Guide Dog Frances One Of 21 Courageous Canines Competing in Hero Dog Awards

Guide Dog Frances One Of 21 Courageous Canines Competing in Hero Dog Awards

America’s animal lovers have spoken, and after more than half a million votes from across the country, Frances from Staten Island, New York is one of only 21 courageous canines to be advancing to the semifinal rounds of the 2018 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®, sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and Zoetis, and broadcast nationally on Hallmark Channel. The heroic hounds were chosen by the American public to advance to the semifinals from a field of 266 remarkable candidates. The public is now invited to visit www.HeroDogAwards.org between now and July 11 to vote once per day for their favorite in one of the seven Hero Dog categories. The seven finalists will be flown to Los Angeles to take part in the star-studded eighth annual Hero Dog Awards gala on September 29 at the Beverly Hilton, where one will be chosen as the 2018 American Hero Dog, the top honor a dog can receive. This must-watch event for animal lovers will be broadcast in the fall as a two-hour special on Hallmark Channel.

In both the semifinal and final rounds of the competition, the winners will be determined through a combination of votes by the public and a special celebrity judging panel. New judges for the 2018 Hero Dog Awards campaign represent a variety of celebrity dog lovers including: Miranda Lambert, Kristin Chenoweth, Carson Kressley, Carrie Ann Inaba, Erik Estrada, Jamie Chung, Michelle Beadle, Danielle Fishel, Mark Steines and Carlos and Alexa PenaVega. Returning judges include Lisa Vanderpump, Adrienne Maloof, Bailee Madison, Carolyn Hennesy, Ashlan and Philippe Cousteau, Laura Nativo, Lorenzo Borghese and 2011 Arson Hero Dog winner Jerry Means. The top dogs in each category will win $2,500 for their designated charity partner and the winning 2018 American Hero Dog’s charity partner will receive an additional $5,000 for a grand total of $7,500. Each charity partner is dedicated to advancing the role of dogs in our lives and, as with American Humane, focuses on the importance of the powerful connection between people and animals.

The seven categories for 2018 are: Law Enforcement/Arson Dogs, sponsored by K-9 Courage from Zoetis Petcare (a U.S. business unit of Zoetis); Military Dogs, sponsored by K-9 Courage from Zoetis Petcare; Therapy Dogs, sponsored by Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food, the official pet food of the 2018 Hero Dog Awards; Service Dogs, sponsored by Modern Dog magazine; Emerging Hero Dogs, a category that pays tribute to ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things; Search and Rescue Dogs; and Guide/Hearing Dogs.

Over the past seven years, Americans have cast millions of votes for more than a thousand dogs, all seeking the coveted title of American Hero Dog. The program reaches more than one billion people each year and draws the support and participation of top celebrity dog lovers from all over the world. Hosts, judges, award presenters, and entertainment acts have included Jay Leno, Billy Crystal, Pauley Perrette, Katharine McPhee, Alison Sweeney, Bindi Irwin, Derek Hough, Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg, Denise Richards, Gary Sinise, Chelsea Handler, Martin Short, Jewel, Wilson Phillips, John Ondrasik, Naomi Judd, Lori Loughlin, Eric Stonestreet, Danica McKellar, and many, many more.

 “For thousands of years, mankind has had a special relationship with dogs, and the American Humane Hero Dog Awards are our way of honoring the best of our best friends,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane president and CEO. “This unique awards show celebrates the unbreakable human-animal bond, which has been a core part of our organization’s mission since 1877.”

“The Hero Dog Awards recognize some of America’s bravest heroes on both ends of the leash,” said philanthropist and presenting sponsor Lois Pope. “From those who defend our country to those who help us heal, guide us, protect us, and help find the lost, every single contender exemplifies the courage and heroism we seek to spotlight in this campaign. Our goal is not only to honor these magnificent dogs but to inspire America to reflect on the outsized contributions that animals make in our lives each and every day.” 

Key dates for the 2018 American Humane Hero Dog Awards contest include:

  • Second-round voting: May 16 – July 11

  • Third-round voting: July 25 – September 5

  • American Humane Hero Dog Awards event in Los Angeles – September 29

All voting rounds open and close at 12pm Pacific Time on the dates listed above. 

ID: Holly & Frances sitting with Cub Scouts after presenting their VIEP program.
ID: Holly & Frances sitting with Cub Scouts after presenting their V.I.E.P. program.

