St. Robert, MO

Maverick came into this world with a clear purpose: to uplift the spirits of our American troops and their loved ones through his incredible work with the USO. As a six-year-old, 150-pound Great Dane, he carries the weight of our nation’s heroes’ traumas, emotions, and injuries, offering solace and comfort.
Maverick possesses a remarkable ability to bring comfort to others with simple touch of his paw. On a daily basis, you can find him welcoming our troops at the USO, providing them with a taste of home that they yearn for. His exceptional intuition allows him to empathize with their emotions, and he actively works with the military in suicide watch, demonstrating the true essence of unconditional love and guiding them towards healing.

When Maverick is not supporting our troops, he dedicates himself to the most courageous individuals of all—our military children. He accompanies them during the burial ceremonies of their fallen family members, serving as a steadfast source of strength during these challenging times. Within schools, he has become a beloved presence, lighting up the faces of children who eagerly shout his name with excitement when they spot him in the corridors. Maverick cherishes spending time with children, offering support as they practice their reading skills and providing a compassionate ear to help them navigate difficult situations such as deployments, loss, illness, and more.

Whether it’s the darkest hours or the happiest moments, Maverick is there for our troops and their families. He is their hero, making him an exceptional candidate to be the next American Humane Hero Dog, following in the footsteps of those who came before him.

Emerging Hero and Shelter


Perkasie, PA

Raina, an exceptional soul, entered the world without the precious senses of sight or hearing. Throughout her journey, Raina steadfastly remained by her owner’s side, united in their selfless dedication to the noble cause of the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance. Together, they invested countless hours in raising funds and raising awareness about the unique needs of dogs like Raina, all while Raina and her owner fostered other dogs with special needs, providing them a chance to find loving homes.

Raina is incredibly brave and fearless, swimming in the ocean and hiking mountains. Everywhere she goes, Raina demonstrates that disability does not limit possibilities. Her owner, a music teacher, developed the innovative Lending a Paw program, blending music education with community service. Through this program, students performed in fundraising concerts for local shelters. Later, Raina and her owner collaborated on a Public Service Announcement (PSA) about visible and invisible disabilities. The video gained recognition from REELabilities, a film organization supporting performers with disabilities.

Raina’s spirit has become a beacon of hope for dogs with special needs, offering them a precious second chance at a life filled with love and belonging. Through her remarkable journey, Raina has become a transformative force, inspiring countless children to understand the profound value of selfless giving. She has nurtured a generation of compassionate individuals eager to make meaningful contributions to their communities. Raina reminds us that life’s most beautiful moments often arise from the unlikeliest and most challenging circumstances.

Law Enforcement and First Responder


Columbia, SC

In a world where safety and security are paramount, there exists a remarkable Labrador Retriever named Poppy, who possesses skills in detecting firearms and explosives. Poppy’s impact extends beyond her exceptional detection skills. She holds a significant place in the heart of law enforcement detection and community engagement and service. Throughout her dedicated tour of duty, Poppy stands as a companion and a living embodiment of what it truly means to be a hero.

Each day, Poppy embarks on her mission, approaching her work with enthusiasm and a heartwarming smile. She roams the sprawling USC campus, allowing students the opportunity to interact with her, while providing safety resources, presentations, and a comforting presence. Poppy becomes an integral part of safety presentations, ensuring that every USC student is well-equipped with knowledge and empowered to face any challenges that may arise. Furthermore, she is a constant presence at community events, whether it be food drives, sporting events, or engaging with students in schools.

Poppy’s exceptional capabilities have garnered well-deserved recognition, establishing her as one of the finest working canines in the country. The medals she proudly bears are a testament to her dedication and outstanding performance. Over the past two years, Poppy has triumphed in the USPCA trials, securing second place twice, as well as third and fourth place. These accolades serve as a testament to her skills and tireless commitment to her craft.

Canine Poppy, a true embodiment of bravery and devotion, has touched the lives of many. In a world where safety is cherished, Poppy stands tall, reminding us that heroes come in many forms.

Service and Guide/Hearing


Ballwin, MO

Throughout her five years of existence, with four of those years dedicated to being a service dog, Moxie has consistently provided invaluable assistance in various ways. One remarkable incident exemplifying her exceptional support occurred when her owner urgently needed an ambulance but couldn’t locate their phone. Despite her owner’s immobilization on the steps and enduring severe pain, Moxie diligently searched the house and successfully retrieved the phone, enabling her owner to contact emergency services. Remarkably, Moxie went above and beyond by fetching her owner’s shoes and opening the door for the paramedics. This extraordinary event highlights Moxie’s unwavering dedication and unwavering support.

Moxie, a symbol of courage and spirited determination, serves as an inspiration in overcoming obstacles. Her owner, deeply grateful for her impact, has now committed themselves to a greater purpose: providing service dogs to those in need and delivering education and awareness on service dogs to schools and various groups. Through this noble service, Moxie not only transforms her owner’s life but also positively influences the lives of numerous individuals.

As a trusted teammate, Moxie faithfully accompanies her owner wherever her presence is required. Whether it involves coaching tennis, engaging in pool-based physical therapy sessions, or simply running errands, Moxie stands by her owner’s side as a steadfast companion, always ready to offer assistance whenever it is needed. Moxie’s unwavering loyalty and unwavering dedication unquestionably make her a hero in the eyes of her owner and all those whose lives she touches.



Oceanside, CA

In 2021, K9 Buda embarked on an incredible journey, completing the Explosive Detection Canine Course at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX, conducted by the TSA. This marked the beginning of a remarkable assignment with the Maritime Security Response Team West of the United States Coast Guard. Among the elite group of only eighteen certified explosive detection canines in the Coast Guard, K9 Buda embraced diverse operational roles in a multitude of environments.

K9 Buda’s achievements are nothing short of awe-inspiring, having actively participated in over 185 operational deployments and engagements, lending support to both national and local. From Superbowl LVI in Los Angeles to The World Athletic Championships in Eugene, Oregon, K9 Buda fearlessly served during San Francisco Fleet Week, conducted New Year’s Eve sweeps in Las Vegas, safeguarded the Farmers Open PGA event at Torrey Pines in San Diego, and he played a pivotal role in eight Coast Guard drug offloads totaling $195 million worth of contraband. This exceptional canine also carried out 75 vessel sweeps, protected five marathons, added security to seven music festivals and ten parades, and responded to six high school bomb threats. Moreover, K9 Buda’s unwavering dedication extended to countless dignitary and motorcade sweeps, leaving no stone unturned. As if these extraordinary endeavors weren’t enough, K9 Buda selflessly volunteered at local San Diego schools, participating in job fairs and educational engagements, imparting invaluable knowledge and leaving a lasting impact.

K9 Buda resides in Oceanside, CA. He enjoys activities such as going to the beach, sun-bathing in the backyard, and hiking in his downtime. He is honored to be considered for this award.