American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards - 2014 Finalists

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Service Dogs Category - JJ Krawczyk

JJ Krawczyk
Category: Service Dogs
Location: Apex, NC
Charity Partner: Eyes Ears Nose & Paws

Once a shelter dog, this small hero was rescued, trained, and partnered with a young girl suffering from a rare condition known as Mastocytosis, which can cause severe reactions for her. This dog with the gifted nose can detect when reactions are about to occur, alerting the girl’s parents that her life might be in danger. When she needed surgery recently, doctors requested the dog be present in the operating room to help keep the girl alive.

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Military Dogs Category - Chaney

Category: Military Dogs Category
Location: Waverly, IA
Charity Partner: America’s VetDogs

This eight-year-old lab retired from the Marines in 2013 after multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as an IED detection dog. While deployed, Chaney not only saved countless lives by locating IEDs, he also served as a great morale booster for everyone in his squad. Since retiring, Chaney was adopted by one of his handlers and they now spend many hours volunteering around the Midwest for a nonprofit organization called Retrieving Freedom, Inc., which trains service dogs for disabled veterans and children with autism.

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Emerging Hero Dogs Category - Xena

Category: Emerging Hero Dogs
Location: Johns Creek, GA
Charity Partner: Sheltie Rescue of Utah

This pit bull was knocking on death’s door when she was brought into a Georgia shelter outside Atlanta. Emaciated and dehydrated, she was given just a one percent chance at survival. Unbelievably, she defied the odds, made a full recovery and was adopted by a family with a little boy with autism. Before, the child had closed himself off to the world, but the arrival of Xena sparked something in the child, and now he went from once silent to constantly singing to and chatting with Xena the Warrior Puppy.

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Search and Rescue Dogs Category - Bretagne

Category: Search and Rescue Dogs
Location: Cypress, TX
Charity Partner: Penn Vet Working Dog Center

Over her long career, Bretagne has made a significant contribution to the search and rescue community through her many deployments including the World Trade Center after 9/11, the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, and Hurricane Rita in 2005. She now continues as an ambassador for search and rescue dogs as she visits elementary schools where she helps first graders learn to read.

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Arson Dogs Category - Kai

Arson Dogs
San Antonio, TX
Charity Partner:
Project Paws Alive
The San Antonio Fire Department’s six-year-old black Lab was rescued from a shelter and given a second chance. Now she helps keep others safe by investigating arson cases. In her four-year career she has taken part in more than 200 investigations and helps educate children on fire safety.

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Law Enforcement Dogs Category - Kota

Category: Law Enforcement Dogs
Location: Winchester, VA
Charity Partner: K9s4COPs

A member of the Winchester, Virginia police force, this dog was injured by an eight-foot fall while responding to a burglary in progress. Undeterred, he helped his fellow officers finish the call, fighting with a severely fractured limb to ensure their safety.

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Guide/Hearing Dogs Category - XXon

Category: Guide/Hearing Dogs
Location: Bloomfield, CT
Charity Partner: Fidelco

In January 2010, an explosion in Kandahar, Afghanistan left Air Force Sergeant Michael Malarsie blind and killed four of his fellow servicemen, including his best friend. Though he lost his sight, Sgt. Malarsie was soon partnered with XXon, and they became the only active duty guide dog team in the Air Force. Now retired, Sgt. Malarsie continues to work with XXon every day as the dog helps get him safely to wherever he needs to be.

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Therapy Dogs Category - Susie

Category: Therapy Dogs
Location: High Point, NC
Charity Partner: Paws & Effect

A puppy that was set on fire and a woman who suffered a brutal dog attack became a dedicated team that eventually changed North Carolina animal-cruelty laws. Susie the Pit Bull mix began life with terror and pain when she was beaten, burned, and abandoned. Susie and her owner both triumphed over pain and fear to become voices for abused animals that have no voice. They visit hospitals, schools, and nursing homes to inspire people never to give up.