The inaugural event will be televised on the Hallmark Channel this Friday, November 11 – Veterans’ Day.
The Hero Dog Awards show was presented by Cesar Canine Cuisine and hosted by Carson Kressley from “Dancing With the Stars” and “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.”
Ricochet was one of eight finalists out of 453 contestants that were honored. Along with Emerging Hero Dog, the awards categories included Guide Dog; Hearing Dog; Law Enforcement/Arson Dog; Military Dog; Service Dog; Search-and-Rescue Dog; and Therapy Dog.
Ricochet was escorted down the red carpet by Victoria Stillwell from Animal Planet’s “It’s Me or the Dog.” Ricochet also posed for the “paw”parazzi with celebrities such as Peter Fonda; Orlando Brown from “That’s So Raven;” Michelle Forbes from “True Blood;” Jason Lewis from “Sex and the City;” Anna Trubanskaya from “Dancing with the Stars;” a descendant of Rin Tin Tin; and many others.
Each dog’s story was shared via a video tribute during the ceremony, bringing many to tears. The dogs were awarded a $5,000 donation to their designated American Humane Association Charity Partner. They also received a hero dog sculpture that was created by Elizabeth Taylor’s daughter, Liza Todd Burton, specifically for this event.
Ricochet won the “Emerging Hero” award for her inspirational, philanthropic and “paw-it-forward” lifestyle. When her video, “From Service Dog to SURFice Dog,” went viral on YouTube with over 3.6 million views, Ricochet redirected the attention to scores of human and animal causes. Other contributing factors were the thousands of dollars she’s raised, and Ricochet is the only known dog in the world that surfs with special-needs kids, and people with disabilities, for therapeutic purposes.
In her acceptance speech, Ricochet’s handler, Judy Fridono, said, “We are so grateful to the American Humane Association for giving us this incredible platform to raise awareness of Ricochet’s causes. She’s raised over $125,000 for humans and animals in need, and this opportunity will allow us to help many others.” The crowd erupted in applause.
At the end of the ceremony, the “American Hero Dog of the Year” award, selected by a panel of judges including Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg, Kristen Chenoweth and Victoria Stillwell, was announced.
The honor went to Roselle, a guide dog who led her blind handler, Michael Hingson, down 78 flights of stairs in Tower One of the World Trade Center on 9/11. Sadly, Roselle died in June.
Ricochet plans to use this platform as another opportunity to help others, and thanks her supporters for this wonderful privilege to do so.
SOURCE/PHOTO: Surf Dog Ricochet