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Winners of the Third Annual Dogs of Valor Awards

  • Kenai, Third Annual Valor Dog of the Year. Todd Smarr.

  • Calamity Jane, First Runner Up- Third Annual Valor Dog of the Year and People's Hero. Shar Pauley.

  • Benson: Second Runner Up- Third Annual Valor Dog of the Year. Linda Hamilton.

We are pleased to announce the winners of the Third Annual Dogs of Valor Awards. Our panel of celebrity judges, including Kristin Bell, Sally Pressman, and Jay Kopelman, chose the Third Annual Valor Dog of the Year and Runners Up. You chose the People's Hero winner! 

Scroll through the image slider to see this year's winning dogs.  Visit the Hall of Fame to meet other past Dogs of Valor winners.



Valor Dog of the Year


Owners: Todd Smarr and Michelle Sewald
Erie, CO

It was 4 a.m. when Kenai, a 14-year-old Bernese mountain dog mix, started to whine and bark. One of her owners, Todd Smarr, heard Kenai and immediately felt there must be something wrong. Todd, along Kenai’s other owner Michelle Sewald, and their friend Karen Hull, were staying in the basement of a vacation house during a weekend getaway with family and friends. When he got up to comfort Kenai, Karen stood up and said she didn’t feel well. Todd woke his wife, Michelle, so she could help Karen, and right away they all realized that none of them felt well. That’s when Michelle collapsed into Todd’s arms, unconscious. They rushed upstairs, woke their friends, and after a quick discussion, realized there must be a carbon monoxide leak. The seven adults, two children, and four dogs, escaped to fresh air. Authorities determined the leak was coming from the stove and the highest threat had been in the basement. Todd was treated at a local hospital and Michelle and Karen were flown to a hospital in Denver and treated in a hyperbaric chamber.

First Runner Up- Valor Dog of the Year & People's Hero

Calamity Jane

Owners: Homer and Shar Pauley
Aledo, TX

Calamity Jane was still recovering from having her leg amputated following an old gunshot wound and giving birth to a litter of seven puppies when her foster mom, Shar Pauley, took her and the family’s other two dogs outside for a break on a cold January night. Suddenly, Calamity Jane bolted to the neighbor’s yard, hackles raised, and began barking and growling with ferocious intensity. Shar then heard a car door slam and watched a car speed out of her neighbor’s driveway. She grabbed the dogs and hurried back inside. Minutes later, the neighbor came to their door and asked them to call 911. His family and guests, including two children, had been held at gunpoint for close to an hour during a violent home invasion. But when the intruders heard Calamity Jane, they yelled to one another that there were people outside and quickly fled the terror stricken home.

Second Runner Up- Valor Dog of the Year


Owners: Linda Hamilton and Jamie Szenher
Binghamton, NY

Around 2:30 a.m. on a cold February night, Jamie Szenher, Linda Hamilton, and her two sons were startled awake by Benson, their 5-year-old rescued Golden Retriever. His bark was unusually intense. While he usually slept in a back room with their other three dogs, that night he was positioned on a couch in the front of the house, barking at flames that were shooting out of their neighbor’s house across the street. When Hamilton and her family woke and saw the glow of the flames, they immediately rushed to their neighbor’s house and began pounding on the door, yelling for them to get out. They finally woke the family, who had just enough time to grab their children, 2 and 4, and escape. The fire, caused by a malfunctioning space heater, destroyed the house as well as the family’s two cars.

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