WASHINGTON, March 23, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Every dog has its day, and 174 of the nation's bravest dogs are hoping that day will come for them on September 10 at the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards®, presented by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation. These dogs are all competing for the honor of being named 2016's American Hero Dog, the highest honor a dog can receive. But it's now up to America to decide which of those dogs will take home that coveted prize.
Dog lovers across the country are invited to visit www.herodogawards.org and vote once per day for their favorite dogs in each of eight categories. Following the first round of voting, which ends April 27 with the selection of 24 semifinalists (the top three in each category), a second round, featuring a combination of public and celebrity voting, will narrow the field to the eight category finalists. The winning dog in each category will be flown to Los Angeles and celebrated at a red carpet, star-studded awards gala on September 10, when this year's American Hero Dog will be revealed. The sixth annual Hero Dog Awards will air nationwide as a two-hour special on Hallmark Channel this fall.
This year's voting rounds are dedicated to 2015 American Hero Dog Harley, who passed away earlier this week. This one-eyed Chihuahua spent 10 long years enduring abuse in a puppy mill before he was rescued by Rudi and Dan Taylor. Together, the Taylors and Harley rescued hundreds more dogs like Harley from puppy mills, giving them second chances at life.
The eight categories for 2016 are: Law Enforcement Dogs, sponsored by the RIMADYL K-9 Courage Program™ from Zoetis; Military Dogs, also sponsored by the RIMADYL K-9 Courage Program from Zoetis; Arson Dogs, sponsored by State Farm; Therapy Dogs, sponsored by Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food (which is also the Official Pet Food of the 2016 Hero Dog Awards); Service Dogs, sponsored by Modern Dog magazine; Emerging Hero Dogs, a category that pays tribute to ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things, sponsored by Merial, maker of NexGard® (afoxalaner) Chewables; Search and Rescue Dogs; and Guide/Hearing Dogs.
Over the past five years, Americans have cast millions of votes for nearly a thousand dogs, all seeking the coveted title of American Hero Dog. The program reaches more than 1 billion people each year and draws the support and participation of top celebrity dog lovers from all over the world. Hosts, judges, award presenters, and entertainment acts have included Alison Sweeney, Bindi Irwin, Derek Hough, Michelle Beadle, Victoria Stilwell, Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg, Denise Richards, Joey Lawrence, Lisa Vanderpump, Burt Reynolds, Chelsea Handler, Martin Short, Jewel, Wilson Phillips, John Ondrasik, Carson Kressley, Miranda Lambert, Pauley Perrette, Kristen Chenoweth, Naomi Judd, Lori Loughlin, Lea Thompson, Eric Stonestreet, Fred Willard, Danica McKellar, Bailee Madison, and many, many more.
Winners in each category will earn $2,500 for their designated charity partner and the overall winner's charity partner will win an additional $5,000 prize. Each charity partner is dedicated to celebrating the role of working dogs in our lives, and like American Humane Association, celebrates the importance of the human-animal bond.
"Our best friends do so much to improve and even save our lives, and every dog owner knows about the extraordinary, unbreakable bond they share with their dog," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane Association's president and CEO. "The American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards are our way of celebrating the power of the human-animal bond, which has been a core part of our organization's mission for nearly 140 years. This year, we are dedicating this round to our 2015 American Hero Dog Harley, who shared a powerful and unbreakable bond with his rescuers, the Taylors. May the giant spirit of this tiny hero dog live forever in their hearts – and ours."
"The Hero Dog Awards recognize some of America's bravest heroes," said philanthropist and presenting sponsor Lois Pope. "I am honored to have served as the presenting sponsor for this invaluable effort to honor the best in our best friends and shine a light on the extraordinary acts of courage and kindness often performed by ordinary dogs."
"Every year, we have the great honor of highlighting eight new hero dogs, whose stories of bravery, devotion, and unconditional love underscore the power of the human-dog bond," said Bill Abbott, president & CEO, Crown Media Family Networks. "The Hero Dog Awards, a truly inspirational program, not only gives our canine friends the recognition they so deserve, but it shines a spotlight on the incredible range of services they perform on our behalf."
Key dates for the 2016 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards contest include:
- March 23-April 27: Voting to determine 24 semifinalists
- May 11-June 22: Voting to determine the 8 category finalists
- July 6-August 24: Voting to determine 2016's American Hero Dog
- September 10: Sixth annual Hero Dog Awards event in Los Angeles
Nominations for 2016 Hero Vet and Hero Vet Tech Awards Close Next Week
And because behind every hero pet there is a hero veterinarian or veterinary technician, the Hero Dog Awards once again feature a second contest – the American Humane Association Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™, sponsored by Zoetis. Pet owners and animal lovers across America still have a week left to nominate their favorite animal caretakers in these two fields, with each to be honored at the Hero Dog Awards event on September 10. The nomination period for this separate contest closes on March 31.
