2019 American Humane Hero Dog Awards: Beth Stern and James Denton return as hosts

September 18, 2019

James Denton and Beth Stern
James Denton and Beth Stern (Photo courtesy of Hallmark Channel)

Bestselling author Beth Stern and James Denton (“Good Witch,” “Desperate Housewives”) will return to host the 9th Annual American Humane Hero Dog Awards(R), a star-studded annual celebration honoring outstanding working dogs from around the country. The awards gala, sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and Zoetis, will also feature Trevor Donovan (“Love, Fall & Order,” “SnowComing”), Danielle Fishel (“Girl Meets World”), Kellie Martin (“Hailey Dean Mysteries”), Debbie Matenopoulos (“Home & Family”), Cameron Mathison (“Home & Family”), Wendi McLendon-Covey (“The Goldbergs”), Brandon McMillan (“Lucky Dog”), Barbara Niven (“Christmas in Evergreen,” “Chesapeake Shores”), Roselyn Sanchez (“A Taste of Summer,” “Grand Hotel”), Eric Winter (“A Taste of Summer,” “The Rookie”), and Larissa Wohl (“Home & Family”) as presenters. Additional celebrity participants and presenters will be announced in the coming weeks.

The 2019 American Humane Hero Dog Awards will take place on Saturday, Oct. 5 at The Beverly Hilton and will be broadcast as a two-hour special nationwide on Monday, Oct. 21 (8 pm ET/7 pm CT) on Hallmark Channel.

The evening will recognize seven canine finalists and reveal which dog will be honored with the coveted 2019 American Hero Dog title. A combination of America’s voting, which includes over one million public votes, and a panel of celebrity judges will determine which dog will be named the 2019 American Hero Dog. As previously announced, the category winners competing to be named the 2019 American Hero Dog are:

· 2019 GUIDE/HEARING HERO DOG sponsored by Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food – “Leader Dog Lady” from Hamilton, MI

· 2019 LAW ENFORCEMENT/ARSON HERO DOG sponsored by Zoetis, makers of Simparica(R) (sarolaner) – “Dax” from Libertyville, IL

· 2019 MILITARY HERO DOG sponsored by Zoetis, makers of Apoquel(R) (oclacitinib tablet) – “Sgt. Yeager” from Cary, NC

· 2019 SEARCH AND RESCUE HERO DOG (sponsored by Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food) – “Piglet” from Lancaster, CA

· 2019 SERVICE HERO DOG sponsored by Lulu’s Fund – “Alice” from Nicholasville, KY

· 2019 SHELTER HERO DOG sponsored by Hallmark Channel – “Gus” from Houston, TX

· 2019 THERAPY HERO DOG – “Jeanie” from Lake Charles, LA

Over the past nine years, nearly 10 million votes have been cast for more than a thousand dogs seeking the coveted title of American Hero Dog. The program reaches more than 1 billion people each year and draws the support and participation of top celebrity dog lovers from all over the world. Hosts, judges, award presenters, and entertainment acts have included Jay Leno, Billy Crystal, Betty White, Ariel Winter, Rebecca Romijn, Jerry O’Connell, Dean Cain, Katharine McPhee, Alison Sweeney, Whoopi Goldberg, Denise Richards, Lisa Vanderpump, Chelsea Handler, Martin Short, Jewel, Wilson Phillips, Carson Kressley, Miranda Lambert, Pauley Perrette, Kristin Chenoweth, Naomi Judd, Eric Stonestreet, Fred Willard, Danica McKellar, Bailee Madison, and many, many more.

For more information about the 2019 American Humane Hero Dog Awards, please visit www.herodogawards.org.

About American Humane

American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. For more information, please visit www.americanhumane.org.

About Lois Pope, The Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., and LIFE (Leaders in Furthering Education)

As one of America’s leading philanthropists, Lois Pope has positively impacted the lives of individuals at the local, national and international levels. She has established three separate organizations dedicated to helping those in need. These organizations are the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., Leaders In Furthering Education (LIFE), and the Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation. For more than 20 years she has been the driving force behind the Lois Pope LIFE Center at the University of Miami School of Medicine, The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, and a groundbreaking new program with American Humane in Palm Beach County. Lois Pope has recently donated several Lois Pope Rescue Vehicles. Each rescue vehicle is a 50-foot long response unit, complete with a Ford F-350 truck and trailer, which is specifically designed and outfitted to provide an array of animal emergency services and cruelty responses within the region. On Oct. 5, 2014, Mrs. Pope saw the completion of a decades-long dream – the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, which was dedicated by President Obama in Washington DC. It will stand in perpetuity as a reminder to the public and legislators of the courage and sacrifices of the four million-plus living disabled veterans and all those who died before them, as well as the need to be vigilant in assuring their support and understanding the human cost of war. Through her advocacy, October 5 every year will serve as a National Day of Honor for disabled veterans. A mother and a grandmother, Lois has trained for and completed five New York City Marathons.

About Hallmark Channel

Hallmark Channel is Crown Media Family Networks’ flagship 24-hour cable television network, distributed nationwide in high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) to 88 million homes. As the country’s leading destination for quality family entertainment, Hallmark Channel delivers on the 100-year legacy of the Hallmark brand. In addition to its signature new, original movies, the network features an ambitious lineup of other new, original content, including scripted primetime series, such as “Good Witch,” “When Calls the Heart” and “Chesapeake Shores”; annual specials including “Kitten Bowl” and “Hero Dog Awards”; and a daily, two-hour lifestyle show, “Home & Family.” Additionally, Hallmark Channel is the exclusive home to world premiere presentations of the acclaimed Hallmark Hall of Fame franchise. Dedicated to helping viewers celebrate life’s special moments, Hallmark Channel also offers annual holiday programming franchises, including “Countdown to Christmas,” “Countdown to Valentine’s Day,” “Summer Nights,” “Fall Harvest” and “Winterfest.” Rounding out the network’s diverse slate are some of television’s most beloved comedies and series, including “The Golden Girls” and “Frasier.” Hallmark Cards, Inc. owns and operates Crown Media Family Networks. To visit the network website, please visit www.hallmarkchannel.com Hallmark Channel on Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube

About Zoetis

Zoetis is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 65 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines, vaccines and diagnostic products, which are complemented by biodevices, genetic tests and a range of services. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2018, the company generated annual revenue of $5.8 billion with approximately 10,000 employees. For more information, visit www.zoetis.com.

About Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food

Chicken Soup for the Soul has been providing super-premium pet food for over 15 years. The company makes dry and wet dog and cat food as well as treats that are available at independent pet specialty stores nationwide and select products are available online. The company’s mission is to help all pets eat well through its affordable pricing and its work with shelters and pets in need. A portion of all proceeds from the sale of Chicken Soup for the Soul pet food goes to Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Fill-a-Bowl… Feed-a-Soul(TM) program. The program, which was launched in 2016 in association with the American Humane, aims to provide over a million meals annually to shelter pets.

About Lulu’s Fund

Lulu’s Fund, which is part of the Timothy T. Day Foundation, was founded in 2012. Named after the Day’s beloved pug Lulu, Lulu’s Fund continues the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to supporting organizations in the animal rescue community throughout the United States. Organizations that receive support from Lulu’s Fund are primarily those that rescue abused, neglected and abandoned dogs. Their focus is to treat existing medical issues, provide spay and neuter services, place dogs in safe foster homes, and ultimately find forever homes for the animals. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.tdayfoundation.org.

2019 American Rescue Dog Show: Hallmark Channel expands show to two nights; see photos and videos

January 28, 2019

American Rescue Dog Show
“American Rescue Dog Show” host Rebecca Romijn (Photo by Kim Nunneley/Alexx Henry Studios, LLC)

The following is a press release from Hallmark Channel:

Hallmark Channel’s second annual “2019 American Rescue Dog Show” presented by Pedigree premieres as an expanded, two-night event, Sunday, February 17 and Monday, February 18 (8 p.m. ET/PT) on Hallmark Channel. The special focuses the spotlight on various breeds adopted from shelters and rescue organizations across the country vying for top dog in the world’s most adorable categories. The “2019 American Rescue Dog Show” is hosted by Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell, who are joined by co-hosts Ross Mathews and Larissa Wohl as they cover all the action ringside and backstage. Guest judges are pet rescue advocates Bill Berloni, Debbie Gibson, Brandon McMillan, Mike Rowe and Lisa Vanderpump.

The “2019 American Rescue Dog Show” will once again highlight the heartfelt traits and benefits of mixed breeds and rescued purebreds, including Afghan Hounds, Corgis, Golden Retrievers, Huskies and many more. Categories include Best in Couch Potato, Best in Wiggle Butt, Best in Underbite, Best in Talking, Best in Snoring, Best in Senior, Best in Short ‘n Sweet, Best in Special Needs, Best in Smiling and Best in Belly Rubs. The top 10 dogs will face off in the finals where one proud pooch will be crowned Best in Rescue. In addition to the competition ring, the show will highlight the importance of fostering homeless dogs and adopting from local animal organizations.

The mission of the “2019 American Rescue Dog Show” is to celebrate rescue dogs in a personality-driven competition. The goal of the show is to shine a light on these incredible pets and inspire viewers to adopt their next dog from their local shelter or rescue organization. Whether already in homes or waiting to be adopted, these dogs are all heart and full of personality.

As the presenting sponsor, Pedigree is closely aligned to the show’s mission. The Pedigree  brand has worked tirelessly to help support the transformation of shelter dogs into pets with loving, forever homes by donating good food for the cause, and millions of dollars through the Pedigree Foundation to shelters and rescues across the country. To that end, Pedigree Foundation will provide a total of $100,000 in grants to the winners’ shelters or rescues.

Serving as the show’s official mascot is the network’s own rescued and adopted pet, Happy the Dog. In addition to starring in movies and specials, Happy the Dog is a certified therapy dog and emotional support animal.

“2019 American Rescue Dog Show” is produced by Michael Levitt Productions. Executive Producers Michael Levitt and Jennifer Schulz are both animal advocates and rescuers whose lives are dedicated to increasing awareness of pet adoption. Levitt, an accomplished TV producer, and Schulz, a communications professional for pet brands and organizations, joined forces to create a show that is both entertaining and heart-warming. Their goal is to celebrate rescue dogs with the hope of inspiring Hallmark Channel viewers to adopt their next pet. Throughout the show, Adopt-a-Pet.com will be showcased as a great resource for viewers to find their next pet.

About the Pedigree Brand

The Pedigree Brand is the number one brand of dog food and treats in the world, feeding more dogs than any other brand. The Pedigree Brand offers a wide variety of products and formats for dogs at every life stage. The Pedigree brand is built on an unwavering glove for all dogs and a commitment to dog adoption. For more information, please visit www.Pedigree.com.

About Pedigree Foundation

Formed in 2008 by Mars Petcare, the makers of Pedigree food for dogs, Pedigree Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization working to help end pet homelessness. Through no fault of their own, nearly 3.5 million dogs end up in shelters and rescue organizations every year, and nearly half of them never find a home. Pedigree Foundation helps increase dog adoption rates with grants and best practices that support the good work of shelters and dog rescue organizations throughout the United States. Its vision is a day when all dogs are safe, secure, cared for, fed well and loved. For more information on how you can support the foundation, visit www.PEDIGREEFoundation.org

About Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After

Working in collaboration with the country’s leading animal rescue and welfare organizations, activists, distribution and advertising partners, and celebrity influencers, Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After aims to dismantle common misconceptions about shelter animals, provide resources, inspire the public to adopt, and ultimately create a future where every pet has a loving home. The initiative shines a spotlight on the countless lovable pets in our nations shelters through annual on-air programming specials like Kitten Bowl, Hero Dog Awards, and The American Rescue Dog Show, as well as strategic partnerships, consumer marketing campaigns, public service announcements, and grassroots efforts.

2019 Kitten Bowl: Information revealed about this year’s event

January 14, 2019

Kitten Bowl VI
Kitten Bowl VI (Photo courtesy of Hallmark Channel)

The following is a press release from Hallmark Channel:

Hallmark Channel hosts the nation’s most beloved rescue pet adoption event of the year when “Kitten Bowl VI” premieres exclusively on, Sunday, February 3, 2019 (2 p.m. ET/PT). “Kitten Bowl” returns after a successful run at Super Bowl Live in Minneapolis in 2018 and will feature kittens rescued from across the country, all of whom will be vying for the National Championship of Feline Football trophy. The 2019 game also marks a milestone of more than 25,000 shelter pet adoptions since “Kitten Bowl” premiered in 2014.

The shelter pet adoption effort around “Kitten Bowl” began with five shelter partners five years ago. Through partnership with North Shore Animal League America, “Kitten Bowl” neighborhood shelter partners grew to 500 and will exceed that number in 2019. During “Kitten Bowl” weekend, shelter partners of North Shore Animal League America show clips from the show while showcasing beautiful animals from local areas in need of loving, forever homes. Many shelters will give away Hallmark Channel’s coveted “Kitten Bowl” trading card packs and the five shelters who adopt the most animals during the adoption event will receive cash grants. The “Kitten Bowl” adoption event runs from February 2-February 16.

