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May 14, 2009

Pick Your Hero

The human species has a special kinship with domesticated dogs, and their unwavering faithfulness is part of the explanation. Couple this loyalty with intuition and determination and tremendous athletic abilities, and you get what we’ve come to know at The HSUS as a Dog of Valor. Once again, we are honoring dogs who have heroically stepped up when their help was needed most with our Second Annual Dogs of Valor Awards.

Baby, one of 15 HSUS Dogs of Valor finalists
© Tom Hindman/The Charleston Daily Mail
Baby, one of 15 Dogs of Valor finalists. Choose a favorite >>

This year’s nominees include not only dogs who saved the lives of their caretakers, but dogs who moved beyond that familiar bond and came to the aid of a stranger. Even more touching, many of this year’s nominees joined their homes as rescue dogs—showing that giving a dog a second chance often provides a second chance for us, as well.

After poring over remarkable stories from across the country, our staff has narrowed the field to the top 15 finalists. The stories are full of amazing adventures—ordinary dogs performing extraordinary acts of heroism. This year’s finalists ran through flames, flung themselves into treacherous waters, signaled for help in response to medical emergencies, and searched for help when all hope was lost. Many put their own lives in danger in the process.

We’ve asked a panel of celebrity judges—including Benji, Ron Burns, Randy Pobst and Judge David Young—to choose the Valor Dog of the Year and three runner-ups. But you can also have a say in this year’s winners, helping to pick the People’s Hero.

Before 5 p.m. ET this Friday, May 15, be sure to read about our finalists and vote for the one dog who you think is the most extraordinary. As a bonus, we’ll randomly select one voter to receive a signed, limited edition giclée by HSUS Artist in Residence Ron Burns. Then on May 17 we’ll announce all of the Dogs of Valor winners at humanesociety.org/dogsofvalor.

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