The eighth annual American Humane Hero Dog Awards, which honor dogs who do extraordinary things, will air at 8 p.m. Wednesday evening on Hallmark Channel.
The seven finalists, who were all selected as the leading Hero Dog in their categories, are:
— K-9 Flash, the finalist in the law enforcement/arson dogs category, was found on the streets on Everett, Washington. and taken to an animal shelter.
Dogs at shelters were being evaluated for a narcotics K-9 course about to begin in September 2005 at the Washington State Patrol Academy. Hunting and retrieving skills were among the attributes sought.
K-9 Flash excelled in all those areas and was included in the class a day before she was to be euthanized.
She excelled in narcotics detection and was the only dog to score 100 percent in her certification and was assigned as the first narcotics K-9 on patrol at the Yakima (Washington) Police Department.
K-9 Flash had over 3,000 deployments in her career with over 2,200 narcotic-related finds and seizures.
She inspired her handler to start a national nonprofit organization to provide for the care of law enforcement dogs following their retirements.
K-9 Flash was the subject for a children’s book and travels to school to inspire children.
— Sgt. Fieldy, the finalist in the military dogs category, is an 11-year-old black Labrador who served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was deployed to Afghanistan to detect roadside bombs. He found several and is credited with saving countless lives.
— Roxy is the service dog for a U.S. Army soldier who was severely injured by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan and now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
The veteran credits the pit bull for helping alert him before the PTSD goes out of control, providing a distraction so he can concentrate on something besides the PTSD and helping him daily with simple life tasks.
— Frances, the finalist in the guide/hearing dogs category, is the guide dog for a woman from the New York City borough of Staten Island who lost her eyesight when she was 32 from a rare complication after battling breast cancer.
The yellow Labrador guides the woman to her daughter’s preschool, doctor’s appointments and extracurricular activities.
— Ruby was the finalist in the search and rescue dogs category for helping find a gravely ill missing teenager whose mother had worked as a volunteer with the Rhode Island State Police dog six years earlier.
— Willow is the finalist in the emerging hero dogs category, which honors ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things. His owners in South Korea turned him over to a slaughterhouse because he was old.
Neglected, with cut ears, matted hair, a mouth of bad teeth and an infected tongue, he was allowed to be rescued because he didn’t offer much meat.
Willow is spreading awareness on social media and in public appearances on a variety of animal welfare topics, including the dog and cat meat trade.
— Chi Chi was left for dead in South Korea then became a therapy dog in Phoenix.
Chi Chi was found in a garbage bag with her legs bound, worn to the bone. She needed to have portions of all four of her legs amputated to save her life.
When Chi Chi arrived at her new home, she was afraid of people. With time and lots of love, she realized she was safe and no one would hurt her again.
People hearing Chi Chi’s story and experiencing her attitude of joy are often inspired to face their challenges with renewed courage and a fresh perspective.
The winner was determined by a combination of votes cast by the public and a panel of judges, which included singer Miranda Lambert; actors Erik Estrada and Carlos PenaVega; actresses Kristin Chenoweth, Bailee Madison, Alexa PenaVega and Danielle Fishel; sportscaster Michelle Beadle; and television personalities Carson Kressley, Lisa Vanderpump and Adrienne Maloof.
Actor James Denton and television personality Beth Stern host the ceremony, which was held at The Beverly Hilton.
The American Humane Hero Dog Awards is part of Hallmark Channel’s extensive pet programming, which also includes the Cat Bowl and Kitten Bowl, which both air on Feb. 2, the day before the Super Bowl, and the American Rescue Dog Show, which airs Feb. 17-18.