For more information about the 2016 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards®, and to vote daily in the contest, please visit www.herodogawards.org. For more information about the 2016 American Humane Association Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™, and to nominate a veterinarian or veterinary technician, please visit www.herovetawards.org. For more information on sponsorship opportunities email Mari Harner at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-227-4645.
About American Humane Association
American Humane Association is the country's first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Since 1877, American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting our most vulnerable from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Today we're also leading the way in understanding the human-animal bond and its role in therapy, medicine and society. American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org today.
About Lois Pope, The Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., and LIFE (Leaders in Furthering Education)
As one of America's leading philanthropists, Lois Pope has positively impacted the lives of individuals at the local, national and international levels. She has established three separate organizations dedicated to helping those in need. These organizations are the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., Leaders In Furthering Education (LIFE), and the Disabled Veterans' Life Memorial Foundation. For more than 20 years she has been the driving force behind the Lois Pope LIFE Center at the University of Miami School of Medicine, The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, and a groundbreaking new program with American Humane Association in Palm Beach County. Lois Pope has recently donated two Lois Pope Red Star Rescue Vehicles. Each rescue vehicle is a 50-foot long response unit, complete with a Ford F-350 truck and trailer, which is specifically designed and outfitted to provide an array of animal emergency services and cruelty responses within the region.
Mrs. Pope recently saw the completion of a decade's long dream – the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, which was dedicated by President Obama in Washington, DC on Sunday, October 5, 2014. The Memorial will forever stand as a reminder to the public and legislators of the courage and sacrifices of the four million living disabled veterans and all those who died before them for the need to be vigilant in assuring their support, as well as being aware of the human cost of war.
A mother and a grandmother, Lois has trained for and completed five New York City Marathons.
About Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Channel is Crown Media Family Networks' flagship 24-hour cable television network, distributed nationwide in high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) to 90 million homes. The country's leading destination for quality family entertainment, Hallmark Channel delivers on the 100-year legacy of the Hallmark brand. In addition to its signature original movies, the network features an ambitious lineup of other original content, including scripted primetime series, such as Good Witch and When Calls the Heart; annual specials like Kitten Bowl and Hero Dog Awards and; a daily 2-hour lifestyle show, Home & Family. Additionally, in November 2014, Hallmark Channel became the exclusive home to world premiere presentations of the acclaimed Hallmark Hall of Fame franchise. Dedicated to helping viewers celebrate life's special moments, Hallmark Channel also offers such annual holiday programming events as Countdown to Christmas and Countdown to Valentine's Day. Rounding out the network's diverse slate are television's most beloved sitcoms and series, including The Golden Girls, The Middle, Little House on the Prairie, and Frasier.
Crown Media Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRWN), owns and operates Crown Media Family Networks.
Zoetis (zô-EH-tis) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2015, the company generated annual revenue of $4.8 billion with approximately 9,000 employees. For more information, visit www.zoetis.com.
About State Farm®
The mission of State Farm is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto, home and individual life insurance in the United States. Its 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve more than 82 million policies and accounts – nearly 80 million auto, home, life, health and commercial policies, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 41 on the 2015 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit www.statefarm.com.
About Merial, maker of NexGard® (afoxalaner) Chewables
Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health and well-being of a wide range of animals. Merial employs 6,600 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide with over €2 billion of sales in 2014. Merial has three main business areas: pets, farm animals, and veterinary public health. Our pharmaceuticals and vaccines focus on disease prevention and overall health and wellness in animals, and target more than 200 diseases and conditions across a variety of species.
Merial is a Sanofi company. For more information, please see www.merial.com.
About Modern Dog magazine
Modern Dog magazine is a must-read for dog lovers! Get inspired with the best ideas and solutions for life with dogs. Each issue features cool finds, design, insight into your dog's behaviour, best buys, wellness, rescue, training, fun DIY how-tos, contests and more! Modern Dog is your guide to a better bond with your dog. A large part of Modern Dog's mission is to support rescue and the organizations that work tirelessly to help to dogs in need. www.moderndogmagazine.com
About Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food
Chicken Soup for the Soul products are inspired by your love for pets and the thousands of stories sent in every year about the unique bond between pets and people. Health conscious consumers have been feeding their cats and dogs Chicken Soup for the Soul wholesome and balanced, super premium pet food for over a decade. Holistic in nature, the entire line of products is made from only the finest ingredients: real meats (chicken, turkey, duck and salmon), fruits, vegetables and herbs. With no added corn, wheat, soy, artificial coloring, flavoring or preservatives, Chicken Soup for the Soul pet food promotes overall health and well-being for dogs and cats and is proudly made in the USA. Core and grain-free formulas are available in independent pet specialty stores nationwide and online.
Chicken Soup for the Soul pet food features rescue pets that found their forever homes on every bag. A portion of all proceeds from the sale of Chicken Soup for the Soul pet food goes to help shelters and pets in need.
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SOURCE American Humane Association