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Maverick, a 150-pound therapy dog, was announced as the winner of the American Humane Hero Dog Awards on Monday, November 06.
The annual American Humane Hero Dog Awards, which is currently on its 13th year, is a nationwide competition that searches out and recognizes America’s Hero Dogs — “often ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things.”
The Hero Dog Awards is divided into five categories, namely: Therapy Dogs; Service and Guide Dogs; Military Dogs; Law Enforcement and First Responder Dogs; and Shelter Dogs.
However, among five finalists, only one was chosen to be this year’s Hero Dog Award winner. And this year, American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, crowns Maverick, the Therapy Dogs category finalist, as the winner.
Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of American Humane said, “We are so excited to name Maverick as American Humane’s 2023 Hero Dog, a distinction that is well-deserved for him and his handler Kelly,”
According to Maverick’s Hero Dog Awards profile, the Great Dane came into this world with a clear purpose: “To uplift the spirits of our American troops and their loved ones through his incredible work with the United Service Organizations (USO).”
The six-year-old gentle giant from St. Robert, Missouri has a “superpower”, according to his owner Kelly Brownfield.
“Maverick’s superpower is his ability to calm people with a touch of his paw, giving them the strength to move forward,” Brownfield reveals to Fox News Digital.
Maverick brings comfort and supports service members on a daily basis. And actively works with the military in suicide watch.
In addition to these, he also accompanies military children to funerals for their fallen parents and helps women, men, and children cope with trauma and loss.
Just this year alone, Maverick and Brownfield have completed 55 “special mission” requests.
“Whether it’s the darkest hours or the happiest moments, Maverick is there for our troops and their families,” his profile Hero Dog Awards reads.
When the gentle giant is off-duty, he supports Brownfield, as she is currently in her sixth year of fighting cancer. Similarly, Maverick was diagnosed with cancer in 2022 but survived thanks to a surgical procedure.
Dr. Robin Ganzert said, “The duo has worked tirelessly to bring comfort and solace to our nation’s military heroes through the United Service Organizations (USO), all while they both were facing their own internal battles against cancer. It’s these types of incredible stories about sacrifice, perseverance, and compassion that this award aims to spotlight.”
Maverick and Brownfield met in 2016 and have been together ever since. Brownfield spent their first year together training the gentle giant, which helped him pass his therapy dog certification test “with flying colors” in 2017.
And since then, the duo has been inseparable and have been using their time, talents, and “superpower” with the USO.
Maverick and the four other finalists were honored at the 13th annual American Humane Hero Dog Awards® and Gala in Palm Beach last November 10, a star-studded awards show that was hosted by Christie Brinkley and Carson Kressley.
Furthermore, the event will be nationally televised on A&E on Thanksgiving Day and on November 26.