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Calling All Dogs! Nominations Open Today For The 2017 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®

National campaign honoring courageous canines and their handlers back for seventh year; Winners to be honored at red carpet awards gala broadcast in two-hour special on Hallmark Channel

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, January 25, 2017 — American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, today announced the official start of the 2017 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®, sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and broadcast in the fall as a two-hour special on Hallmark Channel. The annual, year-long campaign seeks to identify and honor America’s bravest heroes on both ends of the leash. Beginning on January 25th, dog owners across the country are invited to visit www.herodogawards.org and nominate their heroic hound in one of eight categories. The top dog in each category will be flown to Los Angeles and celebrated at the September 16th star-studded, red-carpet awards gala hosted by Beth Stern and James Denton at the Beverly Hilton. One of the category winners will be unveiled as the American Hero Dog of the year – the most prestigious honor a canine can receive.

The eight categories for 2017 are: Law Enforcement Dogs, sponsored by the K-9 Courage Program™ from Zoetis; Military Dogs, sponsored by the K-9 Courage Program from Zoetis and the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation; Therapy Dogs; Service Dogs, sponsored by Modern Dog magazine; Emerging Hero Dogs, a category that pays tribute to ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things; Arson Dogs; Search and Rescue Dogs; and Guide/Hearing Dogs. Following the nominations period, which ends on March 8th, two dozen semifinalists (the top three in each category) will be chosen in a first round of voting by celebrity judges and the public. The second round, featuring a combination of public and celebrity voting, will narrow the field to eight category finalists who will then vie for the title of 2017 American Hero Dog.

Over the past six years, Americans have cast millions of votes for more than a thousand dogs, all seeking the coveted title of American Hero Dog. The program reaches more than 1 billion people each year and draws the support and participation of top celebrity dog lovers from all over the world. Hosts, judges, award presenters, and entertainment acts have included Katharine McPhee, Alison Sweeney, Victoria Stilwell, Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg, Denise Richards, Joey Lawrence, Lisa Vanderpump, Mickey Rooney, Burt Reynolds, Chelsea Handler, Martin Short, Jewel, Wilson Phillips, John Ondrasik, Carson Kressley, Miranda Lambert, Pauley Perrette, Kristen Chenoweth, Naomi Judd, Lori Loughlin, Lea Thompson, Eric Stonestreet, Fred Willard, Danica McKellar, Bailee Madison, and many, many more.

Winners in each category will earn $2,500 for a designated charity partner and the overall winner’s charity partner will win an additional $5,000. Each charity partner is dedicated to celebrating the role of working dogs in our lives, and like American Humane, celebrates the importance of the human-animal bond.

“Every year, hundreds of dogs vie for the coveted title of ‘American Hero Dog’ at the American Humane Hero Dog Awards,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane’s president and CEO. “Dogs do so many extraordinary things to improve and even save our lives, and this contest is our way of saluting our best friends.”

“For thousands of years, dogs have protected us, comforted us in times of need, and selflessly saved the lives of those around them,” said Mrs. Pope. “We need to recognize their extraordinary achievements and heroism, and I am pleased to serve once again for the sixth year as the platinum presenting sponsor for the American Humane Hero Dog Awards. I wish all our remarkable nominees luck and look forward to reading their stories of valor and courage.”

“Hallmark Channel is proud to have the American Humane Hero Dog Awards serve as the focal point of our Pet Project,” said Bill Abbott, the President and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks. “The Pet Project is our on- and off-air advocacy and awareness initiative designed to celebrate the joy pets bring to our lives, shine a spotlight on the wonderful animals in shelters across the country, and promote adoption.”

Key dates for the 2017 American Humane Hero Dog Awards contest include:

  • Nominations: January 25 – March 8
  • 1st Round Voting: March 29 – May 3
  • 2nd Round Voting: May 17 – June 28
  • 3rd Round Voting: July 12 – August 30
  • American Humane Hero Dog Awards event in Los Angeles – September 16

Nominations for 2017 Hero Vet and Hero Vet Tech Awards to Open February 2

And because behind every hero pet there is a hero veterinarian or veterinary technician, the Hero Dog Awards once again will feature a second campaign – the American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™, sponsored by Zoetis. Starting February 2 at 12pm Pacific Time, pet owners and animal lovers across America will be invited to nominate their favorite animal caretakers in these two fields, with each to be honored at the Hero Dog Awards event on September 16.