TV personality, author and animal advocate Beth Stern returns as host for this year’s event from Hallmark Channel Stadium. Stern embodies the spirit of adoption in her everyday life, having fostered countless animals in need. Stern’s tireless year-round efforts to find homes for animals makes her a synergistic fit to lead the charge for “Kitten Bowl VI.”

On the day of the big game, Stern is joined by Dean Cain and former NFL player Rodney Peete for all the play-by-play action along with commentary by former NFL running back Rashad Jennings and fourtime Pro Bowl quarterback Boomer Esiason, making “Kitten Bowl VI” the MUST SEE event on the day of the big game.

North Shore Animal League America and Last Hope Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation drafted the 2019 teams. “Kitten Bowl” is part of Hallmark Channel’s evergreen pet initiative, ADOPTION EVER AFTER, which highlights the plight of homeless animals and the joys rescued and adopted pets bring into our lives.

“Kitten Bowl VI” is produced by 3 Ball Entertainment with Todd A. Nelson, Ross Weintraub and Kathy Sutula serving as executive producers.

2019 Cat Bowl: Hallmark Channel reveals details of inaugural event

January 14, 2019

(Photo by Aaron Burns/Crown Media United States)

The following is a press release from Hallmark Channel:

Hallmark Channel announces the first-ever annual “Cat Bowl,” part of the network’s core philanthropic effort ADOPTION EVER AFTER, which uses entertainment programming to showcase animals available for adoption in neighborhoods all across America, is set to premiere exclusively on the network, Saturday, February 2, 2019 (10 p.m. ET/PT). “Cat Bowl” is a companion program to the network’s storied pet franchise, “Kitten Bowl,” the first animal competition on television to create awareness for the plight of homeless animals and the joys that adopted pets bring to our lives. The “Kitten Bowl” franchise is responsible for the adoption of more than 25,000 shelter pet adoptions over five years through partnership with North Shore Animal League America and its shelter partners across the country.

“Cat Bowl” will showcase adorable and adoptable adult ‘cat-letes’ as they compete on the gridiron for a special place in viewers hearts. Inspirational stories of senior and special needs cats will highlight the special event. During each year’s broadcast of “Kitten Bowl,” awareness for pet adoption rises dramatically. Hallmark Channel announces that with its partner North Shore Animal League America, “Cat Bowl” and “Kitten Bowl” will be a part of the biggest pet adoption event in the country. More than 500 shelter partners will showcase local animals available for adoption from February 2-February 16.

TV personality, author and animal advocate Beth Stern is the host for this year’s event from Hallmark Channel Stadium. Stern is joined by Hallmark Channel star Alison Sweeney and “Home & Family” co-host Cameron Mathison for all the play-by-play action. The special will also feature Where Are They Meow, stories that follow up on some former “Kitten Bowl” cat-letes such as Jerry Mice, Puma Esiason and last year’s star, Swirl.

North Shore Animal League America and Last Hope Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation drafted the cats for a more heartwarming “Senior Bowl” than has ever taken place on the gridiron.

“Cat Bowl” is part of Hallmark Channel’s evergreen pet initiative, ADOPTION EVER AFTER, committed to educating the public about the many rewards of pet adoption in hopes of inspiring viewers to open their homes and hearts to shelter pets.

“Cat Bowl” is produced by 3 Ball Entertainment with Todd A. Nelson, Ross Weintraub and Kathy Sutula serving as executive producers.

2018 American Humane Hero Dog Awards: Golden retriever Chi Chi wins top prize; Hallmark Channel to televise awards

September 30, 2018

American Humane Hero Dog Awards
Therapy Dog of the Year: Chi Chi (Photo courtesy of American Humane Hero Dog Awards)

The following is a press release from American Humane:

Following more than a million votes by the American public and the opinions of an expert panel of celebrity animal lovers and dog experts, “Chi Chi,” a four-year-old Golden Retriever from Phoenix, Arizona has been named this year’s most heroic dog, besting 265 other brave canines and capturing the top title of “American Hero Dog” at the 2018 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®. The eighth annual Hero Dogs Awards is sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc. and Zoetis Petcare (a U.S. business unit of Zoetis) and will be broadcast nationally on Hallmark Channel October 24 at 8:00 pm ET/PT.

Chi Chi is a quadruple amputee who is inspiring people all over the world. She was left for dead in South Korea where she was found in a garbage bag with her legs bound, worn to the bone, and already necrotized. The only way to save her life was to amputate portions of all four of her legs. When she first arrived at our home, she was afraid of people, but with time and lots of love and grace, she realized that she is safe and no one will ever hurt her again. She forgave and decided to trust people again. She quickly adapted to her first set of custom prosthetics and now loves spending her days as a certified therapy dog sharing her joy and cheerful demeanor with people of all ages. Recently, she had surgery to remove cancer tumors, so she is a cancer survivor. When people meet Chi Chi, they are inspired by her courage, perseverance, ability to overcome adversity and her never-give-up attitude. She exemplifies resilience and forgiveness, and openly shares her love and compassion in abundance. Her sweet-tempered and gentle spirit opens people’s hearts and her perceptive spirit senses where her love is needed. When people hear Chi Chi’s story and experience her attitude of joy, they are often inspired to face their challenges with renewed courage and a fresh perspective. Chi Chi brings joy everywhere she goes and her optimism and smile spreads quickly to others. She positively impacts thousands of people all over the world via her online therapy work through her social media account.

For her extraordinary bravery and good works, Chi Chi won the American Humane Hero Dog Awards’ “Therapy Dog” category. This year, the Therapy Dog category is sponsored by Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food, the official pet food sponsor of the 2018 American Humane Hero Dog Awards. We thank them for helping draw attention to Chi Chi’s story and spotlighting the remarkable ways dogs are capable of forgiveness and moving on to do good things for others even when they themselves were in need of help.

A Galaxy of Stars Honors Hero Dogs

The sold-out, star-studded awards honoring America’s most courageous canines were hosted at the Beverly Hilton Hotel last night by television and film star James Denton and model and animal advocate Beth Stern, accompanied by a galaxy of celebrity stars and presenters including TV star Erik Estrada; actress Danielle Fishel; TV and film personality Carrie Ann Inaba; actress Bailee Madison; TV actress Kellie Martin; TV host Debbie Matenopoulos; TV host Cameron Mathison; TV host and animal trainer Brandon McMillan; actress Barbara Niven, actress Denise Richards; actress Rebecca Romijn; TV host and actress Alison Sweeney; “Modern Family” actress Ariel Winter; and TV actress Larissa Wohl. “Lois and Clark” star Dean Cain brought his super powers in the form of heroic voiceovers of the individual finalists’ tribute videos.

