Have or know a furry, four-legged companion worthy of the title hero?
It's open nomination time for the annual American Humane Hero Dog Awards. Since 2011, Americans have cast millions of votes for thousands of dogs competing for the award.
American Humane, an organization founded in 1877 to promote the welfare and safety of animals, will accept submissions until March 10 at 3 p.m. Eastern time. While there are seven categories, including service and law enforcement dogs, American Humane encourages the submission of military dogs.
"We believe it is important to recognize and honor the extraordinary feats and acts of devotion these heroic animals perform every day," Robin Ganzert, the organization's president and CEO, said in a statement. "We encourage those who know how valuable these courageous canines are to nominate a deserving K-9 warrior and help provide them the recognition they so greatly deserve."
The group has included military dogs in its core categories since the beginning of the competition "because of the lifesaving work these courageous canines do for our country," Mark Stubis from American Humane said in an email.
The other categories are law enforcement, guide/hearing, service, therapy, shelter, and search and rescue dogs. Last year's winner was Alice, a service dog helping a 13-year-old boy who is severely disabled after being shot in the head.
After the nomination period, the public will vote for the top three dogs in each category from March 26 to May 7. Then, celebrity judges, along with the public, will weigh in on the second round of voting from May 28 to July 16.
The public will cast its last votes at the end of July for one of the finalists to become the 2020 American Hero Dog. The winner will be unveiled at the American Humane Hero Dog Awards gala in Los Angeles on Sept. 26, which will be broadcast on the Hallmark Channel.
-- Dorothy Mills-Gregg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @DMillsGregg.