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Tag: awards

Pit bull wins national “hero dog” award

elle

Elle, a 5-year-old pit bull who helps children become more confident about reading, has been named the 2103 Hero Dog by the American Humane Association.

But it wasn’t just her listening skills that won her the honor. She also helps teach children about dog safety, and overcoming prejudice and stereotypes – “something a pit bull knows too much about,” the association noted in announcing the award.

The therapy dog and her owner started a reading program called “Tail Wagging Tales”  that helps students at two North Carolina schools — Vaughan Elementary in Macon and Chaloner Middle School in Roanoke Rapids — become stronger readers. Students take turns reading out loud to Elle for 20 minutes.

“She provides confidence for students and a comforting ear,” Leah Brewer, 42, told TODAY.com.

Elle and the other finalists for the American Humane Association award attended a ceremony Saturday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. It will air as a 90-minute special on the Hallmark Channel on Oct. 30.

After a six-month natonwide search, 141 dogs from across the country were nominated. More than one million Americans cast votes for the eight finalists online. Those results, along with the choices of a panel of celebrity judges and animals activists, were combined to determine the winner.

Among other nominees were Carlos, an explosive detector dog who worked in Iraq and Afghanistan; John D, a rescue dog who uses his scenting capabilities to detect cancer in patients; Cassidy, a three-legged dog who visits rehabilitation centers to comfort children with disabilities; and Lola, a rescued guide dog who connects her deaf owner to the surrounding world.

“Choosing a top dog is difficult because they are all so terrific, but we are proud to announce Elle as the top American Hero Dog for 2013,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of the American Humane Association.

“As an organization that for years has fought breed-specific legislation (BSL), we are also pleased to honor a breed that has been often been unjustly maligned. We hope that Elle’s story will help to underscore the many tremendously positive qualities of this breed.”

(Photo: American Humane Association)

“Last Minutes wih Oden”

The short documentary above — and, be warned, it will make you cry — chronicles the last minutes of a dog named Oden.

One of more than 6,500 submissions from thousands of artists and filmmakers, “Last Minutes with Oden” won top honors in a video contest sponsored by Vimeo, the online video sharing website.

The video focuses on Jason Wood and his dog Oden, who got cancer and had a leg amputated last year. But the cancer spread, leading Wood to make the anguishing decision to put down the dog who taught him how to love.

The video by Eliot Rausch documents the last day of Oden’s life. Vimeo’s panel of judges named it the best documentary, and the best video, and Vimeo presented the owners with a grant of $25,000. The awards were presented last month in New York City.

Jeremy Boxer, Co-Director of the Vimeo Festival + Awards called the video “one of those rare, intimate shorts that leads with its heart and soul.”

Pets on Parade at the Visionary Museum

“The best dog-gone parade” in Baltimore is coming up this weekend.

That’s how the American Visionary Art Museum is billing its annual “Pets on Parade” event at 10 a.m. this 4th of July Sunday (with registration starting at 9:30 a.m.).

Participants are invited to dress their pet and compete for trophies that will include Best Costume, Most Patriotic Pet and Most Visionary Pet. Honors will also be given for best pet tricks and owner and pet look-alikes.

Pets of all kinds (on leashes) are welcome and the event is free.

The museum promises plenty of shade and water.

With temperatures in the mid-90s predicted, lightweight costumes — such as this Elvis outfit Frankie wore a few years back – might be a good idea. And, cute as your dog might be in his get-up, removing the costume after the competition and allowing him a dip in the baby pools might also advisable.

Dogs recognized for their acts of valor

dogs_of_valor_finalist_kenaiThe Humane Society of the United States has announced the Valor Dog of the Year” – Kenai, a Bernese mountain dog mix from Erie, Colo.,who awakened her 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.

The awards celebrate the human-animal bond by honoring dogs who have exhibited an extraordinary sense of courage or resolve by heroically helping a person in need.

“Dogs are our friends, but they can also be our saviors,” said HSUS president and CEO Wayne Pacelle, “and the list of 100 nominees provides plenty of support for that proposition.”