Wildlife conservationist and popular TV personality Jack Hanna provided a delightful pre-taped video congratulating all the dogs and urging everyone to support the animals of the earth. Before the show, the audience was treated to the artistry of The Alex Donner Band, the Nunziata brothers, and a special appearance by Hallmark Channel’s Goodwill Ambassador Happy the Dog.

The Hero Dog Awards were created to celebrate the powerful relationship between dogs and people and recognize extraordinary acts of heroism performed by ordinary dogs. The event will be broadcast nationwide by Hallmark Channel on October 24 at 8 pm ET/PT, 7 pm Central. The program will air as part of Hallmark Channel’s Pet Project, the network’s cross-platform advocacy campaign designed to celebrate the joy and enrichment animals bring to our lives. During American Humane’s annual “Adopt-a-Dog Month” this October, the organization is teaming up with Hallmark Channel’s “Adoption Ever After” campaign to help get more of the millions of beautiful animals left in shelters each year into forever homes. All throughout the month, animal lovers can go to www.AmericanHumane.org to find adoptable dogs in your area, tips on preparing their home for a new four-legged companion, and other vital information, social media campaigns and blogs to help build a better world for our best friends.

“The American Humane Hero Dog Awards were created to honor some of the most extraordinary heroes the world has ever known, the very best of our best friends,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization. “These heroic canines have gone above and beyond the call of duty, saving lives on the battlefield, comforting the ill, aged and afflicted, bringing hope to those who have lost it, and reminding us of the powerful, age-old bond between animals and people. All seven category winners tonight exemplify what it means to be a hero, and we hope that their stories – and Chi Chi’s – will inspire people to value our animal friends and to recognize and honor how much they do for us every day.”

“It is an honor to support an effort to recognize the best of our ‘best friends,'” said philanthropist Lois Pope, who has been the awards’ presenting sponsor for seven years. “From those who defend our country to those who help us heal, guide us, protect us, and help find the lost, every single contender exemplifies the courage and heroism we seek to spotlight in the Hero Dog Awards campaign. Through this national forum we have helped educate America about the lifesaving, life-affirming work of our nation’s canine heroes.”

The winner is chosen through a combination of public votes and voting by a panel of animal advocates and celebrity judges including Michelle Beadle, Prince Lorenzo BorgheseKristin ChenowethJamie Chung, Philippe and Ashlan Gorse Cousteau, Erik EstradaDanielle FishelCarolyn HennesyCarson KressleyMiranda LambertBailee MadisonAdrienne Maloof, Agent Jerry MeansLaura Nativo, Carlos and Alexa PenaVega, Mark Steines, and Lisa Vanderpump.

All Finalists Are Winners

Chi Chi was the one chosen as 2018 American Hero Dog, but all seven finalists were winners in their categories, and we salute them for their courage, service and compassion. Here are their official nominations, as told by their handlers and owners:

Law Enforcement/Arson Dog of the Year (category sponsored by K-9 Courage from Zoetis Petcare)

Law Enforcement_Arson Dog of the Year: K-9 Flash (Photo courtesy of American Humane Hero Dog Awards)

K-9 Flash (Detroit, MI) – K-9 Flash was found in an animal shelter when she was only 9 months old. She was picked up on the streets of Everett, Washington, with no home, no name, and no family. We were starting a Narcotics K-9 course at the Washington State Patrol Academy in Sept of 2005, when we were evaluating dogs in shelters who possess a good hunt, air scent, retrieve, and prey drive. Flash excelled in all of those areas, so we took a chance on her and included her in the class just one day before she was to be euthanized. Once she had her chance, Flash excelled in Narcotics detection and graduated as the only dog to score 100 percent on her certification. She was assigned as the first Narcotics K-9 on Patrol at the Yakima Police Department while assisting two DEA Narcotics Task Force Teams, Regional SWAT Team, and the Patrol Division. K-9 Flash had over 3,000 deployments in her career with over 2,200 narcotics-related finds and seizures. When Flash retired in 2013, she was just getting started. Because of her fortitude and her will to be successful, she inspired her handler to start a national nonprofit to take care of retired K-9 heroes like her with medical assistance, food, and end-of-duty services. Most people don’t know that when K-9 heroes like Flash retire they lose all funding from the agencies they served. Therefore in 2016, K-9 Flash was the sole inspiration for the start of Project K-9 Hero. She now has her own children’s book and travels the nation reading it at schools and inspiring children.

Emerging Hero Dog of the Year

Emerging Hero Dog of the Year: Willow (Photo courtesy of American Humane Hero Dog Awards)

Willow (Las Vegas, NV) – Willow is a survivor of the South Korean dog meat trade. His owners turned him in to the slaughterhouse because he was old. Neglected, with cut ears, matted hair, a mouth of bad teeth and an infected tongue, he was allowed to be rescued because he “didn’t offer much meat.” He was one of the lucky ones. Arriving in September of 2016, Willow is spreading awareness on social media and making public appearances to educate people on animal welfare topics (including the dog and cat meat trade) through non-traumatic and non-graphic ways, and presenting resources to help more of his four-legged friends. Willow travels internationally in foamboard form and poses with trade survivors. His campaign, “I Am Willow, I Am Not Food” raises flight funds for dogs. He is the mascot for a newly created Animal Rights Club at a local school, helping students advocate for change in the classroom and aiding their school in becoming the first vegan option cafeteria in the State. We are developing educational tools to use in an animal welfare speaking series for schools and conferences. He is also getting therapy dog certification to spread awareness to disabled children through animal-related books/reading programs. Willow is a voice and inspirational leader for millions of animals, not just those subjected to the dog and cat meat trade. People listen, learn and respond to Willow. He is a vehicle for raising awareness. Willow is an EMERGING HERO who will grow that status into something that makes a lifelong paw print in the animal welfare world.

Guide/Hearing Dog of the Year

Guide/Hearing Dog of the Year: Frances (Photo courtesy of American Humane Hero Dog Awards)

Frances (Staten Island, NY) – At the age of 32, I lost my eyesight from a rare complication after battling breast cancer. Over the next six months, I would have to relearn everything from crossing the street to sorting laundry. Then, the universe threw me the ultimate curveball – I found out I was pregnant! When people asked me how I planned on traveling with my baby, I responded, “I’m going to get a guide dog.” In September of 2016, Guiding Eyes for the Blind matched with me with Frances, a female yellow Labrador. Since then, “Franny” and I have become partners in both parenting and advocacy work for visually impaired parents. Now the mother of two daughters, I depend on Frances to help guide me to pre-school, doctor’s appointments and extracurricular activities. When “Franny” is not helping me meet the demands of motherhood, she accompanies me to help educate kids through our Visually Impaired Education Program (VIEP). Aimed at grades K-2, VIEP’s mission is to engage school-aged children through classroom interaction with the blind/visually impaired community; helping diminish stereotypes associated with blindness. Frances attends every presentation, a beautiful reminder about the important work of guide dogs. I believe Frances deserves to be the American Hero Guide Dog because her partnership allows me to be the woman I want to be. She helps me juggle all that comes with being a working mom while educating our community about living with vision loss.

