Finalists vie for American Hero Dog title

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American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards presented by Cesar

After hundreds of nominations and weeks of voting, the eight finalists for the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards were announced in August.

Hero Dog Awards is a national event recognizing the bond between dogs and people and celebrating the extraordinary achievements of individual dogs while educating the public about responsible dog care.

As two of several charity partners, the AVMA and American Veterinary Medical Foundation have a chance to receive a share of $50,000 in grants awarded by the AHA to support their work.

The AHA Hero Dog Awards finalists are as follows: Sadie, a certified accelerant detection dog who works with the Major Crimes Unit of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation; Zurich, a certified service dog who has enriched the life of his sick partner; Stacey Mae, the therapy dog who has helped collect thousands of teddy bears for sick children in hospitals; Bino, who has served as a narcotics detection and patrol dog for almost 11 years; Roselle, the guide dog who calmly directed her handler down more than 1,400 stairs at the World Trade Center on 9/11; Sage, the search-and-rescue dog who provided closure to many families of the missing; Harley, the hearing dog who has given his owner self-confidence and a feeling of equality that she had not experienced before; and Ricochet, the dog who surfs with special needs kids and people with disabilities for therapeutic purposes.

The public and an all-star panel of judges and animal care experts will choose the Grand Prize Winner from among the eight finalists. The judging period will conclude Sept. 30.

The winner will be announced Oct. 1 at the first AHA Hero Dog Awards celebrity gala in Los Angeles. The Hero Dog Awards will be broadcast on the Hallmark Channel on Veteran's Day, Nov. 11.

See photos of the finalists and learn more about each of them and the contest at