Following more than half a million votes from animal lovers across the country, 21 courageous canines have advanced to the semifinal round of the 2021 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®.  One of them is from Huntingdon!

Now it’s up to to us to give Wellie a chance to become the country’s top dog at the 11th annual American Humane Hero Dog Awards, which is sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and will be broadcast as a two-hour special on Hallmark Channel this fall.

Visit between now and July 15 to vote once per day in each of the seven Hero Dog categories. The seven categories for 2021 are: Therapy Dogs; Service Dogs; Military DogsLaw Enforcement DogsShelter DogsSearch and Rescue Dogs; and Guide/Hearing Dogs. 

The winning dog in each category will take part in the nationally televised Hero Dog Awards this fall and will be celebrated at a special gala in their honor in Palm Beach on November 12. All rounds open and close at 12 p.m. Pacific Time. 

“The American Humane Hero Dog Awards are our way of honoring the best of our best friends,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane president and CEO. “This unique effort brings attention to the life-changing, life-saving power of the human-animal bond – something that has been a core part of our organization’s mission since 1877.” 

“The Hero Dog Awards celebrate America’s often unsung heroes,” said philanthropist and Platinum Presenting Sponsor Lois Pope. “From those who defend our country to those who help us heal, guide us, protect us, and help find the lost, every single contender exemplifies the courage and heroism we seek to spotlight in this campaign. Our goal is not only to honor these magnificent dogs but to inspire America to reflect on the outsized contributions that animals make in our lives each and every day.”  

Meet Wellie, from Huntingdon, one of three finalists in the Guide/Hearing Dogs category: 

  • Wellie (Huntingdon, Pennsylvania) – Wellie is my Hearing Assistance Dog and has opened so many doors for me by giving me the confidence to grow into my true self. She has enabled me to explore new things, feel confident, safe, and aware in my home and of my surroundings while in public. Because of her, I’m not afraid to try new things. We are Dogs for Better Lives Ambassadors, Pet CPR/first aid instructors and teach ASL classes together. I’ve become a more outgoing, relaxed and joyful person. She is dedicated to her job as my hearing dog (my ears) 100% of the time. During these times of masking in public, she seems to work doubly hard to ensure that I am comfortable, safe, and aware. She has led me out of Walmart during an emergency fire alarm. While at physical therapy, she ensures that I am aware when the machine I am using is done and beeping. She makes sure that I am aware that my therapist has entered the room and is speaking to me. Not only does she alert me to the sounds she was trained for (oven timer, microwave, doorbell/door knock, telephone, smoke detector, alarm clock, or someone calling my name), she has chosen to alert me to sounds that are beyond her scope of training.  I know when my cell phone buzzes, toaster pops, and Instant Pot or Air Fryer alerts. In public, she alerts me to timers beeping, people speaking, telephones ringing and so much more. She’s not only my hearing dog and ears, she’s my best friend, my pandemic partner, and my saving grace in a world so full of silence.

Here is the direct link to vote for Wellie:

Key dates for the 2021 American Humane Hero Dog Awards contest include:

1st Round Voting: March 25 – May 6

  • 2nd Round Voting: May 27 – July 15
  • 3rd Round Voting: July 29 – September 7
  • Hero Dog Awards gala: November 12

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 starting June 10 for your favorites in the 2021 American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards®, sponsored by Zoetis Petcare (a U.S. business unit of Zoetis) right here: 

For more information about the 2021 American Humane Hero Dog Awards, and to vote daily, please visit