Military Dog of the Year (category sponsored by K-9 Courage from Zoetis Petcare)

Military Dog of the Year: Sergeant. Fieldy (Photo courtesy of American Humane Hero Dog Awards)

Sergeant Fieldy (McAllen, TX) – Sgt. Fieldy is an 11-year-old Black Lab with the heart and energy of a 3-year-old who served in the U.S. Marine Corps and retired in August 2014. I am his handler and I met him in South Carolina as part of a group of specialized units formed to combat the number-one threat in Afghanistan: Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). We were deployed to Afghanistanin February 2011. We both experienced first-hand the effects of IEDs when a vehicle struck a pressure plate during a patrol and injured the occupants. Knowing that we were both targets for insurgent observers, we worked tirelessly to detect explosives. He alerted me and found yet another IED, a 60-pound plastic barrel containing homemade explosives. During our deployment, Sgt. Fieldy found several more IEDs and their components, which helped save countless lives during our tour. After his deployment, he was taken back for refitting and training, and I returned home. I later found out that Sgt. Fieldy deployed two more times to Afghanistan and continued to find more IEDs and save many more lives. After serving four tours, on Aug. 7, 2014, I was finally able to adopt him. Since then he has very much enjoyed his retirement. In Nov. 2014 he participated in the Veterans Day Parade in New York City. And in July 2016, he was honored with the K-9 Medal of Courage award on Capitol Hill, and has been recognized for his bravery and courageous sacrifice on several other occasions. He has made a life-changing impact on my life. He is my hero!

Search and Rescue Dog of the Year

Search and Rescue Dog of the Year: Ruby (Photo courtesy of American Humane Hero Dog Awards)

Ruby (East Greenwich, RI) – In October of 2017, a teenage boy went missing from his home in the town of Gloucester. After 36 hours and failed attempts to find him, the Gloucester Police Department requested the services of the Rhode Island State Police K-9 Division. K-9 Ruby and I answered the call and responded to the scene along with other K-9 teams. As part of normal protocol, I briefly interviewed the boy’s mother. During the conversation, it was revealed that the boy’s mother had volunteered her services working with Ruby six years ago at the RISPCA and fostered her each time she was returned. After hours of searching, K-9 Ruby and I were ultimately successful in finding the missing teenager, but unfortunately, he was found in grave medical condition. The state police and EMS services removed the boy from the scene and transported him to a local hospital where he made a full recovery. If it were not for the effort of the state police and especially K-9 Ruby, that young boy’s life may have been lost. You can think what you may, but I believe that was Ruby’s way of saying thank you to the boy’s mother for taking care of her during her rough beginning. Ruby was given a chance at life and ended up saving a life. With the efforts of two organizations (RISP and RISPCA) and a handful of amazing and dedicated people, great things can happen. Ruby will also be featured in a soon-to-be-released award-winning film, which documents her rescue, her rigorous training to become a certified Search & Rescue K9, and accompanies her on her first official searches with her handler, Daniel O’Neil.

Service Dog of the Year (category sponsored by Modern Dog magazine)

Service Dog of the Year: Roxy (Photo courtesy of American Humane Hero Dog Awards)

Roxy (Canton, NC) – Hello, everyone. My name is Justin. I am a disabled veteran from the Iraq war. I was deployed to Iraq as a U.S. Army infantry soldier. While in Baghdad during my 2006 deployment, I was blown up by an IED. I now suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Once I was out of the military, I received Roxy as a fully trained PTS Service Dog from Off Leash K9 Training in Asheville, North Carolina. Roxy is trained in basic and advanced obedience, with three Canine Good Citizenship Awards. Roxy has been trained to indicate on my anxiety, so she can help alert me before the PTS gets out of control. She helps provide a distraction, so I can concentrate on something else besides the PTS. She helps me on a daily basis with simple life tasks. If it wasn’t for her showing me that it’s okay to be in society, I probably wouldn’t be here today. I take Roxy to our local V.A. hospital to help share Roxy’s ability with other Veterans. We enjoy bringing happiness and joy to the veterans of the V.A. Most people have never seen a pit bull as a service dog, but once they meet Roxy and see what she does, you can tell how much they really enjoy meeting her. We really hope Roxy can be the next top Hero Dog, to help continue to show the world that pit bulls are good dogs, but also amazing service dogs. We appreciate your time in reading our story. Please help Roxy get to the top! Thank you for your support. God bless our Troops and our veterans until they all come home.

Each of the seven finalists received $2,500 to be donated to one of American Humane’s charity partners. Chi Chi won an additional $5,000 for her charity, Pet Partners. In this way, more heroes may be nurtured.

Efforts Featured to Help Repay Our Best Friends and Those Who Protect Our Country

During the awards, two special video packages were presented about efforts by American Humane to help repay the debt we owe mankind’s best friend and those who protect our country. The first featured American Humane’s “Pups4Patriots” program, a national effort supported by Hallmark Channel, that rescues abandoned animals in need of forever homes and trains them to become lifesaving service dogs for veterans coping with Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury. Saving lives at both ends of the leash, the Pups4Patriots program seeks to help stem the tide of pet euthanasia and veteran suicide. Following the presentation, Dr. Ganzert led the audience in an ovation to recognize and honor the 130 veterans and their families in the audience. A second video featured a recent effort to assist more of the animals around the country who desperately require medical care after being abandoned or whose owners cannot afford to have them treated. In August, American Humane rallied an army of volunteers to the help animals at St. Landry Parish Animal Shelter in Louisiana.  Seven veterinarians, including Dr. Mike McFarland of Zoetis Petcare and the renowned Dr. Marty Becker, as well as more than 50 veterinary and veterinary nursing students volunteered their time for this project. Zoetis Petcare provided all the medicines and supplies needed to treat 230 dogs, 45 cats, and six horses. Not only did their efforts help prepare these animals for adoption locally; several were flown to Los Angeles for the Hero Dog Awards, where they were presented for adoption by an enthusiastic audience all too willing to take them home.

