Tail-wagging Hero Dog Awards on Hallmark Channel, Oct. 30, has DWTS darling duo Bindi Irwin & Derek Hough

Bindi Irwin & Derek Hough at Hero Dog Awards (photo credit: Steve Lucreo/Alexx Henry Studios, LLC)

Bindi Irwin & Derek Hough at Hero Dog Awards (photo credit: Steve Lucreo/Alexx Henry Studios, LLC)

A tail-wagging Hollywood awards show that is a heartwarming and howling good time. That’s the 2015 America Humane Association Hero Dog Awards, airing October 30 on the family friendly and pet friendly Hallmark Channel.

The ultra-friendly pet and critter loving Bindi Irwin is a presenter on the show, along with her darling Dancing With The Stars partner Derek Hough. They honored the heroic three-legged explosive detection dog Sgt. Rambo in the Military Dog category. Bindi was bubbling with delight at being part of the awards. “All of the dogs being honored tonight are winners. Each of their phenomenal stories is amazing,” said the 17-year-old daughter of the late Crocodile Hunter star Steve Irwin. Bindi revealed that her dad and mom Terri gave her the middle name Sue, because that was the name of their family dog.

“Dogs give you such unconditional love. They don’t care what you’ve done all day or how you look, they just want to make you happy and give you all their love,” Bindi gushed as she was being escorted by the very sweet and protective Derek, 30, who seemed to laugh at everything she said.

The Hallmark Channel’s 5th annual American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards also has animal lovers James Denton and Beth Stern returning as co-hosts. TV personality and author Beth Stern is a long-time animal advocate, and takes care of rescues with husband Howard Stern. And hunky James Denton of Desperate Housewives fame is now starring in the top-rated Good Witch series (with Catherine Bell) on the Hallmark Channel.

“The Hero Dog Awards is a truly special program. It is a great honor to have the opportunity to join Hallmark Channel and American Humane Association in raising the profile of these dogs and giving them the recognition they so deserve,” Denton said at the historic Beverly Hilton event.

“Co-hosting last year’s Hero Dog Awards was such a rewarding experience and I’m excited to be back again and to honor the 2015 finalists. This is one of the most unique and inspirational awards shows out there and I am grateful to be a part of it and to have the opportunity to meet these amazing dogs and their handlers,” Stern reported.

“So much of what dogs do on our behalf goes unrecognized and this special program allows us to bring their incredible stories of bravery, devotion, and unconditional love to light,” said Michelle Vicary, executive vice president of Hallmark’s programming. “Beth and James are deeply passionate animal lovers and we are excited to welcome them back as co-hosts of the 2015 Hero Dog Awards.”

Hero Dog Dax, Officer Chris Alberini, Pauley Perrette

Hero Dog Dax, Officer Chris Alberini, Pauley Perrette

Joining Bindi Irwin and Derek Hough, the Hero Dog Awards presenters include Pauley Perrette (NCIS) paying tribute to the heroic life-saving Law Enforcement dog Dax and his human partner Officer Chris Alberini; Danica McKellar, Wonder years, Perfect Match; Alison Sweeney, Days of our Lives, Biggest Loser; Lea Thompson, Back to the Future; Mark Steines and Cristina Ferrare, hosts of Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family; Alicia Witt, Friday Night Lights, Justified; Kym Johnson, Dancing With The Stars; Fred Willard, Best In Show, Modern Family; Cameron Mathison, All My Children, Murder She Baked; Barbara Niven, Cedar Cove, One Life to Live; Bruce Boxleitner, Cedar Cove; and Brandon McMillan, Lucky Dog, among others.

Also on the program Grammy nominated artists Five for Fighting gave a special music performance.

The Hero Dog Awards , presented for the past four years by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, is a moving celebration of our four-legged friends and the innumerable ways they enrich, protect, and save lives every day. Each year, the program salutes 8 special dogs – one in each of eight categories – chosen in a nationwide online vote. The 8 finalists and their human handlers are flown to Los Angeles where they are honored at a red carpet, star-studded awards gala. The evening is capped off with the announcement of the top American Hero Dog of the year.

The two-hour special airs in conjunction with Hallmark Channel’s Pet Project, the network’s on- and off-air campaign designed to celebrate the joy pets bring to our lives, while shining a spotlight on shelter animals and encouraging the public to adopt.

Glory, Search & Rescue Hero Dog (MargieBarron)

Glory, Search & Rescue Hero Dog (MargieBarron)

The eight incredible Hero Dog Awards finalists are: Glory, in the Arson Dogs category (sponsored by State Farm); Harley, in the Emerging Hero Dogs category (sponsored by Merial); Chara, in the Guide/Hearing Dogs category (Charity Partner: Guide Dog Users Inc.); Dax, Law Enforcement Dogs category (Charity Partner: K9s4COPS); Rambo, Military Dogs category (sponsored by the Zoetis RIMADYL K-9 Courage Program, and Charity Partner: America’s VetDogs, the Veteran’s K-9 Corps); Glory, Search and Rescue Dogs category (Charity Partner: National Search Dog Alliance); Axel, Service Dogs category (sponsored by Modern Dog, and Charity Partner: Dogs on Deployment); and Hudson, with his prosthetic paw in the Therapy Dog category.

Hudson, Hero Therapy Dog

Hudson, Hero Therapy Dog (photo by Margie Barron)

“You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You don’t want to miss it,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of the American Humane Association. Tune in Oct. 30 to see the Top Dogs. #

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.