American Humane organizes the Hero Dog Awards every year, and this year's finalists are true examples of canine courage.
From an explosives detection dog fighting for freedom in the Middle East to a pit bull born into the fighting ring, American Humane recognized dogs of all breeds and abilities to be honored during the 7th Annual American Humane Hero Dog Awards.
The public voted on 187 dogs who were entered into the competition based on their unique experiences and resiliency. These are dogs that save lives, track down criminals, raise money for charity, and inspire others.
On Saturday, the seven finalists of their respective categories were treated to an elegant night of celebration at the awards gala in Los Angeles, California. The event was complete with a walk down the red carpet while dogs and their handlers mingled with celebrities and animal advocates.
Each finalist was awarded $2,500 for a designated charity partner, and the top dog went home with an additional $5,000 to put toward their cause.
There is no exact definition of a "hero," but the 2017 American Hero Dog and overall winner of the competition was voted to be the epitome of strength, compassion, and endurance. This year, that top honor went to an emerging hero pit bull named Abigail.
Found as a stray in Miami, Abigail has scars over her entire body. When she was brought to a rescue center, her face was bloody where the skin was torn down to her eardrum. She suffered from multiple infections from her horrific injuries and deep puncture wounds, had anemia, and was infested with fleas.
Experts believe she was a victim of dog fighting and was left to die when she lost her usefulness as a bait dog. Abigail needed numerous surgeries and skin grafts before her rescuers knew whether or not she'd survive from being in the dog-fighting ring.
With ONLY TWO days left WE want to show you this picture.......Abigail was RESCUED by Love is Fur Ever Dog Rescue on...
As she recovered from her ear operation, Abigail's team of veterinarians had to wrap her head with gauze, and the end result looked like a medical bonnet. Her unorthodox head pieces gave her confidence she'd never shown before.
Her rescuers started the Facebook page, Bonnets For Abigail, and as Abigail's story spread people from around the country started sending Abigail handmade bonnets. With 20,000 followers, Abigail's platform is now used to advocate for former fighting dogs while teaching forgiveness and compassion for all rescue dogs. Abigail's winnings will be donated to her chosen charity, Dogs on Deployment, as they both work toward ending breed discrimination against pit bulls and pit bull mixes.
Sharing the stage with Abigail were six other finalists who stood out in their own dog category. Whether they're on the battlefield protecting American soldiers as military dogs, advocating for anti-bullying, taking down bad guys with fellow law enforcement, or providing a helping paw at home as therapy dogs or service dogs, American Humane is proud to support their causes while recognizing their service to others.
Do you know a hero dog? Let us know in the comments below.
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