As a media sponsor of the American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Awards I
had the honor of attending their star studded inaugural event last Saturday evening, held at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. As
mentioned in my previous blogs on this subject, just 8 dogs out of the 453 nominees
were selected (based on votes) and then those 8 finalists and their handlers
were flown to Los Angeles to attend the ceremony.  The grand prize winner (American Hero Dog), was
Roselle, a courageous yellow lab who calmly guided her blind human down 1,463
steps and out of the burning World Trade Centre, Sept 11, 2001, all the while
dust and debris were falling around and on them. After leaving the WTC, they
travelled up Broadway and were across the street from Tower Two when it
collapsed. With everyone running in panic, Roselle remained focused and calm
and was able to find the entrance to the subway station where she and her handler,
Hingson, could go underground and escape the heavy dust cloud. Hingson says, "All
that day Roselle worked flawlessly. She saved my life and truly is the greatest
dog hero of all. If any dog deserves recognition it is Roselle."

After hearing this recount, along with the stories behind
the other seven finalists, as you can probably imagine, there wasn’t a dry eye
in the gathering.

The aforementioned dog heros were also joined by RIN TIN
TIN, a twelfth-in-line descendant of the original and much beloved canine
celebrity, whom was bestowed with the honour of being the winner and first recipient of the AHA’s Legacy Award.

I’d like to give the AHA full marks for producing a
memorable and incredibly fun evening that included a very humorous MC, the
talented Carson Kressley, along with other celebrities such as Betty White,
Mickey Rooney,  Jillian Michaels, Peter Fonda and Victoria Stilwell, to name but
a few.  

Dogs. Aren’t they amazing! Oftentimes I feel we aren’t
deserving of their loyalty and love, so, in closing, I’d like to quote Robin
Ganzert, President and CEO of the AHA, who expresses my sentiments so succinctly:

"Every day, across America, dogs protect, comfort, and give
their unconditional friendship and affection to the ill, the infirm, the
wounded veteran, and the frightened child. "It was time to recognize the
contributions of man’s best friends and celebrate the heroic feats they have
performed for us every day."

Here are some of my photos from the event that I thought you
might enjoy:

Media line up and jostle for position to get up front for best shots:

Robin Ganzert, AHA’s president and CEO, with Hero Dog host, the hilarious Carson Kressley:

Here’s Ricochet, the surfing Surfice finalist entered in the Emerging Hero category:

This is Stacey Mae, the finalist in the Therapy Dog category, she visits with hospitalized kids and has collected teddy bears and stuffed animals for them. So far she has collected almost 2,000 teddy bears and stuffed
animals from all around the world.

Here’s  RIN TIN
TIN a twelfth-in-line descendant of the original and much beloved canine

People and dogs alike were dressed and coifed to perfection as was this Sheltie charmer!

Here’s MWD Bino C152  with his handler. Bino is the Military Dog finalist and proudly served the 35th MP Detachment at Ft. Gordon as a
Narcotics Detection/Patrol K9 for almost ELEVEN years! Dutch Shepherd
Bino had deployed paws on the hot sands of Iraq for 14 months as well
as serving special missions with the Border Patrol in the war on drugs.

Actress and comedienne Betty White joins host Carson Kressley on stage:

Presentation of the Hero Dog Award: