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!
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,