Ten North Carolina dogs have been nominated for the American Humane Hero Dog Awards. “Every day, dogs in America bring hope and healing to communities across the country,” says Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane. “The Hero Dog Awards recognize the best of our best friends, those who save and change our own lives. By elevating their stories to the national level we can not only thank them for their heroics but spread a message of goodwill and compassion in a world that can often seem like it’s lacking in both.”
Amy Wayman of Charlotte found her service dog, Oliver Queen (Ollie), on Craigslist. “He was feral,” Wayman say of the dog when she went to pick him up. “Filthy, never had a bath, no collar, not neutered, never been to a vet. When I first started working with him he was terrified of humans.” But Wayman says Ollie stuck to her “like Velcro” and showed immediate promise as a service dog. Wayman says Ollie not only alerts her of her personal medical issues, but has also alerted friends and acquaintances of oncoming migraines and seizures. “He now understands about 400 different words and commands and I can speak to him in full sentences,” Wayman says. “He loves to sleep on my head. This dog is my soulmate.”
A native of Statesville, NC, Sky Kale nominated her sporty Golden Retriever, Teddy Bear, who has inspired her dream to start a service dog organization. “The public needs to be informed on the jobs dogs can have and that you can do so much with a dog besides just keeping it as a pet,” Kale says. “They need to learn more about how much service dogs impact their handler, and how to behave around them too. It’s amazing what these dogs do, and they don’t really get paid either.”
Dogs can be nominated in seven categories: Guide/Hearing, Law Enforcement and Detection, Military, Search and Rescue, Service, Shelter and Therapy. Individuals can vote daily in each category until May 6. The category finalists will be honored on the nationwide broadcast on Hallmark Channel this fall, but only one dog will be awarded the 2021 American Hero Dog title.
Visit HeroDogAwards.org for more information or to vote.