by Annie Chiappetta
True heroes are those who don’t identify with being one; they perform extraordinarily under pressure or attain great things despite tremendous odds. Many of us know not just human heroes but also canine heroes.
One such canine, Shara, an elkhound, is a dog who has been nationally recognized for her efforts. This year, the American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Awards presented Shara and her partner, Chris Church-Diciccio, top honors in the National Guide and Hearing Dog Division.
Thanks to them, GDUI was presented with a $2,500 donation for being chosen as the team’s charity partner. GDUI has been registered with the Hero Dog Awards since 2012, but this is the first time the affiliate has received a charity partner donation.
GDUI president Penny Reeder says, “GDUI is grateful to Chris Church, and, of course her hearing dog partner, Shara, for naming our organization to receive the cash prize that accompanies the award. We expect to pay Ms. Church’s generosity forward as we use the funds she and the American Humane Association have awarded GDUI to advocate for the rights and well-being of guide dog users across the country.”
According to the association, “The American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™ are an annual, national competition that searches out and recognizes America’s Hero Dogs – often ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things, whether it’s saving lives on the battlefield, lending sight or hearing to a human companion, or simply providing the tail-wagging welcome a pet owner relishes at the end of a hard day. Dogs compete in eight categories for the Hero Dog Awards: Law Enforcement Dogs, Arson Dogs, Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Military Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs, Guide and Hearing Dogs, and Emerging Hero Dogs (the category for ‘ordinary’ dogs who do extraordinary things). The Hero Dog Awards celebrate the powerful, age-old bond between dogs and people – and give recognition to courageous acts of heroism performed by our four-legged best friends. After more than one and a half million votes by the American public nationwide, winners in each category are flown to Hollywood with their human friends to attend the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™ gala in Los Angeles. There they walk the red carpet, are recognized in video tributes, receive their Hero Dog category award statue and are in the running to become the year's top American Hero Dog.”
For more information on the AHA’s Hero Dog Awards, visitwww.herodogawards.org/.