Local Dog Running For ‘Hero’
Everybuddy loves some-buddy. And that’s what Liz Rizzo hopes to prove to the online dog world as her golden retriever, Buddy, earns votes for the title of 2015 American Hero Dog.
The Lanikai pet is on the short list of 169 nominees in eight categories for American Humane Society’s 2015 award, which recognizes deeds by “heroic hounds who have gone above and beyond to protect and love their country, their handlers and their owners.” Buddy is nominated as a Therapy Dog.
“Pretty cool, huh?” said Rizzo, noting that Buddy’s been serving humans for 10 years — as a therapy dog for Pet Partners (Delta Society), St. Francis Hospice, Wounded Warriors Regiment at Kaneohe Marine base, Shelter of Wisdom Men’s homeless shelter of Honolulu, and Women’s Community Correctional Center in Kailua. He’s touched lives at Camp Erdman and has rung bells for Salvation Army.
Rizzo said the gentle, 100-pound canine helped her get around campus after surgery so she could complete her graduate degree, and also got a pat on the head from President Obama on the Mid Pacific golf course near Buddy’s home.
Fans may have seen him on ‘Olelo’s The Pet Hui show, read his advice in Oceanic Time Warner’s Ask Buddy column, or logged onto his website (aroundhawaii.com/ask_buddy).
Online voting runs from March 9 to May 15 to determine 24 semifinalists. Buddy’s voting page is herodogawards.org/hda2015vote-buddy-rizzo. U.S. residents age 18 and older may vote for one dog per category per day.
At stake for each category winner is $2,500 for a designated charity partner, plus a trip to Los Angeles in September for the gala awards ceremony to name the top dog hero, an event to be aired on the Hallmark channel.