Meet the Most Heroic Dogs of 2016
The American Humane Association recently hosted their annual Hero Dog Awards, honoring eight amazing pooches for the brave ways that they have helped the world.
Now it's time for everyone to meet these hero dogs and hear their inspiring stories.
Hooch the French Mastiff won the night's Emerging Hero Award for overcoming astounding odds. When the dog was saved by Marley's Mutts Dog Rescue he was dehydrated, malnourished, missing his tongue and only 35 pounds. Rescuers believe that Hooch's tongue was savagely removed so he could be used as a bait dog in dog fights. Even with this harsh start, Hooch has managed to maintain his trust in people and love for life. He is now hand fed and works as a therapy dog with abused and special needs children.
Judge spends his work days with the Allentown Fire Department in Pennsylvania, where he helps investigate fire scenes. In his career, Judge has worked on 275 fire scenes, finding valuable evidence that has led to numerous arson and insurance fraud arrests. His work has partially led to a 52.7 percent drop in arson fires in the Allentown area. To keep these numbers low, Judge also participates in fire safety programs at local schools and crime watch groups.
LAW ENFORCEMENT DOG
K-9 Edo showed what a hero is made of on January 1, 2016, when he and his human partner, Officer Huynh, were in pursuit of two suspects wanted for robbery and murder. During the pursuit, one of the suspects entered a home with a father and three children and started firing a gun at the innocent family inside. K9-Edo entered the home and engaged the suspect, taking his attention away from the family. While two of the children were shot before K-9 Edo entered, they survived. By taking the suspect's attention away from the family inside the home, K-9 Edo saved their lives.
Gander is creating change across the nation with help from his handler Lon Hodge. The pair has traveled to 36 states so far, raising awareness about PTSD, veteran suicide and the complex world of invisible and visible disabilities. Gander is an example of how service dogs can help with all of these important issues. During their travels, Hodge and his loyal dog raise money for veterans groups and service dog charities. With a portion of these funds the duo sponsored the first service dog education conference in the country.
Along with his Hero Dog Award, Gander also earned the distinction of being the first mixed breed dog to win the American Kennel Club's "Award of Canine Excellence" for his extensive work as a service dog ambassador.
SEARCH AND RESCUE DOG
Kobuk's dedication and keen nose helped to save a 77-year-old woman with diabetes and dementia who went missing in the woods of Maine. On the third day of searching, Kobuk was brought in to help. The certified search and rescue dog was able to pick up the missing woman's scent from a fifth of a mile a way and locate her. Kobuk found her just in time. After 48 hours in the woods with no food, water, medication or protection, the missing woman was near death. Thanks to the dog's quick work, she is safe and has made a full recovery.
Layka took not just one, but four bullets for her team. In 2012, she and her team came under fire at an enemy compound in Afghanistan. Layka was sent in after the attack to look for injured combatants and ended up engaging an enemy, who shot her four times in the shoulder. She was rescued from the building and extracted to Germany for surgery. During the operation, Layka's front leg had to be removed, but she hasn't let the incident slow her down.
Hook is a hearing dog who spends every moment protecting and helping his owner. While under her care, the 12-lb. pup has saved his owner from being hit by an oncoming train she did not hear and from an intruder.
Along with assisting his owner everyday, Hook loves to comfort others. He goes into work each day with his owner, who is a family therapist, and often comforts clients who become emotional during sessions.
At 4 years old, Mango was a homeless dog scheduled for euthanasia because of her paralyzed back legs. Luckily, she was pulled out of the kill shelter system by a rescue, who eventually placed her with a group that pairs disabled veterans with disabled dogs. The program is meant to encourage disabled vets to live a full life by showing them how handicapped dogs overcome their disabilities.
Mango also helps other animals through her program Mango's Freedom Wheels, which helps purchase wheelchairs for pets in need.