The American Humane Hero Dog Awards’ mission is to search out and recognize heroic dogs who have truly gone above and beyond. It’s from among these remarkable canines, including guide dogs, PTSD service dogs, and search & rescue dogs, that one dog is named American Hero Dog. This year, that dog is Chi Chi, a therapy dog who took 2018’s top honour for her extraordinary bravery and good works. This incredible dog survived the worst humankind has to offer and went on to inspire people all over the world to face their challenges with renewed courage.

 Golden Retriever Chi Chi’s story begins in South Korea and is marked by unspeakable cruelty. She was found in a garbage bag, her legs bound, worn to the bone, and already necrotized. She had been left for dead.

Her rescuers quickly realized their only chance to save her was to amputate a portion of all four of her legs. The surgery was successful but the real work—that of rehabilitating her spirit—was to follow.

"All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed. For after all, he was only human. He wasn’t a dog."

 – Charles M Schulz

“When she first arrived at our home, she was afraid of people,” says her adopter, Elizabeth Howell of Phoenix, Arizona. “But with time and lots of love and grace, she realized that she is safe. She forgave and decided to trust people again.”

Chi Chi quickly adapted to her first set of custom prosthetics and now spends her days as a certified Therapy Dog, sharing her joyful self with people of all ages.

Despite the horrors Chi Chi has endured, she has nothing but love for the people she meets. Her sweet temper opens hearts, and her perceptive spirit senses where her love is needed, shares Elizabeth. “When people meet Chi Chi, they are inspired by her courage, perseverance, ability to overcome adversity, and her never-give-up attitude. She exemplifies resilience and forgiveness.”