'Hero Dogs' of the U.S. honored in Palm Beach

Posted at 9:44 AM, Mar 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-08 09:45:15-05

The phrase “man’s best friend” is often thrown around, but four dogs being honored Wednesday truly live up to the title.

A star-studded affair at the Mar-a-Lago Club on Palm Beach is called the “Hero Dog Awards Gala Luncheon” for good reason.


Hooch, Mango, Hook and Gander are seen as heroes by their humans.  American Humane is recognizing the dogs at the event.

Hooch was abused, but now serves as a therapy dog for abused, autistic and special needs children.  He’s been named American Hero Dog of 2016 for his gentle and patient spirit, despite abuse in his earlier life.

Mango was paralyzed and homeless, having been hit by a car.  Saved from euthanasia, Mango now moves with the help of a tiny wheelchair.  She is considered Therapy Dog of the Year for her work with disabled veterans with physical disabilities.

Hook weighs just 12 pounds.  Three years ago, Hook was in Sacramento, California with his handler when he pulled her back from train tracks, as a passing train missed the woman by a foot. 

Another time, Hook chased off a prowler who had broken into the woman’s office.  The acts have earned Hook the title Hearing Dog of the Year.

Gander is a shelter rescue, trained as a service dog.  At least one veteran credits Gander with saving their life from the throes of PTSD. 

Gander travels the country to teach people about prevention of veteran suicide.  Millions of dollars have been raised for veterans' groups, veterans, service dog charities, and individuals in need. Gander is Service Dog of the Year.

American Humane says service dogs have saved thousands of human lives during wartime, dating back to World War I.

An American Military Hero Dog Monument will be placed at the nation’s capital for the first time.  About 50 designs were entered to be considered for the monument. 

Three finalists were selected, but the winner will be unveiled at the event.  Details about American Humane can be found at

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