2016 American Humane Hero Dog of the Year: Emerging Hero Hooch

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The winner of the 2016 American Humane Hero Dog was announced on September 10 with Hooch coming out as top dog.

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Hooch, a French Mastiff, was rescued from a shelter by Zach Skow of Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue.  He was told that instead of eating or drinking his food, the dog would thrash it about wildly.  As a result, he was critically underweight, starving, dehydrated, and extremely malnourished.  While he exhibited physical abuse in the form of poorly cropped ears and a broken tail, it was originally thought his behavior may be related to a dislocated or broken jaw which would make it difficult or possibly impossible for him to eat or drink.  When he was taken to the veterinarian for x-rays, a horrible discovery was made.  Hooch’s tongue had been ripped off at the base, most likely to prepare him for the role of a bait dog.  After attempting to feed Hooch through a tube, which he continually tore out, Zach discovered that Hooch could be hand-fed by placing the food at his throat and allowing gravity to do the rest.

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In spite of all the challenges he has overcome, he is a shining example of a dog that has survived through adversity, living in the moment.  Today, he is a therapy dog, working with autistic, abused, and special needs children, a wonderful role model and understanding companion.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Hooch, Emerging Hero Dog Category Winner, attends the Sixth Annual American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on September 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images for American Humane Association )
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – SEPTEMBER 10: Hooch, Emerging Hero Dog Category Winner, attends the Sixth Annual American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on September 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images for American Humane Association )

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Hooch’s win resulted in Pets for Patriots receiving at $7,500 award. Hooch truly exhibits the attributes of a hero through his personal courage and bravery struggling to overcome his own challenges to instinctly knowing how to offer comfort to children who are in need of love and understanding.  Hooch, you are what being a hero is all about.  Congratulations.



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