet dog with an infinitely joyful disposition. He has settled in North Carolina with his family, where he is an ambassador for the Project K-9 Hero Foundation, which pays 100% of his medical bills from his sustained injuries.
2019 Search and Rescue Hero Dog, category sponsored by Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food
“Piglet” from Lancaster, California – Piglet is an eight-year-old Catahoula Leopard Dog, as well as a veteran search and rescue dog. Called to aid in the aftermath of the horrific “Camp Fire” in Paradise, California, this little dog deployed to do all she could to help. Piglet provides a vital service. She assists in locating people on land and in water. Traveling thousands of miles a year does not diminish Piglet’s bubbly personality and happy-go-lucky attitude. In her off hours, she loves making friends. At events she’s always a crowd-pleaser with a wagging tail, signature “smile,” and endless kisses.
2019 Therapy Hero Dog
“Jeanie” from Lake Charles, Lousiana – This three-legged rescue went from being homeless toa certified therapy dog. Jeanie was rescued from a rural area in south Louisiana when she was five months old and was adopted after a deformed front leg was removed by a local vet. Jeanie works for the Children’s Advocacy Center, where she comforts children who are questioned by detectives working on physical and sexual abuse cases, violent crimes, and even homicides. She and her owner volunteer at hospitals, schools, nursing homes, reading programs, and veterans’ homes, where Jeanie bonds with fellow amputees.
About American Humane
American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. For more information, please visit www.americanhumane.org.