Guide/Hearing Dog Category: Frances’ Story: 

  • Frances (Staten Island, NY) – At the age of 32, I lost my eyesight from a rare complication after battling breast cancer. Over the next six months, I would have to relearn everything from crossing the street to sorting laundry. Then, the universe threw me the ultimate curveball – I found out I was pregnant! When people asked me how I planned on traveling with my baby, I responded, “I’m going to get a guide dog.” In September of 2016, Guiding Eyes for the Blind matched with me with Frances, a female yellow Labrador. Since then, “Franny” and I have become partners in both parenting and advocacy work for visually impaired parents. Now the mother of two daughters, I depend on Frances to help guide me to pre-school, doctor’s appointments and extracurricular activities. When “Franny” is not helping me meet the demands of motherhood, she accompanies me to help educate kids through our Visually Impaired Education Program (V.I.E.P.). Aimed at grades K-2, VIEP’s mission is to engage school-aged children through classroom interaction with the blind/visually impaired community; helping diminish stereotypes associated with blindness. Frances attends every presentation, a beautiful reminder about the important work of guide dogs. I believe Frances deserves to be the American Hero Guide Dog because her partnership allows me to be the woman I want to be. She helps me juggle all that comes with being a working mom while educating our community about living with vision loss.

To read all the semifinalists’ nominations and to vote daily in the 2018 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®, please visit www.herodogawards.org.

ID: Holly & Frances VIEP logo. Teal circular background, with Frances and Holly portrayed as caricatures. Frances has a brown harness with "Guiding Eyes" written across it. Holly has dark glasses on and the top of her white cane is visible in her left hand.
ID: Holly & Frances V.I.E.P. logo. Teal circular background, with Frances and Holly, portrayed as caricatures. Frances has a brown harness with “Guiding Eyes” written across it. Holly has dark glasses on and the top of her white cane is visible in her left hand.

About American Humane: 

American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. For more information, please visit www.americanhumane.org.

About Lois Pope, The Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc. and LIFE (Leaders In Furthering Education):

As one of America’s leading philanthropists, Lois Pope has positively impacted the lives of individuals at the local, national and international levels.  She has established three separate organizations dedicated to helping those in need.  These organizations are the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., Leaders In Furthering Education (LIFE), and the Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation.  For more than 20 years she has been the driving force behind the Lois Pope LIFE Center at the University of Miami School of Medicine, The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, and a groundbreaking new program with American Humane in Palm Beach County. Lois Pope has recently donated several Lois Pope Rescue Vehicles. Each rescue vehicle is a 50-foot long response unit, complete with a Ford F-350 truck and trailer, which is specifically designed and outfitted to provide an array of animal emergency services and cruelty responses within the region.

On October 5, 2014, Mrs. Pope saw the completion of a decades-long dream – the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, which was dedicated by President Obama in Washington DC.  It will stand in perpetuity as a reminder to the public and legislators of the courage and sacrifices of the four million-plus living disabled veterans and all those who died before them, as well as the need to be vigilant in assuring their support and understanding the human cost of war.  Through her advocacy, October 5 every year will serve as a National Day of Honor for disabled veterans.

A mother and a grandmother, Lois has trained for and completed five New York City Marathons.

About Hallmark Channel: 

Hallmark Channel is Crown Media Family Networks’ flagship 24-hour cable television network, distributed nationwide in high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) to 88 million homes.  As the country’s leading destination for quality family entertainment, Hallmark Channel delivers on the 100-year legacy of the Hallmark brand.  In addition to its signature new, original movies, the network features an ambitious lineup of other new, original content, including scripted primetime series, such as “Good Witch,” “When Calls the Heart” and “Chesapeake Shores”; annual specials including “Kitten Bowl” and “Hero Dog Awards”; and a daily, two-hour lifestyle show, “Home & Family.”  Additionally, Hallmark Channel is the exclusive home to world premiere presentations of the acclaimed Hallmark Hall of Fame franchise.  Dedicated to helping viewers celebrate life’s special moments, Hallmark Channel also offers annual holiday programming franchises, including “Countdown to Christmas,” “Countdown to Valentine’s Day,” “Summer Nights,” “Fall Harvest” and “Winterfest.”  Rounding out the network’s diverse slate are some of television’s most beloved comedies and series, including “The Golden Girls” and “Frasier.”

Hallmark Cards, Inc. owns and operates Crown Media Family Networks.

For more information, please visit www.crownmediapress.com

To visit the network website, please visit www.hallmarkchannel.com

Hallmark Channel on Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube

Help For Holly & Frances: 

SHARING IS CARING.  Please, LIKE & SHARE THIS POST.  Vote for Frances every day to help Guiding Eyes for the Blind receive the funds they need.  http://herodogawards.org/dog/frances/ {Play}

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