Dogs are not only mankind's best friend, but often our bravest friend. To prove this, 169 courageous canines are competing for the honor of being named 2015's American Hero Dog in this year's American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™, presented by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation. One hundred and eight-five heroic hounds who have gone above and beyond to protect and love their country, their handlers and their owners have been nominated to become this year's top dog. 

Beginning today, dog lovers across the country are invited to visit and vote once per day for their favorites in each of eight categories. Following the first round of voting, which ends May 15 with the selection of 24 semifinalists (the top three in each category), a second round, featuring a combination of public and celebrity voting, will narrow the field to the eight category finalists. The winning dog in each category will be flown to Los Angeles and celebrated at a red carpet, star-studded awards gala onSeptember 19th, when this year's American Hero Dog will be revealed. The fifth annual Hero Dog Awards will air nationwide as a two-hour special on Hallmark Channel this fall.

The eight categories for 2015 are: Military Dogs, sponsored by the Zoetis Rimadyl K-9 Courage Program; Arson Dogs, sponsored by State Farm; Service Dogs, sponsored by Modern Dog magazine; Law Enforcement Dogs; Search and Rescue Dogs;Guide/Hearing DogsTherapy Dogs; and Emerging Hero Dogs, a category that pays tribute to ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things. Zoetis is the official online sponsor for the competition.

Over the past four years, millions of Americans have cast votes for nearly a thousand dogs, all seeking the coveted title of American Hero Dog. The program reaches more than 1 billion people each year and draws the support and participation of top celebrity dog lovers from all over the world. Hosts, judges, award presenters, and entertainment acts have included Victoria StilwellBetty White, Whoopi Goldberg, Pauley PerretteBeth SternJames DentonJoey Lawrence, Lisa Vanderpump, Mickey RooneyBurt Reynolds,Chelsea HandlerDenise RichardsMartin Short, Jewel, Wilson PhillipsJohn OndrasikCarson KressleyMiranda LambertKristen ChenowethNaomi JuddLou WegnerBailee Madison, and many, many more.

The top dog in each category will win $2,500 for a designated charity partner and the overall winner's charity partner will win an additional $5,000 for their chosen charity. Each partner is dedicated to celebrating the role of dogs in our lives, and like American Humane Association, focuses on the importance of the human-animal bond.

"The American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards were designed to spotlight the invaluable accomplishments of dogs everywhere," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane Association's president and CEO. "Dogs enrich our lives, protect our soldiers, keep us safe and loved, and to recognize them and their accomplishments once a year is the least we can do."

"I am thrilled to sponsor the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards for the fourth year in a row," said Lois Pope. "My respect and honor for the animals who serve as heroes, including our military dogs on the first line of defense, knows no bounds. I want to ensure that they are reunited with the men and women they served with on the battlefield, protecting our freedom. All animals are heroes to someone and every animal deserves a loving home; my goal is to ensure that each and every one receives one." 

Key dates for the 2015 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™ contest include:

  • March 9-May 15: Voting to determine 24 semifinalists
  • May 25-June 26: Voting to determine the 8 category finalists
  • July 4-September 7: Voting to determine 2015's American Hero Dog
  • September 19: Fifth annual American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards event in Los Angeles

And Behind Every Hero Pet is a Hero Vet (or Vet Tech)

And because behind every hero pet there is a hero veterinarian or veterinary technician, the Hero Dog Awards will feature a second contest – the American Humane Association Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™, sponsored by Zoetis. Pet owners across America are invited to nominate their favorite animal caretakers in these two fields at, with each to be honored at the Hero Dog Awards gala. The nomination period for this separate contest closes on March 13.

More information on sponsorship opportunities can be had by emailing Paul Raybould at or by calling 1-800-227-4645.