Gabe and SSG Chuck Shuck (image courtesy iamgabe.yolasite.com)
Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Gabe, a retired military dog who completed more than 200 combat missions in Iraq, has been named the American Hero Dog of 2012 at the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards in Los Angeles.
A nationwide search of dogs from all 50 states were nominated and more than three million votes were cast by the public, and eight dogs were selected according to PR News wire.
Gabe was just a yellow lab pound puppy from a Texas animal shelter when he was adopted and trained by the military. He has retired from active duty and now Gabe and his handler Sgt. 1st class Chuck Shuck continue to serve as advocates for shelter pets.
"Tonight we honor some of the most extraordinary heros the world has ever known, the very best of our "best friends"--ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things, " said Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of the American Humane Association.
The winner is chosen through a combination of public votes and voting by a panel of animal advocates and celebrity judges that included Whoopie Goldberg, Miranda Lambert and Megyn Price.
Each of the finalists received $5,000 to be donated to one of the American Humane Associations charity partners, Gabe's charity was the Untied States War Dog Association. Gabe and his handler Shuck won an additional $10,000 for the charity upon winning the grand prize.
The star-studded award show, hosted by Kristin Chenoweth, honoring the eight finalists and other courageous dogs in America will be broadcast by the Hallmark Channel on November 8 at 8 p.m.