Heroes Who Save and Keep Our Hero Pets Healthy All Year Round Honored

Behind every hero pet is a hero vet or vet tech.  Each year at the Hero Dog Awards, American Humane also announced the winners of its Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards. Dr. David Chico from Albany, New York, as named 2018’s American Hero Veterinarian, and Tammy Boland of Oceanport, New Jersey was declared 2018’s American Hero Veterinary Nurse.

“To us, all vets and vet techs are heroes and this is why we want to honor the best of the best in their fields,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane president and CEO. “Indeed, Dr. Chico and Ms. Boland are tremendous animal welfare advocates and we are so proud to learn of their laudable accomplishments aiding the animals in need in their communities and beyond. And our thanks go out to our friends at Zoetis Petcare for sponsoring this special national campaign because we know how committed they are to recognizing the achievements of the veterinary community.”

“Zoetis Petcare is honored to sponsor these awards that recognize the extraordinary veterinarians and veterinary nurses who help keep the pets in our lives happy and healthy, strengthening the powerful human-animal bond between pets and the families who love them,” said J. Michael McFarland, executive director of Zoetis Petcare marketing. “Dr. Chico and Tammy have raised the bar for other veterinary professionals in the field through their inspiring service and compassionate care for animals.”

Hero Dog Awards Host and Animal Advocate Beth Stern Wins Surprise Award

Longtime Hero Dog Awards co-host and animal advocate Beth Stern was surprised with Hallmark’s “Adoption Ever After” for her work in helping thousands of shelter animals find forever homes. The award, which brought an ovation from the 700+ guests at the Hero Dog Awards gala, was presented by Real Housewives of New York’s Carole Radziwill.
                                                                

And Thanks to Sponsors

Finally, American Humane honored the many generous sponsors who support the Hero Dog Awards and made them possible. “We thank the animals, their dedicated owners and handlers, and the generous sponsors who have helped bring about that recognition,” said Dr. Ganzert. “Thank you to Lois Pope and the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation; Hallmark Channel; Zoetis Petcare, the Hero Dog Awards corporate sponsor and sponsor of the Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards; Military Dog sponsor K-9 Courage Program from Zoetis Petcare; Law Enforcement/Arson Dog sponsor K-9 Courage Program from Zoetis Petcare; Emerging Hero Dog sponsor, the maker of NexGard® (afoxolaner) Chewables; Service Dog sponsor Modern Dog Magazine; and Therapy Dog sponsor Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food, the official pet food of the 2018 Hero Dog Awards. Dogs may be our best friends, but these caring organizations are theirs.”

About American Humane
American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. For more information, please visit www.americanhumane.org.

About Lois Pope, The Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., and LIFE (Leaders in Furthering Education)
As one of America’s leading philanthropists, Lois Pope has positively impacted the lives of individuals at the local, national and international levels. She has established three separate organizations dedicated to helping those in need. These organizations are the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., Leaders In Furthering Education (LIFE), and the Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation.  For more than 20 years she has been the driving force behind the Lois Pope LIFE Center at the University of Miami School of Medicine, The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, and a groundbreaking new program with American Humane in Palm Beach County. Lois Pope has recently donated several Lois Pope Rescue Vehicles. Each rescue vehicle is a 50-foot long response unit, complete with a Ford F-350 truck and trailer, which is specifically designed and outfitted to provide an array of animal emergency services and cruelty responses within the region.

On October 5, 2014, Mrs. Pope saw the completion of a decades-long dream – the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, which was dedicated by President Obama in Washington DC.  It will stand in perpetuity as a reminder to the public and legislators of the courage and sacrifices of the four million-plus living disabled veterans and all those who died before them, as well as the need to be vigilant in assuring their support and understanding the human cost of war.  Through her advocacy, October 5 every year will serve as a National Day of Honor for disabled veterans.

A mother and a grandmother, Lois has trained for and completed five New York City Marathons.

About Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Channel is Crown Media Family Networks’ flagship 24-hour cable television network, distributed nationwide in high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) to 88 million homes. As the country’s leading destination for quality family entertainment, Hallmark Channel delivers on the 100-year legacy of the Hallmark brand. In addition to its signature new, original movies, the network features an ambitious lineup of other new, original content, including scripted primetime series, such as “Good Witch,” “When Calls the Heart” and “Chesapeake Shores“; annual specials including “Kitten Bowl” and “Hero Dog Awards”; and a daily, two-hour lifestyle show, “Home & Family.”  Additionally, Hallmark Channel is the exclusive home to world premiere presentations of the acclaimed Hallmark Hall of Fame franchise. Dedicated to helping viewers celebrate life’s special moments, Hallmark Channel also offers annual holiday programming franchises, including “Countdown to Christmas,” “Countdown to Valentine’s Day,” “Summer Nights,” “Fall Harvest” and “Winterfest.” Rounding out the network’s diverse slate are some of television’s most beloved comedies and series, including “The Golden Girls” and “Frasier.”

Hallmark Cards, Inc. owns and operates Crown Media Family Networks.
To visit the network website, please visit www.hallmarkchannel.com 
Hallmark Channel on Social Media: FacebookTwitterPinterestYouTube

About Zoetis
Zoetis is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products, genetic tests, biodevices and a range of services. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2017, the company generated annual revenue of $5.3 billion with approximately 9,000 employees. For more information, visit www.zoetis.com.

About Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food
Chicken Soup for the Soul understands the unique relationship between people and pets. Health conscious consumers have been feeding their cats and dogs Chicken Soup for the Soul wholesome and balanced, super premium pet food for over 15 years. Holistic in nature, the entire line of products is made from only the finest ingredients: real meats, fruits, vegetables and herbs. With no added corn, wheat, soy, artificial coloring, flavoring or preservatives, Chicken Soup for the Soul pet food is inspired by your love for pets, and promotes overall health and well-being for dogs and cats. The products are proudly made in the USA, and feature rescued shelter pets on every bag. Core and grain-free formulas and a line of treats are available in independent pet specialty stores nationwide and online.

A portion of all proceeds from the sale of Chicken Soup for the Soul pet food goes to help shelters and pets in need through Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Fill-a-Bowl … Feed-a-Soul™ program. The program, which was launched in association with the American Humane, aims to provide over a million meals to shelter pets annually. www.chickensouppets.com.

About Modern Dog magazine
Modern Dog — “the best dog magazine ever” and the #1 dog publication in North America — is a must-read for dog lovers. Your source for the best ideas and solutions for life with dogs, Modern Dog features training tips, insight into your dog’s behavior, the best gear, wellness, rescue, DIY how-tos, contests and more! A large part of Modern Dog’s mission is to support rescue and the organizations that work tirelessly to help dogs in need. Find Modern Dog online — www.moderndogmagazine.com — on newsstands across North America, and on all major social platforms. Modern Dog, your guide to a better bond with your dog!

