Kristen Chenoweth hosts Hero Dog Awards-hallmarkphotoThe American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards will be broadcast tonight, Thursday, Nov. 8, with the usual pomp and Hollywood stars — like Betty White and Whoopi Goldberg — found at a regular awards show, but with the winners leaving a lot more hair on the red carpet.

“It celebrates our beloved animals, who go above and beyond what they are called to do,” said Chenoweth. “I encourage people to watch it and [challenge] them to not be moved by it.”

The stories focus on the eight dogs that won in different categories, like service dog and family pet. But it was Gabe, a big yellow lab in the military dog category, that took home the grand prize. His handler, Sgt. Charles Shuck, began working with Gabe in 2006 when, believe it or not, he was told to go to the local shelter and pick a dog. After training, he completed 210 missions in Iraq sniffing out explosives and ammunition.

Hero Dog 2012 GabeGabe is now retired along with Sgt. Shuck and they live — and mostly play — in South Carolina.

Among the other winning stories is that of the law enforcement dog winner, Jynx of Shillington, Pa., who tried to pull his handler, Sgt. Kyle Pagerly, and another officer to safety when a criminal shot at them.

The Gala in Beverly Hills was taped last month by the Hallmark Channel for broadcast on cable. Find a channel near you at this link.

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