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Good Dogs! Winners of the Fifth Dogs of Valor Awards

Meet the brave, loving dogs who proved the strength of the bond between pets and their people

  • "Hank," Fifth Annual Valor Dog of the Year and People's Hero. Rose Brooks Center.

  • Buddy, First Runner Up for Valor Dog of the Year. Brenda Simuncak.

  • Titan, Second Runner Up for Valor Dog of the Year.  Jeff Benton.

We are pleased to announce the winners of the Fifth Annual Dogs of Valor Awards. Our panel of judges, including author and life coach for dogs, Tamar Geller, and NFL wide receiver, Braylon Edwards, chose the Fifth Annual Valor Dog of the Year and Runners Up. You chose the People's Hero! 

Scroll through the image slider to see this year's winning dogs, and visit the Hall of Fame to meet past winners.



Valor Dog of the Year and People's Hero

Owner: "McKenzie"
Kansas City, Mo.

McKenzie’s raging boyfriend threw her through a wall and hit her with a hammer. When Hank, McKenzie’s young Great Dane, crawled on her to block the blows, the man turned on Hank, shattering several ribs and a hip. He dragged the gravely injured dog into a busy street and left him for dead. Back at the house, the man told McKenzie that if she called her dog he would shoot them both. McKenzie escaped to drive to a police station, her attacker following with a shotgun. McKenzie and Hank received treatment and were reunited at an emergency shelter for victims of violent families.

Update: Hank's bravery and the devotion he and McKenzie share have inspired the shelter that took them in to build an addition for domestic violence survivors who want to keep their pets with them.

See how Hank's bravery is helping other pets and people in violent situations »   Watch the video »

First Runner Up, Valor Dog of the Year

Owner: Ted Moss
South Milwaukee, Wisc.

Late one night during a blizzard, Ted’s truck became lodged in a snow bank, so he and his 5-year old Labrador retriever, Buddy, headed home on foot. Two miles in and only two blocks from home, Ted collapsed. Buddy kept him warm, barking nonstop. Around 5:00 a.m., a concerned neighbor tried to bring her inside. She led him to Ted whose core body temperature was 68°, and his clothes were frozen to his body. At the hospital, his heart stopped twice. After a week, Ted finally opened his eyes—when he heard Buddy whine the first time she was allowed to visit him. Note: Sadly, Buddy passed away in May 2011. The HSUS extends our deepest sympathy to Buddy's family and friends. 

Second Runner Up, Valor Dog of the Year

Owners: John and Gloria Benton
Lawrenceville, Ga.

Leaving for the family store every morning, John tells his 5-year old pit bull, “Go take care of Grandma!” Then Titan curls up on the bed where Gloria is sleeping. But one morning last July, Titan ran back down the stairs. John says, “He’d run up a few flights of steps and run back down just to keep me from going to let me know something was wrong.” John found his wife unconscious on the floor with a bleeding head. Doctors said that Gloria had suffered a brain aneurysm and fractured her skull—and that had John not found her then, she would probably have suffered brain damage or died.

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