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American Humane Association Hosts Hero Dog Awards 2011 (SLIDESHOW)

  First Posted: 10/03/11 05:47 PM ET   Updated: 12/03/11 05:12 AM ET

The American Humane Association held its annual Hero Dog Awards on Saturday in Beverly Hills to honor canine's finest. The awards, sponsored by Cesar Canine Cuisine, are presented each year to recognize dogs that have exemplified heroic behavior by enriching, and in some cases, saving lives.

Thousands of votes were cast to narrow down the 453 contestants to eight finalists who triumphed in a range of categories such as hearing, guide and therapy, the event website explains. Celebrities, including "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's" Carson Kressley and Betty White also came out to show their support at the awards ceremony.

The top honor went to Roselle, a labrador retriever in the Guide Dogs category. Roselle led her owner, Michael Hingson, down 78 flights of stairs in the World Trade Center during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Petside reports. Despite her passing in June 2011, she was still honored for her heroic deed.

According to Petside, the seven runner-ups received $5,000 to donate to a charity of their choice. As winner, Roselle was given $10,000.

The event is scheduled to air on Nov. 11 on the Hallmark Channel.

Photos Courtesy of American Humane Association


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  • Bino

    Winner in the Military Dogs category, Bino served almost 11 years at the 35th MP Detachment at Ft. Gordon in August, Ga., as a Narcotics Detection and Patrol Canine. The Dutch Shepherd spent 14 months in Iraq and contributed to special missions with the Border Patrol in the war on drugs.

  • Harley

    Based in Fountain Hills, Ariz., Harley won the highest honor in the Hearing Dogs category. Harley's owner, Nancy Otte, said having the dog has changed her life. "Harley has given me self confidence and a feeling of equality with others that I'd not experienced before," Otte wrote in the contest entry.

  • Roselle

    Roselle won first place in the Guide Dogs category, and received the highest honor for the Hero Dog Awards. During the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, she led her blind owner, Michael Hingson, down 1,463 stairs to the first floor. After exiting the building, Roselle led Hingson through dust and debris to the nearest subway station to stand safely underground.

  • Sadie

    Sadie is a 5-year-old black labrador retriever who took home the prize for the Law Enforcement/Arson category. She works in the Major Crimes Unit of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and has assisted in approximately 400 fires. Sadie has also been recognized for a range of awards, including the "Golden Paws" Award for life-saving acts and is a co-partner in being recognized as "Colorado Peace Officer of the Year."

  • Ricochet

    Receiving the award in the Emerging Hero Dogs category, Ricochet surfs with special needs children and adults with disabilities. After garnering a great deal of popularity from her YouTube video and Facebook page, Ricochet has helped raise more than $125,000 for charitable efforts, Petside reports.

  • Sage

    Winner in the Search and Rescue Dogs category, Sage has serviced the country with her search abilities in numerous ways. She was called to help in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. She has also participated in a number of missing person searches, including the search for Natalee Holloway. In 2007, Sage was deployed to Iraq to look for missing U.S. soldiers

  • Zurich

    Based in Des Plaines, Ill., Zurich is a certified service dog who was partnered with his owner Patricia Kennedy in 2004. Kennedy, who can't speak or walk, can rely on her golden retriever to retrieve anything from TV remotes to dropped clipboards, according to the American Humane Association.

  • Stacey Mae

    Stacey Mae is a 4-year-old Greater Swiss Mountain dog who took first place in the Therapy Dogs category. She collects stuffed animals for children in the hospital. So far she has rounded up almost 2,000 teddy bears and stuffed animals, according to the American Humane Association.

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Filed by Danielle Cadet  |