A True Hero

A True Hero
Hooch has all the markers of a true hero


At first blush, Hooch, a French Mastiff with badly cropped ears, a broken tail, and, shockingly, no tongue, might not seem the usual Hero Dog Award winner, but he’s the brightest dog-spirit you’ll ever encounter.

Zach Skow of California-based Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue was alerted to Hooch’s predicament by a shelter in Bakersfield, CA. The poor dog would neither eat nor drink, instead aggressively thrashing his food and water bowls around. By the time he was pulled from the shelter, he was starving, dehydrated, and severely malnourished. Never suspecting a missing tongue, the underweight Mastiff was brought in for surgery, his behaviour thought to perhaps be the result of a broken jaw. That’s when the gruesome discovery was made—his tongue had been removed at the base, likely in an attempt to prime him for a bait-dog role in a dog-fighting ring.

But this tenacious dog doesn’t let adversity stand in his way—no ma’am. After Hooch would repeatedly rip out his feeding tube, it was discovered he could easily be hand-fed. He tips his head back, Zach places a handful of food in the back of Hooch’s throat, and gravity does the rest! Now this survivor helps others in need, working in Marley’s Mutts "Miracle Mutts" division as a therapy dog, helping autistic, abused, and special needs children. We can think of a dog no more deserving of this year’s American Humane Hero Dog Award. With his bravery, perseverance, patience, and kindness, Hooch has all the markers of a true hero.

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