Blog The Change For Animals:“Celebrating Hero Dogs” Guest Blog by Heather Kalinowski from Trupanion Insurance

FROM DAKOTA’S DEN: I am  proud to be a supporter of  the efforts of where bloggers come together to help animals in need and/or to showcase causes, stories about animals that are close to our heart and about animals who  are making a difference.

I am a “dog hobbyist”, a “dog enthusiast”, as many of you are. I am not the end-all be-all authority on MANY issues and never pass myself off as being one.

When I want to feature animals, news or stories that I am not an expert in,  I  share blog posts with you by others who in many cases ARE authorities in specific areas that I am not,  or have first-hand knowledge of issues and stories that I may not have. Today, I am proud to present to you, one of these people! Today Heather Kalinowski will tell you about  the 2012 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards that were held in Beverly Hills and that she had the honor of attending!


Heather Kalinowski is a pet lover and new mom who spends her days helping other pet owners protect their pets with dog and cat insurance. Trupanion offers 90% coverage for diagnostic tests, surgeries, and medications if a pet becomes sick or injured.


On Saturday, October 6, Trupanion had the honor of attending the 2012 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards in Beverly Hills. This event was a tribute to the powerful relationship between dogs and people – one we all know extremely well, whether our dogs spends their days searching rubble for lost people or at our feet giving us comfort and companionship every day.


At this event, eight dogs were specifically honored as winners in specific categories. I am honored to introduce you to these eight amazing dogs, with just a snippet of their incredible stories.


Law Enforcement/Arson Dog: Jynx was the canine partner of Deputy Sheriff Kyle Pagerly. During an attempt to execute a warrant, Jynx alerted Deputy Pagerly and his team to the suspect who was in hiding, running ahead of the team and flushing the suspect into view. The suspect fired and killed Deputy Pagerly and wounded others. If it had not been for Jynx, many others would have lost their lives that day. Jynx is now the adopted family pet of Deputy Pagerly’s wife and daughter.


TruTeamHolly! She is a SHELTIE like ME!!!!

Service Dog: Holly, a Seizure Alert dog, alerts her owner Shanna Wilkinson when Shanna is about to suffer an epileptic episode. This allows Shanna to be able to live life to its fullest without fear and together the twosome has traveled the world. Trupanion is the proud 2012 Hero Dog Awards sponsor of this category.


Therapy Dog: Stella, a Standard Poodle, was certified by Therapy Dogs International in July 2011. Stella began volunteering soon after at a residence that houses 76 people who have significant intellectual, medical, and physical disabilities. Stella brings smiles and stimulation not otherwise available to these individuals, making their lives better and giving them hope.



Military Dog: Gabe – a big, handsome, Yellow Lab – served in the military with his handler, Sgt. Charles Shuck, from 2006 until 2009. In that time, he completed over 210 combat missions with 26 finds of explosives and weapons. Now retired, Gabe continues to visit schools and inspire children with compassion and respect and the importance of staying in school.


Guide Dog: When Anne Drake lost her sight, she became depressed and lonely. Then Tabitha came along. With Tabitha’s help, Anne was able to start living a full life again, overcoming her fear of “the dark” and trusting herself, and others, again. Tabitha is now retired but will always be Anne’s Hero Dog.


Search and Rescue Dog: After Soot, a Black Lab, was adopted, his new guardian realized Soot was a dog that needed a job. Soot became a certified Search and Rescue Dog and immediately helped find and save a 78-year-old diabetic man who was lost in the woods after a hunting expedition.


Hearing Dog: Tatianna II is not just a hearing dog, although she does provide that amazing service to her guardian, Cristina Saint-Blancard. She is truly a lifesaving dog. Diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, Cristina often got ear infections, one of which led to an asthma attack that left her struggling for breath one night. Tatianna woke up and alerted her family to the crisis – Cristina was able to get the care she needed because of her dog.


Emerging Hero Dog: Daniel is the definition of a survivor. After being part of a group of 18 dogs in an Alabama shelter who was sent to be euthanized via a gas chamber, Daniel was still standing, and wagging his tail, when the gas chamber doors were opened. He was put up for adoption and now tours the country with his new forever family, fighting against the use of gas chambers for euthanasia.


These eight dogs are absolutely inspiring. It’s amazing and honestly, about time, that we had the opportunity to truly recognize and celebrate the hero dogs in all our lives. Dogs are amazing creatures who offer us complete devotion, constant companionship, utmost trust, and never-ending loyalty and love. I’d love to hear about the hero dog in your life. What makes them a hero to you?


(The two-hour program will be broadcast nationwide by Hallmark Channel on November 8 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT. Mark your calendars and watch along! Trust me, it’s an event not to be missed!)