Service Dog Hero of the Year Award Winners

Each year, Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs invites our Recipients to enter their dog in our Service Dog Hero of the Year Awards. This award recognizes a Guardian Angels Medical Service Dog who goes above and beyond the call of their training, and shows extraordinary efforts to avoid a tragedy. Although there are many incredible entries, winners are chosen by a panel of experts at Guardian Angels, who determine that the dog clearly used thinking skills above their extensive training.

2020 Guardian Angels Victor (2018 – still working)

Victor saved the life of his Recipient, Don when Don suddenly suffered a heart attack. He writes:

“Recently, I experienced a severe heart attack. The night before, Victor began to pay very close attention to me. He clearly knew something was wrong with me, but I had no idea what he was trying to alert me to. My wife Sharon & my boys even commented on Victor‘s behavior. The next morning, it hit. Victor was at my side & stayed with me while I was laying on the floor. He helped me to get up off the floor and get upstairs to seek the assistance of my wife. She’s a nurse, and knew immediately that I was having a heart attack. We went to the ER where the Dr’s immediately began working on me.  I am lucky to have Victor. I love him and he clearly is a very special dog..”

2019 Guardian Angels Juice (2018 – still working)

Juice saved the life of a suicidal stranger by insistently bringing his recipient to a young man, who was hiding razor blades he’d put in his pockets to take his life. A former police officer, Ken knew this young man was in trouble. Juice spent several minutes licking the teenager and letting him pet her. As he began petting Juice, he revealed he had concealed the razor blades, and eventually handed them to Ken. The next day, Ken received a call telling him that the young man told the crisis center “had it not been for Juice, I would have killed myself yesterday”.

Today, the young man is recovering, and getting the help he needs.

2018 Guardian Angels Major (2014 – 2020)

While in class with his recipient, Tash, Major began alerting. She felt fine and didn’t understand why Major was alerting insistently. Tash knew to listen to him, so she decided to sit on the floor with him to try to figure out what had him so concerned. Once she got down to his level, she discovered a faint strange smell. Major pulled Tash over to a vent in the room where she discovered a noxious gas pouring into the room. It was soon discovered that a generator had malfunctioned and was causing toxic gas to pour into the classroom. The ninety eight students were quickly evacuated. Without Major alerting that day, there may have been catestrophic consequences for those students.

A Tie!!

2017 Guardian Angels Ranger (2011- still working)

Both of these dogs were named heroes for 2017, as both of them stopped suicidal idealizations in their recipients. In both cases, their recipient had drawn a gun, pointed it at themselves and the dogs successfully knocked the guns from their hands, bringing them back to the here and now, saving their lives. 

A Tie!!

2017 Guardian Angels Roy (2015 – Retired) 
Both of these dogs were named heroes for 2017, as both of them stopped suicidal idealizations in their recipients. In both cases, their recipient had drawn a gun, pointed it at themselves and the dogs successfully knocked the guns from their hands, bringing them back to the here and now, saving their lives. 
2016 Guardian Angels Turbo (2013 – 2016)
While out walking in his yard, Turbo dashed in front of his recipient, Mike, knocking him out of the way as a rattlesnake struck out. Thanks to Turbo’s quick action, his recipient was saved from a fatal rattlesnake bite, but sadly Turbo sacrificed his life for his beloved recipient. His amazing young life was cut short, but his bravery will never be forgotten.
2015 Guardian Angels Sasha
(rescued in 2012 as an adult dog – 2017)
David shared his home with another veteran. At night they typical left their bedroom doors open, but this particular night, David had closed his door. During the night, Sasha woke him and was anxiously trying to get him to open the door. Thinking someone had broken into the house, David slowly opened the door only to find his roommate laying in the floor in a diabetic coma. He immediately called 911 and they saved his life thanks to Sasha.
2014 Guardian Angels Grant (2012 – still working)
As Linda was going up a concrete stair case with Grant at her side, her legs buckled causing her to fall backwards, headfirst down the concrete steps. She grabbed for the handrail as she was going down, but missed it. Grant dashed to save her by stopping her fall, bracing himself under her head and neck. She was able to feel around for her cell phone and call 911. Grant held her there until EMS arrived. Linda’s injuries were not catastrophic. The doctor said if Grant had not stopped her fall, she could have broken her neck, suffered a serious head trauma or been killed.
2013 Guardian Angels Dixie (2011 – retired)
Bob had multiple disabilities requiring he be in a wheelchair and on oxygen 24/7, and on dialysis every night. Because the machines disturbed Bob’s wife’s sleep, she slept in another room. On this particular night, Bob’s oxygen malfunctioned rendering him unconscious. Rather than sleeping comfortably the rest of the night next to Bob, Dixie realized there was a serious problem. Dixie immediately went to wake Bob’s wife insisting that she follow her to Bob’s room. Once his wife got to his room, Bob had already stopped breathing and had turned blue. She was able to get the oxygen back on and call 911. Bob spent a week in the hospital, but thanks to Dixie he lived for several more years.
2012 Guardian Angels Bishop (Rescued in 2011 as an adult dog – 2018)
While Bishop’s recipient was making breakfast, Bishop became highly excited barking and racing in circles just between the kitchen and bedroom. His recipient, Robert, finally walked out of the kitchen thinking there was a problem in his bedroom, however the moment he stepped out of the kitchen, the coffee pot exploded sending shards of glass and scalding coffee across the entire area where Robert had just been standing. Thanks to Bishop, Robert avoided potentially catastrophic injuries.
2011 Guardian Angels Honey (2009 – 2018) 
Named one of the top five service dogs in the United States by the American Kennel Club.
This wheelchair recipient was in peril to the point that Honey was unable to render aid. Desperate to help her recipient, without instruction she opened the sliding glass door, went to the next door neighbors house and brought help back saving his life.