The Valor Dog of the Year was chosen by a panel of celebrities including: film and television actor Kristin Bell, from the TV 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 Bagdad With Love” recalling the experience.

First runner up and winner of the “People’s Hero” award, chosen by online voting, went to Calamity Jane, a golden retriever mix from Aledo, Texas who scared away intruders by barking and growling outside a home where a family and their guests had been held at gunpoint for nearly an hour.

Benson, a golden retriever from Binghamton, N.Y. was named Second Runner Up for barking and alerting his owners to a fire across the street, giving them time to run to their neighbor’s and awaken the family before the house was consumed by flames.

The winners will receive prizes from Bella Tocca Tags, Custom Glass Etching, and The HSUS’ online store, Humane Domain.

To read the complete stories of this year’s Dogs of Valor, visit: humanesociety.org/dogsofvalor.

More than a hundred protest Vick’s award

As 100 to 150 sign-carrying protesters stood outside, convicted dogfighter Michael Vick received the Ed Block Courage Award at a Baltimore banquet hall tonight.

Vick, who served a 21-month prison sentence for dogfighting before getting signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, has said he feels he deserves the award. He was the unanimous choice of his teammates.

“I think everybody has a right to their own opinion. I feel like I’ve done everything I said I  would do,” Vick said in an interview with WBAL during the ceremony. “My peers felt like I was doing the right thing … that I displayed courage and sportsmanship and leadership.”

Protesters began gathering at Martin’s West in Woodlawn before 4 p.m., carrying signs that said, among other things,  ”No awards for dog killers” and “Cowards abuse animals.” 

“I am here to protest that the Eagles have given Michael Vick a Courage Award and everyone else has gone along with it,” said Darlene Sanders Harris, an organizer of the protest. “I don’t think he exudes courage or any of the qualities they are looking for in an Ed Block recipient.”

Animal advocates have voiced their dismay at Vick being named to receive the honor since last December when his teammates chose him for the award.

When Vick confirmed he would be attending, the foundation had to boost security for the event and scrap the long-standing tradition of having the athletes mingle with fans to sign autographs.

Every year 32 NFL players receive the honor, which is named after a longtime Baltimore Colts trainer who also worked as a physical therapist at a hospital for disabled children. The award honors players who are “role models” and “exemplify commitments to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.”

Maryland SPCA’s Executive Director Aileen Gabbey released the following statement about the decision to give the award to Vick:

“The Maryland SPCA remains shocked and disappointed that Michael Vick will, indeed, receive an award for courage from the Ed Block Foundation after being nominated by his team. Mr. Vick does not deserve this honor. He has been convicted of horrific crimes against living creatures; he has served jail time; he has somehow been re-employed. His attempts to speak on behalf of animals have been half-hearted and disingenuous. None of this warrants a special award.

“No truly courageous or honorable person would say ‘Yes, I deserve an award.’ Yet, this is precisely what Mr. Vick has done, defending his nomination and claiming that he has suffered hardships. He has never suffered the hardships, or torture, that his poor dogs did at his hands. The honorable thing for Mr. Vick to do would be to not accept this award. This would actually show some courage and that he is serious about being on the road to atonement for his terrible actions against innocent lives.”

Ten reasons dogs should be eligible for Oscars

hotel-for-dogs

 
1. They wouldn’t give overly long acceptance speeches.

2. They wouldn’t waste huge amounts of money on gowns.

3. They would deal better with both victory and defeat.

4. We like them, we really like them.

5. They could get to the stage much more quickly.

6. It makes more sense than Michael Vick getting a “Courage Award.”

7. They’ve been snubbed as a species by the academy for far too long.

8. Their ego and bank accounts don’t require constant feeding — just themselves.

9. Oscar chew toys would be cheaper than statuettes

10. The red carpet is probably cleaned every year anyway.

(Photo: From the movie “Hotel for Dogs)

Until then, we’ll settle for the “Pawscars”

bonecrusherUntil the Academy Award folks wise up and start giving awards for canine performances, we have the “Pawscars” — unofficial honors from the American Humane Association given to commend those films that, in their making, have treated animals well.