2018 Kitten Bowl: Hallmark Channel brings event to Super Bowl Live at Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis

January 22, 2018

Two-Tone Jones in “Kitten Bowl V” (Photo courtesy of Hallmark Channel)

The following is a press release from Hallmark Channel:

Hallmark Channel, America’s favorite family-friendly cable television network, is recreating Kitten Bowl  live in the Dayton Building of Nicollet Mall as part of the 10-day Super Bowl Live experience in Minneapolis, MN. Nearly 100 furry “cat-letes” will take the field over a 10-day period to see which team will be crowned Feline Football League champions and take home the coveted Hissman Trophy. This year’s show is truly unique as is it includes back stories about the rescues of some of the Cat-letes – including many from the devastation of Hurricane Irma. Viewers will also see some of kittens find their forever homes, on-set, at the end of the show. Kitten Bowl is part of Super Bowl Live from Friday, January 26 at 4 p.m. Central Time and through Sunday, February 4 at 3 p.m.

Fans coming to Kitten Bowl Live Presented by Hallmark Channel will be greeted by a life-like version of Rodney Peete, former NFL great and current Kitten Bowl play-by-play announcer, in the broadcast booth.

Rodney Peete and his wife, Holly Robinson Peete, stars of Hallmark Channel’s new family reality series “Meet the Peets” will make appearances on NFL Radio Row, January 31 (2-6 p.m.), February 1 (8 a.m.Noon), and February 2 (8 a.m.-Noon), and host media at Kitten Bowl Presented by Hallmark Channel at Nicollet Mall, January 31 (8 a.m. -Noon), February 1 (2-6 p.m.), February 2 (2-6 p.m.).

Fans will tour the Purr-king Lot for pre-game tailgating and the locker room where kittens chill before hitting the field.

Next, it’s on to Hallmark Channel Stadium to see kittens claw out a victory as the felines show off their best Stefon Diggs catches and leaps through the goal posts for extra points.

Fans will memorialize the experience at the Paws of Fame Trophy Room  and capture a photo worthy of social sharing in front of the MVK (“Most Valuable Kitten”) Wall. Snap a photo with former greats of the game: Tomcat Brady, Tabby Romo, Mew Brees, Joe Montuna, and more.

Kitten Bowl is an entertainment program produced by Hallmark Channel to bring awareness to the plight of homeless animals and to show the most beautiful animals in the world are available for adoption from your own local shelter.

The final stop on the tour is the Adoption Ever After room which features shelter pets from Minneapolis and surrounding areas who need a loving and forever home. A simple act of adoption helps to clear the shelters. Kittens on the field are provided by North Shore Animal League America and all furry players are available to be adopted.

For those who cannot make it to Minnesota there are 500 Kitten Bowl parties at local shelters all across the country. To find a Kitten Bowl Party near you go to www.hallmarkchannel/kitten-bowl. Have fun and do good! Come to the Kitten Bowl Presented by Hallmark Channel, January 26 – February 4. You just might bring home the love of your life.

“Kitten Bowl V,” a three-hour original special premieres on Hallmark Channel, Sunday, February 4 (Noon and 3 p.m. ET/PT).

Kitten Bowl host Beth Stern
“Kitten Bowl” host Beth Stern (Photo courtesy of Hallmark Channel)

The following is a press release from Hallmark Channel:

January 13, 2018

Hallmark Channel brings “Kitten Bowl V” on the road to Super Bowl LII as a major activation hosted in Minneapolis, Minnesota for ten days leading up to the day of the big game. The announcement was made today as part of Crown Media Family Networks’ TV Critics Association Winter Press Tour. Beginning Friday, January 26th through Sunday, February 4th, guests taking part in all the excitement surrounding the Super Bowl can celebrate Kitten Bowl, the nation’s most beloved rescue pet adoption event of the year. Fans who visit will see kittens compete on the field at Hallmark Channel Stadium, tailgate in the purr-king lot, tour the Paws of Fame trophy room, take a photo with the Hissman trophy and share their memories via social media. Guests will even be able to take home a souvenir: an official pack of “Kitten Bowl” trading cards. The major component of the activation is to support Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After campaign and, with the help of North Shore Animal League America, kittens will be available for adoption on site.

“Bringing ‘Kitten Bowl’ to the Super Bowl is a dream come true. We have seen the franchise grow tremendously in support of animal adoption over time, evolving from entertainment into America’s most beloved national rescue pet adoption event,” said Bill Abbott, President and CEO, Crown Media Family Networks. “This is the first time Hallmark Channel will have a major media presence at the Super Bowl and the activation of ‘Kitten Bowl V’ will help elevate the network’s Adoption Ever After initiative of finding all animals forever homes.” The presence among the NFL and Super Bowl LII leads in to the kick-off of “Kitten Bowl V” premiering exclusively on the network, Sunday, February 4 (12 p.m. Eastern Time/Pacific Time). The 2018 version of “Kitten Bowl” features countless displaced kittens rescued from some of the country’s recent natural disasters of 2017, all of whom will be vying for the National Championship of Feline Football trophy – and a loving, forever home in which to display it.

TV personality, author and animal advocate Beth Stern hosts this year’s television event. Stern embodies the spirit of adoption in her everyday life, having fostered countless animals in need. Stern’s tireless, year-round efforts to find homes for animals makes her a synergistic fit to lead the charge for “Kitten Bowl V,” truly a super day of adorable pets. On the day of the big game, four-time Pro Bowl quarterback and Feline Football League Commissioner Boomer Esiason calls the play-by-play action making “Kitten Bowl V” super Sunday’s MUST-SEE viewing party. Hallmark Channel’s Dean Cain, Alison Sweeney and former NFL star Rodney Peete, animal lovers and adoption advocates, provide commentary throughout the event, in addition to heartwarming adoption stories.

North Shore Animal League America and Last Hope Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation rescued the 2018 team. “Kitten Bowl” is part of Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After pet initiative, which highlights the plight of homeless animals and the joys rescued and adopted pets bring into our lives.

Hallmark Channel unveils Adoption Ever After, a new initiative for homeless pets

January 13, 2018

Adoption Ever After

The following is a press release from Hallmark Channel:

Hallmark Channel, the country’s leading provider of family friendly entertainment, announced today the rebranding of its corporate pet initiative with a new name, logo, and reinforced commitment to educating the public about the many rewards of pet adoption.  Originally launched as Pet Project in 2012, the campaign has been rebranded as Adoption Ever After, bringing the core call to action – adopt – to the forefront.  Working in collaboration with the country’s leading animal rescue and welfare organizations, activists, distribution and advertising partners, and celebrity influencers, Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After aims to dismantle common misconceptions about shelter animals, provide resources, inspire the public to adopt, and ultimately put an end to this country’s epidemic of pet homelessness. As Adoption Ever After grows, Crown Media will forge new partnerships with other companies and brands to raise awareness for shelter animals.

