WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, January 16, 2019 — American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, today announced the official start of the 2019 American Humane Hero Dog Awards® campaign, sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and Zoetis Petcare (a U.S. business unit of Zoetis). The annual, year-long campaign seeks to identify and honor America’s bravest heroes on both ends of the leash and will culminate this fall with the premiere of “American Humane Hero Dog Awards” on Hallmark Channel. The two-hour special, now in its ninth year, is broadcast in conjunction with the network’s pet adoption advocacy initiative, Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After, which aims to empty the shelters and end this country’s epidemic of pet homelessness.
Beginning today, dog owners across the country are invited to visit www.herodogawards.org and nominate their heroic hound in one of seven categories. The top dog in each category will be flown to Los Angeles and celebrated at the Oct. 5 star-studded, red-carpet awards gala 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 seven categories for 2019 are: Law Enforcement Dogs, sponsored by K-9 Courage from Zoetis Petcare; Military Dogs, sponsored by K-9 Courage from Zoetis Petcare; Therapy Dogs; Service Dogs, sponsored by Lulu’s Fund; Shelter Dogs; and Search and Rescue Dogs and Guide/Hearing Dogs, both sponsored by Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food. Following the nominations period, which ends on Feb. 28, 21 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 seven category finalists who will then vie for the title of 2019 American Hero Dog.
Over the past eight years, Americans have cast millions of votes for more than 1,000 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 Jay Leno, Billy Crystal, Betty White, Ariel Winter, Rebecca Romijn, Jerry O’Connell, Dean Cain, James Denton, Beth Stern, Katharine McPhee, Alison Sweeney, Whoopi Goldberg, Denise Richards, Lisa Vanderpump, Chelsea Handler, Martin Short, Jewel, Wilson Phillips, Carson Kressley, Miranda Lambert, Pauley Perrette, Kristen Chenoweth, Naomi Judd, Lori Loughlin, Eric Stonestreet, Fred Willard, Danica McKellar, Bailee Madison, and many, many more.
“Every year, hundreds of dogs vie for the coveted title of ‘American Hero Dog’ at the American Humane Hero Dog Awards,” said Robin Ganzert, Ph.D., American Humane’s president and CEO. “Dogs do so many extraordinary things to improve and even save our lives, and this campaign 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 Lois Pope. “We need to recognize their extraordinary achievements and heroism, and I am pleased to serve once again for a ninth 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.”
“The remarkable connections between people and animals have been sources of strength, comfort, and healing, since time immemorial,” said J. Michael McFarland, DVM, DABVP, Executive Director, Zoetis Petcare Marketing. “As an organization dedicated to preserving and supporting those connections, we are proud to serve as the corporate sponsor of the 2019 American Humane Hero Dog Awards.”
“Hallmark Channel is proud to have the American Humane Hero Dog Awards serve as the focal point of our Adoption Ever After initiative,” said Bill Abbott, president and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks. “Adoption Ever After 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 2019 American Humane Hero Dog Awards contest include:
Nominations: Jan. 16 – Feb. 28
1st Round Voting: March 21 – May 2
2nd Round Voting: May 23 – July 18
3rd Round Voting: Aug. 1 – Sept. 9
Hero Dog Awards: Oct. 5
Nominations for 2019 Hero Vet and Hero Vet Nurse Awards Also Open Today
And because behind every hero pet there is a hero veterinarian or veterinary nurse, the Hero Dog Awards once again will feature a second campaign – the American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards™, sponsored by Zoetis Petcare. Starting today and running through Feb. 28, 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 Oct. 5.
More information about the 2019 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 2019 American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse 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 several Lois Pope 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.
On Oct. 5, 2014, Mrs. Pope saw the completion of a decades-long dream – the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, which was dedicated by President Obama in Washington DC. It will stand in perpetuity as a reminder to the public and legislators of the courage and sacrifices of the four million-plus living disabled veterans and all those who died before them, as well as the need to be vigilant in assuring their support and understanding the human cost of war. Through her advocacy, October 5 every year will serve as a National Day of Honor for disabled veterans.
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 88 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” and “Frasier.”
Hallmark Cards, Inc. owns and operates Crown Media Family Networks.
Zoetis 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, genetic tests, biodevices and 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 2017, the company generated annual revenue of $5.3 billion with approximately 9,000 employees. For more information, visit www.zoetis.com.
About Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food
Chicken Soup for the Soul understands the unique relationship between people and pets. Health conscious consumers have been feeding their cats and dogs Chicken Soup for the Soul wholesome and balanced, super premium pet food for over 15 years. Holistic in nature, the entire line of products is made from only the finest ingredients: real meats, fruits, vegetables and herbs. With no added corn, wheat, soy, artificial coloring, flavoring or preservatives, Chicken Soup for the Soul pet food is inspired by your love for pets, and promotes overall health and well-being for dogs and cats. The products are proudly made in the USA, and feature rescued shelter pets on every bag. Core and grain-free formulas and a line of treats are available in independent pet specialty stores nationwide and online.
A portion of all proceeds from the sale of Chicken Soup for the Soul pet food goes to help shelters and pets in need through Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Fill-a-Bowl … Feed-a-Soul™ program. The program, which was launched in association with the American Humane, aims to provide over a million meals to shelter pets annually. www.chickensouppets.com.
About Lulu’s Fund
Lulu’s Fund, which is part of the Timothy T. Day Foundation, was founded in 2012. Named after the Day’s beloved pug Lulu, Lulu’s Fund continues the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to supporting organizations in the animal rescue community throughout the United States. Organizations that receive support from Lulu’s Fund are primarily those that rescue abused, neglected and abandoned dogs. Their focus is to treat existing medical issues, provide spay and neuter services, place dogs in safe foster homes, and ultimately find forever homes for the animals. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.tdayfoundation.org.