The American Hero Dog of 2014 was announced Saturday night at the fourth annual American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA. The winner was determined by publicly cast votes and celebrity judges that included Naomi Judd, Lisa Vanderpump and Bailee Madison. Susie, a pit bull mix famous for her rough journey, and her owner Donna Lawrence, flew to Beverly Hills to be honored at the event.
The glitz and glamour of the event was a far contrast from Susie’s upbringing. Susie was only a puppy when her owner beat her, set her on fire and left her for dead in a local park in Greensboro, North Carolina. After being rescued by a local animal shelter and nursed back to health, she was adopted by Donna Lawrence. Ironically, Donna was afraid of dogs. In October 2008, she was attacked by a pit bull and nearly died. But that changed in August 2009, when she met Susie.
Their union led to Susie’s Hope, a nonprofit aimed at creating awareness for animal abuse. As of today, Lawrence has written several books on the topic, Susie has starred in a movie about herself and Susie’s Law has been passed, which allows harsher sentencing for those convicted of animal abuse.
The Hallmark Channel special about the Hero Dog Awards will air on October 30th. For more information on Susie’s journey and Susie’s Law, visit Susie’s Hope. If you’d like to make a donation to animal welfare, visit The American Humane Society.