The American Humane organization is hosting its annual Hero Dog Awards — with the announcement of the winner coming on Veterans Day 2022.
The group, headquartered in Washington, D.C., was founded in 1877. It's the country’s first national humane organization committed to animals.
The Hero Dog Awards is a competition held to recognize America’s Hero Dogs in seven different categories: law enforcement and detection, service, therapy, military, search and rescue, guide/hearing and shelter dogs.
The president and CEO of American Humane, Dr. Robin Ganzert, told Fox News Digital the awards are special.
"Dogs competing in the Hero Dog Awards come from all across the country and are each unique in their own way," she said.
"But what is universal is the love and joy that each brings to the lives of those around them."
"We all need more light and love in our lives, and that is what the Hero Dog Awards is all about."
The winner will be chosen by a combination of public votes and decisions from a judging panel. The judges include celebrities Ariel Winter and Alison Sweeney.
The American Hero Dog will be announced on Friday, November 11, 2022, at a gala in Palm Beach, Florida.
Meet the finalists in each category, below, according to American Humane.
In October 2021, K9 Riggs was on duty in Chicago, Illinois, when deputies were dispatched to a gas station in an attempt to locate a stolen vehicle.
After the suspects fled the vehicle by foot, K9 Riggs’ handler Deputy Terry Tifft allowed Riggs to apprehend the suspects.
Although successful in his deployment, K9 Riggs was shot by the suspect in the forehead, with the bullet exiting below his right ear.
K9 Riggs was taken to a trauma center — and miraculously, made a full recovery.
Recon is a service dog for a retired bomb squad technician in Suffolk, Virginia.
His owner, Bobby, suffers from traumatic brain injury and struggles to balance and pick items up off the floor.
Recon provides stability for Bobby — and has helped him regain a sense of purpose.
After falling during a 5K virtual event in August 2021, Bobby sent Recon to find help — leaving him stranded.
Shortly after, Bobby heard someone calling for him. He believes Recon saved his life that day.
Cole is a deaf pup in Millville, New Jersey, who is working to change the stigma around deaf dogs.
Although labeled as a special needs dog, Cole works to change people’s minds about understanding the ability within special needs. He is a certified therapy dog and goes to "work" every day with his "dad," an elementary school music teacher.
There, he teaches acceptance to students. He is also the mascot of the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home and works as a hospice therapy dog companion.
Iiken is a 15-year-old black Labrador specialized search dog in Casa Grande, Arizona.
He grew up in the Lackland Air Force Base puppy program — and at one point was deployed to Afghanistan.
Halfway through his tour, the vehicle he was in ran over an IED, an improvised explosive device — injuring Iiken. The dog then needed to have surgery and go through rehabilitation treatments.
He made an incredible recovery and was assigned to the Marine Corps, where he was again deployed to Afghanistan.
He saved countless lives and retired in 2016. Today, he continues to serve his community in Arizona.
Keb is a search and rescue dog from Edmonds, Washington. She began training as an air scent dog — finding live victims very easily.
From there, she trained to be a dual-purpose human remains detective dog.
Keb is fearless, American Humane has been told — and within a few years had multiple search and rescue disciplines under her belt, such as wilderness air scent, human remains detection and avalanche rescue and first responder disaster.
She played a large role in the March 2014 Oso landslide in Oso, Washington — which claimed 43 lives. Keb was responsible for finding three of the individuals who lost their lives in that mudslide.
Keb’s owner believes the dog has positively impacted lives.
Kinley is a guide dog in Austin, Texas, who helps his owner live through chronic trauma.
Kinley’s owner was sexually assaulted by a close friend, causing her to no longer feel safe in her own space and in her day-to-day life.
Kinley’s owner said Kinley has remained by her side through PTSD, anxiety and self-doubt — noting he is bright, curious, sensitive and loving.
Ethan is a shelter dog from Jeffersonville, Indiana, who came to his shelter in a horrific way. The dog was dumped in a parking lot in January 2021 — and was dying. Ethan was only 38 pounds when he should have been over 80 pounds.
After fighting to recover each and every day, Ethan took his first steps after six days in intensive care.
He persevered — and today lives a life full of encouraging others.
He was adopted into a home and is taken anywhere the owner goes — putting a smile on people’s faces.
Ethan’s owner believes Ethan is a shelter and rescue dog at heart, but that he rescues his owner every single day.
Stay tuned for news of the winner of the contest!