Xena the Warrior Puppy: Survivor and Best Friend

Every year the American Humane Society hosts the "Hero Dog Awards" Ceremony to recognize and award dogs in 8 different classes: “Law Enforcement Dogs; Arson Dogs; Service Dogs; Therapy Dogs; Military Dogs; Guide & Hearing Dogs; Search and Rescue Dogs; and Emerging Hero Dogs (for ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things or are just heroes to us)”. There are 24 semi finalists and one will be crowned as the American Hero Dog of 2014.


This year Trupanion is the "Emerging Hero Dog" Category's Sponsor and a very special dog has won this title. Her name is Xena and she is a warrior in more ways than one.


Xena was found on September 15 2012 by a rescue group, “Friends of DeKalb Animals” in DeKalb County Georgia, extremely emaciated and showing signs of severe abuse. “I’ve been doing rescue probably for about 12 years, and I had never seen a dog that young in that sort of condition,” said Chrissy Kaczynski, an animal rescue worker. Xena was about 4 months old, weighed about 5.6 lbs and was declared a Staffordshire Terrier mix that had most likely been caged, neglected, and starved to a point of near death. Had she not been found, that is exactly what would've happened.


The animal rescue group started a Facebook page to show Xena's amazing journey of recovery and that is where Linda Hickey first heard of this amazing dog. "I fell in love with a dog on the Internet," she told Today. The mother of two, residing in Georgia, took her family to a fundraiser in November of 2012 to meet Xena and decided to adopt her after seeing her son Jonny interact with her. “We were literally there for four minutes, and Xena ran right up to Jonny and my husband,” Linda said. “I already loved this dog, and after I met her, I really loved this dog.”



On March 25 2013, Xena was adopted by the Hickey family. Jonny is autistic and before Xena came into his life he was closed off and silent but since she's come into his life he is full of life, singing and talking to his best friend Xena all the time.  “Jonny has a very limited vocabulary…but since Xena came into our home, Jonny has not stopped talking. He talks to her all the way home from school, during homework and afterwards he plays with her until dinner.” Linda Hickey stated. “He is the happiest child that I’ve ever seen him be in eight years.”


It is truly amazing that this puppy overcame all odds and just so happened to be adopted by the perfect family and was able to help Jonny come out of his shell. A puppy that was left for dead is now an 8 year old boy's best friend and reason for having brighter days. This just goes to show that animals do in fact change our lives in positive ways. Hopefully sharing this message will show those who put down dogs, especially Pit Bull type breeds, will think twice before casting judgement.



Watch the video below for more information!

This video was produced by the ASPCA and was debuted at the Awards Ceremony on Nov. 21 2013....Xena! ASPCA Dog of the Year!



Make sure to tune in to the Hallmark Channel on October 30th at 8pm EST to watch the 2014 American Hero Dog be crowned. (We hope Xena wins!)




May the dogs be with you,

 photo laurad_zpsa4868a52.png

Nitro the Hero American Staff

This Amazing Pit Bull Story comes from Frankie Piccone and is about his wonderful dog Nitro
an American Staffordshire Terrier and his beloved son of 13yrs, may his sweet soul RIP.

It was Frankie’s first time owning this breed, having only had Golden Retrievers, Labradors and a German Sheppard but Nitro was by far the smartest of them all. At not even 4 months, Nitro was trained with just hand commands and basic words but by the 5th month he was doing tricks, climbing trees, jumping over 6 ft walls and following everything and anything he was commanded to do. Frankie taught him to be friendly and non aggressive, to walk by his right side without a leash and to not cross the street without a hand gesture. He was well behaved off leash and Frankie never had to worry about him chasing after any dog, cat, squirrel, or other animal. Nitro was so trained to listen to Frankie’s commands that even when a friend of his tossed a steak into the street and told him to get it, Nitro didn’t budge until Frankie gave him the gesture. By the 7th month Nitro was being trained to guard and protect and knew a trigger word, “tijerras”, which means scissors in Spanish and was only to be used for defense.

The story begins one night when Frankie, who worked with a professional drag racing team at the time, got back home to New York City from the NHRA circuit event in Texas and took Nitro out in his not so great neighborhood for a walk. Nitro was in the bushes taking care of business when out of the nowhere a man sneaks up behind Frankie with a gun to his back and tells him to give him all of his belongings. As Frankie reaches for his wallet, Nitro jumps out of the bushes and bites the man’s hand causing him to drop the gun. The man tries to grab the gun with his free hand so Frankie yells the trigger word “tijerras” and Nitro starts biting down harder as Frankie proceeds to kick the mugger. The man starts yelling and just a few minutes later a squad car pulls up. One of the neighbor’s must have called due to the screaming. The cop draws his gun out and says that he’s going to shoot the dog so Frankie stops kicking the man and commands Nitro to release him. Nitro releases the mugger and Frankie grabs him so the cop won’t shoot his dog. The cop is scared and asks where the leash is all the while the mugger is inching closer to where the gun was in the bushes. Frankie screams to the cop that the mugger is trying to reach for the gun he just tried to rob him with as another squad car pulls up. This time a woman cop draws her gun out and points it at Frankie screaming for him to get on the ground and release Nitro. Frankie doesn’t want Nitro to get shot so he lays on top of him covering him from open fire while the mugger gets cuffed. The cops then come over to Frankie wanting to detain him as well and still pointing their guns at him and Nitro. He explains what just transpired and after an id check they release him and tell him what a great dog he has and that he is brave for protecting his dog because had he not, Nitro would’ve been shot.

Now Frankie is very good friends with those officers and it’s been over 9 years since that incident happened. Nitro has always left a great first impression with anyone that he has met. He saved Frankie’s life 3 times at gun point in NYC, he just wishes he could have returned the favor as cancer got the best of Nitro. Frankie misses him dearly as he is the son he never had. Nitro was honestly loved by many people in this country and has touched many hearts. Frankie knows he’s in a far better place now and is looking for places to take Frankie when they finally reunite.

“RIP my beloved son daddy truly misses you.”- Frankie Piccone

It is stories like this that truly show what great companions Pit Bulls can be. They love and protect you with their whole being. Please don’t judge the breed, judge the deed.

 photo 7a1cb1a8-3cc4-4387-9939-2367f9b4bfc7_zps30bfb458.png