The first such partnership is with Bissell and Bissell Pet Foundation, which works tirelessly on their “Empty the Shelters” campaign.  Proving that highly successful brands can band together.  The hope is that this venture is the first of many alliances that will help clear the shelters.  “Every year, millions of perfectly healthy and lovable animals needlessly die in shelters – and while progress has been made in recent years, we still have a long way to go in the movement against pet homelessness,” said Crown Media Family Networks President & CEO, Bill Abbott.  “With Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After, we are honored to give these animals a platform, spark a national dialog about the importance of adoption, and save lives.”

The initiative includes such programming elements as “Kitten Bowl,” “Hero Dog Awards,” “American Rescue Dog Show” and daily pet adoption segments on “Home & Family,” as well as off-air elements, grassroots efforts, social media outreach and strategic partnerships.  In addition, Hallmark Channel’s two shelter pet mascots, Happy the Dog and Happy the Cat, continue to embody the beauty, intelligence and lovability of adopted pets on-air and through public appearances.

Hallmark Channel debuts ‘2018 American Rescue Dog Show’

January 13, 2018

"2018 American Rescue Dog Show" (Photo by Jeremy Lee/Alexx Henry Studios)
“2018 American Rescue Dog Show” (Photo by Jeremy Lee/Alexx Henry Studios)

The following is a press release from Hallmark Channel:

Hallmark Channel’s inaugural “2018 American Rescue Dog Show” premieres exclusively on the network on February 19, 2018 (8 p.m. ET/PT). The special features shelter dogs of various breeds from across the country vying for top dog in the world’s most adorable categories. The “2018 American Rescue Dog Show” is hosted by Rebecca Romijn and Rich Eisen, with celebrity judges Linda Blair, Rick Springfield, Brandon McMillan, Ross Matthews, Andrea Arden and Larissa Wohl covering all the action ringside. The announcement was made today as part of Crown Media Family Networks’ TV Critics Association Winter Press Tour.

The “2018 American Rescue Dog Show” will focus on the heartfelt traits and benefits of mixed breeds and rescued purebreds. Breeds competing for first place include Basset Hounds, English Bull Dogs, Maltese, St. Bernard, Mixed Breeds and many more. Categories they are competing for include Best in Couch Potato, Best in Wiggle Butt, Best in Underbite, Best in Talking, Best in Snoring, Best in Senior Dog, Best in Fetcher, Best in Kissing, Best in Special Needs and Best in Listener. The top 10 dogs will face off in the finals of which one will be crowned Best in Rescue. In addition to competition in the ring, the show will highlight heartwarming stories of courageous dogs who have overcome tremendous odds to be rescued and find forever homes.

“We are proud to honor rescue pets and raise awareness of how truly special these animals are,” said Bill Abbott, President and CEO, Crown Media Family Networks. “There are beautiful animals available at local shelters and we encourage our viewers to choose adoption through our pet programming, which is at the heart of our brand.” The mission of the “2018 American Rescue Dog Show” is to celebrate rescue dogs in a personality-driven competition. The goal of the show is to spotlight these incredible pets and inspire viewers to adopt their next dog from their local shelter or rescue organization.

Whether already in homes or waiting to be adopted, these dogs are all heart and full of personality. The pedigree of these dogs is pure love. Serving as the show’s official mascot is the network’s own rescued and adopted pet, Happy the Dog. In addition to starring in movies and specials, Happy the Dog is a certified therapy dog and emotional support animal.

“2018 American Rescue Dog Show” is produced by Michael Levitt Productions. Executive Producers Michael Levitt and Jennifer Schulz are both animal advocates and rescuers whose lives are dedicated to increasing awareness of pet adoption. Levitt, an accomplished TV producer, and Schulz, a communications professional for pet brands and organizations, joined forces to create a show that is both entertaining and heart-warming. Their goal is to celebrate rescue dogs with the hope of inspiring Hallmark Channel viewers to adopt their next pet.

Lastly, the Petco Foundation is providing $75,000 in non-profit grants to the winners and AdoptAPet.com will be showcased throughout the show as a great resource for viewers to find their next pet.

 

2017 Kitten Bowl: See all the cute photos and videos

February 6, 2017

Beth Stern and John Sterling (Photo by Marc Lemoine/Crown Media United States, LLC)

“Kitten Bowl”  is an annual feline “catstravaganza” that airs on Super Bowl Sunday and is presented in association with North Shore Animal League America (the nation’s largest no-kill shelter and animal adoption organization) and Last Hope Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation. Hosted by Beth Stern, a TV personality and national spokesperson for North Shore Animal League America, “Kitten Bowl” is a star-studded lineup that includes legendary New York Yankees radio voice John Sterling and referee Chuck Nice. Hallmark Channel aired the fourth annual “Kitten Bowl” in the U.S. on February 5, 2017. Here are videos and photos from the event.

(All photos by Marc Lemoine/Crown Media United States, LLC)

 

March Madness-inspired ‘Meow Madness’ kitten basketball TV special debuts on Hallmark Channel

January 7, 2017

Kittens in the inaugural "Meow Madness" TV special.
Kittens in the inaugural “Meow Madness” TV special. (Photo courtesy of Hallmark Channel)

The following is a press release from Hallmark Channel:

Hallmark Channel, the exclusive home of kitten  sports and the highly rated “Kitten Bowl” franchise , announces the network’s latest  pet-centric  programming  buzzer  beater , “Meow Madness ,” a Hallmark  Channel  Original  Special Event, will  premiere at 8 p.m. ET on April 3 , 2017.

“Meow Madness” features author and animal advocate  Beth  Stern as host and Peabody Award-winning  reporter  Mary  Carillo as commentator.  The  special will showcase adoptable kittens in the most competitive tournament the basketball world  has ever seen. Hallmark Channel  enjoys home court  advantage for the inaugural “Meow Madness” special as 100 adorable, adoptable “cat-letes” purr-fect an unstoppable zone defense while taking shots  from the “flea throw” zone as  each team claw s its way to “The Final Fur.”

“Meow Madness” is produced by 3 Ball Entertainment.  Executive Producers are Todd A.  Nelson, Ross Weintraub, DJ Nurre and Jeff Altrockm,  with Kathy Sutula serving as co-executive  producer.  3 Ball Entertainment credits include “Extreme Weight Loss” (ABC), “Bar Rescue” (Spike)  and “My Cat From Hell” (Animal Planet), among others.

Check out these “Meow Madness” videos: