October 29, 2016
NEW YORK — The human nearly lost his life to drug and alcohol addiction. The dog, well, he nearly lost his life to humans.
A French mastiff named Hooch, rescued by Zach Skow in Tehachapi, California, is the 2016 American Humane organization's Hero Dog of the Year, bestowed in a Beverly Hills ceremony taped in September and broadcast Friday on the Hallmark Channel.
Hooch, among eight canine finalists, wore his best tuxedo collar, though he was reluctant to join Skow on stage.
Hosted by James Denton and Beth Stern, and featuring Dave Foley, Kym Johnson, Robert Herjavec, Marilu Henner and Greg Louganis, among other celebrities, this is the sixth year for the awards.
The other seven finalists for Hero Dog, all honored for their service, are:
• Law enforcement: Edo, a K-9 superstar with the Los Angeles Police Department, and handler Nhut Huynh. Edo, a Belgian malinois, was the first sent into a house where a shootout was underway. He pulled the armed man away from his weapon.
• Search and rescue: Kobuk, a German shepherd, and handler Elizabeth Fossett in York, Maine. He sniffed out an elderly woman with diabetes and dementia after she wandered off from a cabin in the wilderness.
• Service: Gander, a labradoodle rescue, and handler Lon Hodge. Hodge is an Army veteran in Great Lakes, Illinois, who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and was once homebound for months at a time. The two are inseparable and travel the country helping others with disabilities. "Thank you for saving my life," Hodge told his beloved Gander on the show.
• Military: Layka, another Belgian malinois, and trainer/veteran Julian McDonald in Galena, Kansas. The dog lost a leg when she took fire while McDonald's Ranger unit was assaulting an enemy compound in Afghanistan. McDonald and his family adopted Layka.
• Arson: Judge and handler Lee Laubach Jr., fire chief in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Judge is a yellow Labrador who has worked more than 275 fire scenes and has found evidence leading to multiple arrests and civil penalties for insurance fraud.
• Hearing: Hook, a 12-pound, 10-year-old Chihuahua mix, and handler Joyce Herman. Herman, from Sacramento, California, is a hearing-impaired marriage and family therapist. He pulled Herman off some light train tracks as a train approached and once chased away a prowler in her office waiting room.
• Therapy: Mango, a paralyzed Cairn terrier rescue, and handler Judy Walter, a veteran in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Both dog and human had broken their backs. Mango uses a canine wheelchair to get around. "I healed her and she healed me," said Walter, who now routinely visits disabled vets with Mango.
read more here