The American Human Association, which bestows the  “No Animals Were Harmed” disclaimer seen during movie credits, monitors the use of dogs and other animals on more than 1,000 productions each year.

This year, the association singled out three movies that excelled in keeping safe the animals involved in the productions – ”Avatar,” “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.””

For Best Alien Animals, the association praised “Avatar,”’ which used computer generated images created with the use of real horses with sensors attached to their joints and facial areas.

For Best Newcomer, the association picked Uno, a Neapolitan mastiff who appears in ”Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” Uno, who is believed to have been abused before she was adopted, gained confidence and trust during the making of the movie, where she did her job with the help of a patient owner/trainer.

For Best Cameo, the association singled out Bonecrusher, the family bull mastiff of director Michael Bay (above) who appeared in Bay’s movie “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”

The association didn’t limit honors to dogs. It also singled out such non-Academy Award nominated films as “The Hangover,” in which a tiger appears; “Did You Hear About The Morgans?” in which a bear plays a big role; and ”The Proposal,” which includes a scene in which the family dog is snatched by an eagle.

To achieve the effect, the movie had a trained eagle scoop up a sack made of green-screen material, into which the dog was later inserted. In reality, the dog and the  eagle were never even in the same shot together.

Also recognized was the chase scene in ”Hotel For Dogs.” Near the end of the film, the main characters release all the dogs from the shelter, which then chase the teens’ van down the street to the hotel. Trainers rehearsed the dogs for several weeks for the scene, which involved the most dogs ever filmed in a single scene on an American Humane-monitored film.

Veteran’s dog honored as “Dog of the Year”

archie-dog-of-the-yearArmy Sgt. Clay Rankin’s dog, Archie, was named 2009 Dog of the Year by the ASPCA.

Rankin suffered spinal injuries in Iraq, and Archie, who has been his service dog for four years, helps him cope with the aftermath of his war experience – post-traumatic stress disorder, physical challenges and difficulty with crowds, according to the Dallas Morning News.

“I think it was well deserved,” Rankin, who lives in West Virginia, said after accepting the award in New York City on behalf of Archie, an 8-year-old black Lab. “I think he’s Hero of the Year.”

“Archie’s loyalty and perseverance in helping Sgt. Rankin accomplish his daily tasks has allowed the veteran to regain his confidence and independence, move forward with his life and continue serving the country he loves,” the ASPCA noted.

Others recognized at the ASPCA awards ceremony were four men from Missouri who worked on the frontlines of the largest dog fighting raid in U.S. history; Alayne Marker, who along with her husband, Steve Smith, runs the Rolling Dog Ranch for disabled animals in Ovando, Montana; and Monica Plumb of Powhatan County, Virginia, who raised funds to purchase pet oxygen masks for fire departments across the country.

Wrestling with words, Rourke thanks his dogs

It’s pretty common for actors — and even moreso athletes — to thank God for the win, but Mickey Rourke, in accepting a Golden Globe award last night, thanked his dogs.

In one of the bigger surprises of the evening, the perennial “bad boy” — once viewed as washed up, burnt out and over the hill — completed his comeback by capturing the best actor honor at the 66th Annual Golden Globes for his role in “The Wrestler.”

Rourke beat out Leonardo DiCaprio for “Revolutionary Road,” Frank Langella for “Frost/Nixon,” Sean Penn for “Milk” and Brad Pitt for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

In “The Wrestler,” Rourke portrays Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a professional wrestler past his prime, holding on to the remains of a once-famous career — circumstances that run more than little parallel to the actor’s own.

But, as Rourke noted last night, even when alone and at the bottom, he had his dogs.

“I’d like to thank all my dogs,” he said, “the ones that are here, the ones that aren’t here anymore, because sometimes when a man’s alone that’s all you got is your dog, and they meant the world to me.”