Help Choose the Best of Our Best Friends: One Week Left in First Round of Public Voting for 2020 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 30, 2020 – For thousands of years, dogs have protected us, comforted us and given us unconditional love.  We, on the other hand, have only one week to repay the favor by helping choose the best of our best friends to become this year’s 21 semifinalists for the 2020 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®, sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and broadcast as a two-hour special on Hallmark Channel this fall.

More than 400 courageous canines are competing for the honor of being named 2020’s American Hero Dog, the highest honor a dog can receive. Dog lovers across the country are invited to visit and vote once per day for their favorite dogs in each of seven categories. After the first round of voting ends on May 7, 21 semifinalists (the top three in each category) will move on to the second round of voting starting May 28. From this pool, the field will narrow down to the seven category finalists. The winning dog in each category will take part in the nationally televised Hero Dog Awards this fall and this year’s top American Hero Dog will be revealed.

“Our best friends do so much to improve and even save our lives, and every dog owner knows about the extraordinary, unbreakable bond they share with their dog,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane president and CEO. “The American Humane Hero Dog Awards are our way of celebrating the power of the human-animal bond, which has been a core part of our organization’s mission for 143 years.” 

The seven categories for 2020 are: Military Dogs, sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation; Therapy Dogs, sponsored by the World Pet Association; Law Enforcement Dogs; Service Dogs; Shelter Dogs; Search and Rescue Dogs; and, Guide/Hearing Dogs. American Airlines is the official airline of the Hero Dog Awards.

"The Hero Dog Awards recognize some of America’s bravest heroes,” said philanthropist and Platinum Presenting Sponsor Lois Pope. “I am honored to present this invaluable effort to honor the best of our best friends and shine a light on the extraordinary acts of courage and kindness performed by ordinary dogs.”

During the past nine years, Americans have cast millions of votes for more than a thousand 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, Vivica A. Fox, Rebecca Romijn, Alison Sweeney, James Denton, Beth Stern, Bindi Irwin, Derek Hough, Richard Marx, Katharine McPhee, Michelle Beadle, Whoopi Goldberg, Denise Richards, Lisa Vanderpump, Chelsea Handler, Martin Short, Jewel, Wilson Phillips, John Ondrasik, Carson Kressley, Miranda Lambert, Pauley Perrette, Kristen Chenoweth, Naomi Judd, Eric Stonestreet,  Danica McKellar, Bailee Madison and many, many more.

Key dates for the 2020 American Humane Hero Dog Awards (all rounds open and close at 12pm Pacific Time):

  • 1st Round Voting:                                                       April 2 – May 7
  • 2nd Round Voting:                                                     May 28 – July 16
  • 3rd Round Voting:                                                      July 30 – September 10
  • Hero Dog Awards & Broadcast:                               Fall 2020, exact date/time to be announced

All rounds open and close at 12 p.m. Pacific Time.  And because behind every hero pet is a hero vet or veterinary nurse, please be sure to cast a daily vote for your favorites in the 2020 American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards®, sponsored by Zoetis Petcare (a U.S. business unit of Zoetis), starting June 11 right here:

For more information about the 2020 American Humane Hero Dog Awards, and to vote daily, please visit For more information on sponsorship opportunities, email Mari Harner at  or call 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 Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter and to inquire about Hero Dog Awards sponsorship opportunities, please email Mari Harner at

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