The Emerging Hero category honors the partnership that often develops between human and dog. Some of these animals are trained in such areas as detection of diseases such as cancer, others are just pets who, without any special training, instinctively assist their human companions, and some are overcomers who have triumphed over adversity in an extraordinary way. "Overcomer" - that's Hooch!
Several months ago I highlighted the eight finalists for the 2016 Hero Dog Award, sponsored by the American Humane Association. “Gander” was nominated as a Service Dog, “Hooch” represented the Emerging Hero Dog category, “Judge” is an Arson Dog, “K-9 Edo” represented Law Enforcement Dogs, the Military Dog is a combat veteran named Layka; a Cairn Terrier-Yorkie mix named “Mango” is a Therapy Dog; “Hook” is a Hearing Dog; and Kobuk represented Search and Rescue Dogs.
Hooch is a French Mastiff that suffered horrific abuse, having his ears cut off and his tongue removed. Without a tongue, a dog can’t eat or drink. His rescuers thought he would need a feeding tube to survive, but then they discovered he could be hand-fed. He works with Zach Skow of Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue in their Miracle Mutts division, helping autistic, abused and special needs children. He is patient, loving, gentle and the poster dog for bravery.
But Hooch is not the only hero here. All the finalists are heroes, along with all the dogs that whose owners entered them in the competition, and every animal companion we are fortunate enough to call our best friend. And this is the time of year when we can be heroes for our pets by taking extra care to protect them on Halloween.
Keep candy and other treats away from your pet. Some of it may contain Xylitol, an artificial sweetner which is poisonous to dogs. Chocolate in any form (especially dark chocolate) can be toxic to an animal. Even seemingly harmless treats like grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in pets.
Also, if possible, keep your pet safely indoors or on a tight leash. Outdoors it may become spooked by all the strange comings and goings.
This Halloween, you can be a hero to your furry friend and keep it safe, so you can both enjoy all the seasons together, when you’re speaking of pets.