Meet the 2014 Hero Dogs: Part 1

Robin Ganzert on Pet Life Radio

Robin begins her four-episode series of interviewing all eight 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards finalists. First up is Donna Lawrence, whose pit bull Susie represents the Therapy Dog category. Together, Donna and Susie worked for the passage of 'Susie’s Law' in North Carolina, which brings about harsher penalties for animal abusers. Up next is Staff Sgt. Mike Malarsie, who works with Xxon, the winner of the Guide/Hearing Dog category. Xxon helped Mike become the only blind active duty airman in the Air Force and together they are working to bring more recognition to these special dogs.


Donna Lawrence and Susie

A puppy that was set on fire and a woman who suffered a brutal dog attack became a dedicated team that eventually changed North Carolina animal-cruelty laws. Susie the Pit Bull mix began life with terror and pain when she was beaten, burned, and abandoned. Susie and her owner both triumphed over pain and fear to become voices for abused animals that have no voice. They visit hospitals, schools, and nursing homes to inspire people never to give up


Michael Malarsie and Xxon

In January 2010, an explosion in Kandahar, Afghanistan left Air Force Sergeant Michael Malarsie blind and killed four of his fellow servicemen, including his best friend. Though he lost his sight, Sgt. Malarsie was soon partnered with XXon, and they became the only active duty guide dog team in the Air Force. Now retired, Sgt. Malarsie continues to work with XXon every day as the dog helps get him safely to wherever he needs to be.