Who won at the 2020 Hero Dog Awards?
The 2020 Hero Dog Awards, put on each year by American Humane, aired on the Hallmark Channel on Monday night, October 19.
This was the 10th annual Hero Dog Awards, and the show was hosted by Carson Kressley (Queer Eye, Dancing with the Stars).
As philanthropist Jean Shafiroff told us prior to the event, “It’s a really uplifting thing – people love animals, people love dogs, and to read about some of these dogs and what they’ve done is simply extraordinary.”
Shafiroff was the national ambassador for the American Humane Feeding the Hungry COVID-19 program, which raises money for shelters to be able to feed the animals in their care as the pandemic continues to hang around.
Over a million votes were cast to determine the seven group winners, which are….
2020 Guide and Hearing Dog of the Year
Aura the Labrador from Brunswick, Maine, is the 2020 Hero Dog Awards’ Guide and Hearing Dog of the Year. Her caretaker is deaf following a tour of duty in Afghanistan, so Aura serves as their ears and remains a devoted partner.
2020 Law Enforcement Dog of the Year
Cody the German Shepherd, from Newport News, Virginia, is the 2020 Hero Dog Awards’ Law Enforcement Dog of the Year. She originally worked at the US Embassy in Iraq before spending time working at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, and since moving to Virginia she was worked in a variety of roles, including LPGA tournaments and NBA games.
2020 Military Dog of the Year
Blue II from Lawrenceville, Georgia, won the 2020 Hero Dog Awards’ Military Dog of the Year category. She served as a bomb-detection dog in Afghanistan and Okinawa, Japan, retiring in 2018 to live with her original handler. For more on how military dogs are trained, see our interview with dog trainer Jeff Franklin.
2020 Search and Rescue Dog of the Year
Remington from Montgomery, Yexas, claimed the 2020 Hero Dog Awards’ Search and Rescue Dog of the Year. He has also survived a battle with cancer, who recently retired from a long career of rescue work, including following Hurricane Harvey, due to a cancerous tumor. He also worked on cold cases and found missing people, and now teaches fire safety with several local fire departments.
2020 Service Dog of the Year presented by Lulu’s Fund
Dolly Pawton, a black Labrador Retriever from Naples, Maine, is the Service Dog of the Year at the 2020 Hero Dog Awards.. Her care (training as a cardiac arrest alert dog, though she also helps with anxiety and PTSD) inspired her caretaker to write and illustrate a picture book about her, and they travel to schools in the area to educate children about service dogs.
Also, how can you not love the name Dolly Pawton? As much of our staff are big country music fans, this is just the best.
2020 Shelter Dog of the Year
MacKenzie, who looks to be a Chihuahua from Hilton, New York, is the winner of the Shelter Dog category. She was a rescue dog born with a cleft palate who has grown to become an adult for other animals with special needs, including squirrels, ducks and Great Dane puppies. Though she cannot bark audibly, she teaches her charges how to take care of themselves and become loving animals, while demonstrating to humans the impawtance of compassion and philanthropy.
2020 Therapy Dog of the Year presented by the World Pet Association
The Therapy Dog of the Year winner was Olive, a rescue dog from Jefferson City, Missouri. She was rescued in LA by Brandon McMillian of the CBS TV show Lucky Dog, and since 2016, Olive has worked as a comfort dog for children involved in courtroom trials, who often have been neglected or abused. She is certified by Therapy Dogs International, and makes sure the children feel safe in the courtroom.
2020 Hero Dog
The winner of the 2020 Hero Dog Award turned out to be MacKenzie.
Congratulations to all the group winners and their owners/handlers/caretakers.