Sign In

Hero With Four Paws

May 5, 2020

 A partially paralyzed, blind dog may not fit the traditional definition of a hero, but in Ann Carpenter’s eyes, Bella is that and more.

That’s why Ms. Carpenter has entered her 11-year-old Boston terrier/pug mix, a certified therapy dog, in the 2020 American Humane Hero Dog Awards.

Bella is competing against 360 other canines in the therapy dog category of the 10th annual competition, sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation.

Bella, a dog Ms. Carpenter adopted in 2018 from the local animal rescue group Misplaced Mutts, was paralyzed in the rear legs during a previous accident. She has been equipped with a special stroller that allows her to remain mobile.

Despite being paralyzed and partially blind, Bella was certified as a therapy dog through Love on a Leash in February. So far she has visited area nursing homes and the Autism Society of N.C. in Morehead City.

“I think her story inspires people,” Ms. Carpenter said Thursday. “She helps people realize it’s OK to be different and you can do anything despite the obstacles.”

Ms. Carpenter, who has been diagnosed with autism, believes in Bella’s story so much she self-published a children’s book about her dog, Bella the Wonder Dog.

“Bella does not let her disability define or limit her and I wrote the book to encourage children to embrace their differences,” Ms. Carpenter said. “She has taught me so much and has helped calm me and helped me remain grounded. I guess you could say we both know how to persevere.”

To that end, Ms. Carpenter decided to enter Bella in the therapy dog category of the competition, which involves people voting for their favorite dog in one of seven categories. The goal of the event is to identify and honor America’s bravest canine heroes and their owners and culminates in the fall with the “American Humane Hero Dog Awards” on Hallmark Channel.

The two-hour special, now in its 10th year, is broadcast in conjunction with the network’s pet adoption advocacy initiative, Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After, which aims to empty animal shelters and end the country’s homeless pet epidemic, according to the organization’s website.

Top dogs will be selected in seven categories for 2020: therapy dogs, law enforcement dogs, military dogs, service dogs, shelter dogs, search and rescue dogs and guide/hearing dogs.

The nomination period for 2020 closed March 10, and the voting period has begun.

 The top three semifinalists in each category will advance to the second round of voting, which takes place Thursday, May 28-Thursday, July 16, when the field is narrowed to the top dog in each category. Then, a final overall winner is selected by voting from Thursday, July 30-Thursday, Sept. 10. The winners in each category and the overall winner will be recognized during the 2020 American Hero Dog show in September.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Oscar The Blind Dog

    In the weeks leading up to a heated presidential election, another close race played out that had dog lovers across the country faithfully voting online every 24 hours for their favorite furry friends. For four weeks, from Sept. 10 to Oct. 9, nearly 1 million votes were cast in Garden & Gun magazine’s Good Dog […]

    Read more

    Genius Dog Challenge

    Six dogs are competing to become the world’s smartest dog – a title reserved for the pooch that learns words the fastest. Shany Dror is a driving force behind the Genius Dog Challenge, which is live streamed on Facebook and YouTube every week until December 16, when the winner will be announced. The canine challenge […]

    Read more

    Finding Homes For Dogs

    Adoptable Animal Rescue Force gives back to the community by finding the right homes for dogs. We’ve been a Teller County nonprofit, no-kill rescue since 1999. Social networking has allowed us to expand our services in recent years to include dogs coming in from high kill shelters in New Mexico and Texas. There are times […]

    Read more

    Service Dog Retiring

    Talking to police or giving testimony at a courthouse, can be a scary experience for many. Since 2014, service dogs have been allowed in the courtroom to provide emotional support for those in need. For Emery Baert, having Madison with her made a huge difference. “If she wasn’t there, to this day, I wouldn’t know […]

    Read more

    A Shelter Dog's Life

    The sound of paws and claws precedes Isabella’s entrance. She bursts out of the Worcester Animal Rescue League’s front door, dragging Sara McClure, WARL’s dog program coordinator, behind her. McClure has two hands on Izzy’s bright red leash as the pit bull mix comes barreling into the parking lot. McClure motions for me to take […]

    Read more

    Veterans Court Therapy Dog

    Howard County Superior Court II Judge Brant Parry stood in his courtroom last week and looked around like he had lost something. “You want to see her?” he asked, still looking around the mostly empty room. A few moments later, a brown fluff of fur came bounding through an open back door, prompting instant smiles […]

    Read more