Hero Dog Awards on the Hallmark Channel

Hero Dog Awards host Carson Kressley with Cesar spokesdog Darla, and presenter Julianne Hough.

There is a unique tribute to our canine friends coming up on the Hallmark Channel. The family-friendly network and the American Humane Association teamed up to pay homage to the many ways dogs have enriched our lives. And the Hero Dog Awards special, airing Nov. 11, will also put the spotlight on the variety of invaluable services they perform on our behalf, as well as being our best friend.

A nationwide search was made for remarkable dogs in eight different categories: military, guide, service, law enforcement and arson, therapy, hearing, search and rescue, and finally, emerging hero dogs, a category which recognizes ordinary pets that do extraordinary things. Eight outstanding canines were selected and got the red carpet treatment (with their human handlers) when the Hero Dog Awards ceremony was taped at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. It was hosted by Carson Kressley (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy), who took time out from his Dancing with the Stars competition for the special event. The presenters included Betty White, Paula Abdul, Faith Ford, Julianne Hough, Peter Fonda, Michael Vartan, and many more dog lovers helping to give every dog his day.

The inaugural American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards was presented by Cesar® Canine Cuisine and celebrated the special relationship between canine and human. It also recognized extraordinary acts of heroism performed by ordinary dogs. The winner of the top prize of American Hero Dog for 2011 was a guide dog named Roselle, who was honored for having led her blind master down 78 flights of steps at the World Trade Center following the 9/11 attacks. She passed away this past summer but was remembered with the biggest award in an emotional ceremony with her owner, Michael Hingson.

The Hero Dog Awards illustrate something we have known for thousands of years— what dogs do for us far exceeds anything we could ever give them. Paying them homage for their boundless courage and loyal support is not only richly deserved— it’s also the right thing to do for man’s best friend. “As a dog owner and lover, I am delighted to be part of this program,” Kressley says. “It’s a wonderful way to recognized how Hero Dogs are part of our lives every day.”