More information about the 2017 American Humane Hero Dog Awards, including complete contest rules and entry information, can be obtained by visiting www.herodogawards.org. For more information about the 2017 American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards, please visit www.herovetawards.org. More information on sponsorship opportunities can be had by emailing Mari Harner at [email protected]  or by calling 1-800-227-4645.

About American Humane

American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. For more information, please visit www.americanhumane.org. To inquire about Hero Dog Awards sponsorship opportunities, please email Mari Harner at [email protected].

About Lois Pope, The Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., and LIFE (Leaders in Furthering Education)

As one of America’s leading philanthropists, Lois Pope has positively impacted the lives of individuals at the local, national and international levels.  She has established three separate organizations dedicated to helping those in need.  These organizations are the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., Leaders In Furthering Education (LIFE), and the Disabled Veterans’ Life Memorial Foundation.  For more than 20 years she has been the driving force behind the Lois Pope LIFE Center at the University of Miami School of Medicine, The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, and a groundbreaking new program with American Humane in Palm Beach County. Lois Pope has recently donated two Lois Pope Red Star Rescue Vehicles. Each rescue vehicle is a 50-foot long response unit, complete with a Ford F-350 truck and trailer, which is specifically designed and outfitted to provide an array of animal emergency services and cruelty responses within the region.

Mrs. Pope recently saw the completion of a decade’s long dream – the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, which was dedicated by President Obama in Washington, DC on Sunday, October 5, 2014. The Memorial will forever stand as a reminder to the public and legislators of the courage and sacrifices of the four million living disabled veterans and all those who died before them for the need to be vigilant in assuring their support, as well as being aware of the human cost of war.

A mother and a grandmother, Lois has trained for and completed five New York City Marathons.

About Hallmark Channel

Hallmark Channel is Crown Media Family Networks’ flagship 24-hour cable television network, distributed nationwide in high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) to 89 million homes.  As the country’s leading destination for quality family entertainment, Hallmark Channel delivers on the 100-year legacy of the Hallmark brand.  In addition to its signature new, original movies, the network features an ambitious lineup of other new, original content, including scripted primetime series, such as “Good Witch,” “When Calls the Heart” and “Chesapeake Shores”; annual specials including “Kitten Bowl” and “Hero Dog Awards”; and a daily, two-hour lifestyle show, “Home & Family.”  Additionally, Hallmark Channel is the exclusive home to world premiere presentations of the acclaimed Hallmark Hall of Fame franchise.  Dedicated to helping viewers celebrate life’s special moments, Hallmark Channel also offers annual holiday programming franchises, including “Countdown to Christmas,” “Countdown to Valentine’s Day,” “Summer Nights,” “Fall Harvest” and “Winterfest.”  Rounding out the network’s diverse slate are some of television’s most beloved comedies and series, including “The Golden Girls,” “The Middle,” “Last Man Standing,” and “Frasier.”

Hallmark Cards, Inc. owns and operates Crown Media Family Networks.

For more information, please visit www.crownmediapress.com

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About Zoetis

Zoetis (zô-EH-tis) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2015, the company generated annual revenue of $4.8 billion with approximately 9,000 employees. For more information, visit www.zoetis.com.

About Modern Dog magazine

Modern Dog — “the best dog magazine ever” and the #1 dog publication in North America — is a must-read for dog lovers. Your source for the best ideas and solutions for life with dogs, Modern Dog features training tips, insight into your dog’s behavior, the best gear, wellness, rescue, DIY how-tos, contests and more! A large part of Modern Dog’s mission is to support rescue and the organizations that work tirelessly to help dogs in need. Find Modern Dog online — www.moderndogmagazine.com — on newsstands across North America, and on all major social platforms. Modern Dog, your guide to a better bond with your dog!

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