2015 in Pictures: Victories for America’s Children and Animals

Caucus of the Humane Bond

2015 was a remarkable year for America’s oldest national humanitarian organization – one in which we touched more than 42,000 lives every minute with lifesaving, life-affirming programs that made a difference for hundreds of millions of children and animals.  Here are just a few highlights of our work that you made possible this year:

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Hero Dog Awards showcase power of the human-animal connection

Actress Bindi Irwin and professional dancer Derek Hough present the 2015 Military Dog of the Year award to Sgt. Rambo.

Actress Bindi Irwin, and professional dancer Derek Hough, present the Military Dog of the Year award to Sgt. Rambo at the 2015 Hero Dog Awards.

By Bindi Irwin

This past September, I was invited to participate in a truly beautiful event in Beverly Hills to showcase the powerful connection of animals in our lives – the Hero Dog Awards, hosted by the American Humane Association. I cannot begin to tell you how inspiring the evening was and how many wonderful people were there to celebrate the bond between animals and humans. Continue reading

New White Paper Details Important Role Working Dogs Have in Shaping Humane Communities

Humankind has always had a special relationship with dogs. For thousands of years, they have comforted us, protected us, and given us their unconditional love. Time and time again through the ages they have proven why they are considered our best friends. Yet, not only do dogs serve as our beloved companions, they are also a vital part of keeping our communities healthy, safe and humane. Continue reading

America’s Most Courageous Canines “Speak” to Congress

The 2015 Hero Dog Finalists

The 2015 Hero Dog Finalists

Yesterday, the 2015 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards winners went to Capitol Hill to “speak” to Congress, the American public, and the international media about the important role that dogs play in our lives.

The eight hero dogs and their human companions were the heart and soul of a standing-room-only event, “Hero Dogs on the Hill: A Celebration of Working Dogs in Our Lives,” which was hosted by the new Humane Bond Caucus, co-chaired by Congressman Gus Bilirakis (FL) and Henry Cuellar, Ph.D. (TX). One by one, their unique “tails” came to life, demonstrating the life-affirming and life-saving power of the connection between people and animals. The audience heard the stories of: Continue reading

Our Top 10 Reasons to Be Thankful this Year

On this special holiday devoted to giving thanks, we would like to share our Top 10 Reasons to be thankful in 2014:

  1. Farmers and ranchers who put the “thanks” in Thanksgiving by going the extra mile to raise their animals humanely.

Some 10 billion animals are raised on our nation’s farms and ranches, yet the vast majority – almost 90 percent – are not provided animal-centric welfare standards beyond the industry standards offered by trade association guidelines and retailer-imposed audits. Our hats are off to those farmers and ranchers who go the extra mile and raise their animals according to science-based, verifiable standards that ensure they have adequate space, lighting, food and water, humane treatment and the ability to express natural behaviors. More than 100 producers on 8,000 farms have joined our American Humane Certified™ program – the country’s first and largest farm animal welfare effort now protecting 1 billion animals. Thank you! And now it is even easier than ever for Americans to make humane choices at the grocery store and to set a humane table this holiday season and all year long. Join us and do your part by purchasing humanely raised products.

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Read Lola’s 2013 Hero Dog Award Experience

As the AHA put it so well at the Hero Dog Awards Gala, October 5, 2013 in Hollywood, ‘Behind every hero dog is a large group of dedicated VIP supporters and volunteers who embody the spirit of being humane, generously giving their talents, time, and abundance” that others — such as ourselves — might live as well or live more fully. How your words and this experience speak to me now!

What an eye opener and spirit lifter the Third Annual Hero Dog Awards Gala at the Beverly Hilton in LA has been for us: For finalist Lola, my hearing service dog, her daily commitment to me was recognized and saluted in extraordinary fashion. From being rescued from a shelter to being my rescuer, her compassionate unsung loyalty and response to my needs embody the purpose for which AHA stands: “to unleash the full potential of the bond between humans and animals to the mutual benefit of both.”
Indeed our interdependence gives Lola and me a greater sense of independence than either of us would have achieved alone.

Heartfelt thanks to all who contributed in so many ways to the AHA Hero Dog Awards in which we have been so celebrated. While my deafness tends to diminish the quality of my life, your work has lifted my spirits to a higher plane. It causes me to appreciate my Lola even more and reminds me that we are not alone.

Although Lola and I are already Goodwill Ambassadors for Dogs for the Deaf, count us in as some of the newest good will ambassadors for the American Humane Association as well.

With great respect,
Charlene MacKenzie and Lola