Dog of Valor Award Is Tough Choice, So Many Heroic Dogs

This year’s Dog of Valor award has some tough competition. There are simply so many dog heroes to recognize. From Calamity Jane who lost her leg protecting strangers, to other dogs who went beyond the call of duty to save people, we’re grateful to all these extraordinary pets. – Global Animal

ZooToo, Robin Wallace

NEW YORK — The phrase is as old as the sun — “man’s best friend,” exemplified by TV stars like Lassie, have always captured our hearts for the heroics that only a human-canine bond can create. But these extraordinary feats of loyalty are not just for the silver screen. Ordinary dogs often perform acts of heroism — just ask Calamity Jane.

This foster dog was still recovering from having her leg amputated — a delayed consequence of an old gunshot wound — and giving birth to a litter of seven, when she stopped a violent home invasion at a neighbor’s residence during her walk with foster mom Shar Pauley. Calamity Jane is certainly a hero, but she is not alone.

“We received almost 100 nominations, which is pretty amazing when you realize that all of these dogs are responsible for saving at least one person’s life,” said Colin Berry, Director of Innovations for the third annual “Dogs of Valor” contest, sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States.

Nominations came from 31 states and have been narrowed down to 10 finalists. The “People’s Hero” award is now open to the public’s voting until Friday, March 12 at 5 p.m. EST. While official winners will be announced on Monday, March 15, the Valor Dog of the Year will be chosen by a panel of celebrities.


Dogs of Valor finalist: Kenai

The panel includes Kristin Bell, who played a mysterious character with special powers on the hit show “Heroes;” Sally Pressman, whose character on Lifetime’s “Army Wives” adopted a stray dog who saved a soldier’s life in Iraq; and Jay Kopelman, a retired Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel who brought a puppy back from Iraq and wrote “From Baghdad With Love” recalling the experience.


“The Dogs of Valor Awards are one way the HSUS celebrates animals and the incredible bond they share with humans,” Berry told Zootoo Pet News. “In this case, we’re honoring dogs who have acted beyond their own needs and wants, demonstrating that dogs are intelligent creatures who have the ability to reason and act courageously on behalf of others.”

Calamity Jane is only one such nominee and finalist, and nine other heroic animals share the honor with her. Meet this year’s Dogs of Valor Finalists:

Benson (Binghamton, N.Y.) — Barked and alerted his owners to a fire across the street, giving them time to run to their neighbor’s home and awaken the family before the house was consumed by flames.

Jackson (Rahway, N.J.) — Cried and ran through the house, alerting his owner to a 90-year-old neighbor who was trapped by a door that had fallen, knocking her to the ground.

Jobe (Omaha, Neb.) — Ran through the home and howled, awakening the family to alert them that their son, who has life threatening allergies, was in respiratory distress.

Kenai (Erie, Colo.) — Awakened owner to alert him to a carbon monoxide leak in the vacation home where he, six other adults, two children, and three dogs were sleeping.

Max (Little Neck, N.Y.) — Barked incessantly, leading his owner to investigate and discover that his neighbor’s 89-year-old mother had collapsed in the garden on a sweltering 91-degree day.

Milky Way (Rushford, Minn.) — Scratched feverishly at a closed bedroom door and alerted a woman that her sister had suffered a stroke and collapsed in another room.

Porkchop (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) — Bayed and barked until he got a neighbor’s attention, leading her to find his 71-year-old owner who was unconscious after collapsing and accidentally detaching the tube from the oxygen tank on which he depended to breathe.

Prozac (Sanford, N.C.) — Barked and alerted family when a 94-year-old woman began having difficulty breathing. Two months later, he awakened his pet sitter and her granddaughter, alerting them to a fire in their attic.

RaeLee (Tampa, Fla.) — Barked and ran down the hall, leading his owner to her son who was purple and seizing with blood streaming from his nose and mouth.

Calamity Jane (Aledo, Texas) — Scared away intruders by ferociously barking and growling outside a home where a family and their guests had been held at gunpoint for nearly an hour.

To vote or to read the complete stories of these Dogs of Valor nominees, visit

To watch our Zootoo Pet News story on last year’s People Choice winner, click here:,