For most of us, “all in a day’s work” chiefly involves running out the door somehow already slightly behind schedule, putting in a marathon day at the office, attempting to get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour, and somewhere squeezing in a couple dog walks between the myriad other demands of our day. “Heroic” relates to our attempts at keeping our eyes open past 10 pm. For the inspiring nominees in the second annual Hero Dog Awards, though, their day’s work more accurately reflects the true meaning of the word.
It was for these exceptional canines, dogs that perform exceptional tasks with unwavering dedication, that The American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Awards was created. (Unfortunately, eating dinner really fast does not count or our dogs would be a shoo in.) 2012’s winner was definitely deserved of the title “hero.” From humble beginnings in a Texas pound to his deployment as a Specialized Search Dog in Iraq, Gabe rocked the vote with support from his thousands of fans and strong social media presence. During his impressive career with his handler Charles Shuck by his side, Gabe completed over 210 combat missions, visited wounded troops, and toured schools. Now retired, this heroic canine continues to spread goodwill and promote the importance of staying in school, while demonstrating that there are absolutely amazing dogs sitting in shelters waiting to show you what they’re capable of. Way to go, Gabe. 2013’s Hero Dog has some big shoes to fill. We can’t wait to see who it’s going to be.