A well-deserved win for the good boy from Kentucky.
portrait of Ethan
Credit: Courtesy of Kentucky Humane Society

Ethan the ultra-resilient pup has taken home the top honor as the 2022 American Hero Dog at the American Humane Hero Dog Awards

In January 2021, a family was dropping off donations to the Kentucky Humane Society (KHS) when they noticed a dog in the parking lot. This pup, soon to be called Ethan, was severely emaciated—being roughly 45 pounds underweight. After they found him, KHS staff rushed him into emergency veterinary care. Ethan was originally believed to be a cane corso around 3 years old when he was first rescued, but the mighty dog ended up being only 1 year old. 

After spending a few days in the hospital, Ethan returned to KHS to continue his recovery. At first, Ethan couldn't lift his head on his own to eat or drink. He also couldn't walk but took his determined first steps after six days. People around the globe followed along with Ethan's journey, finding his resilience inspiring. Thanks to his strong will and tenacity, Ethan was able to make a full recovery. 

While Ethan was at the shelter, he found a new best friend in KHS employee Jeff Callaway. During Ethan's first few weeks at the shelter, Callaway would come in twice a night to check on him. Ethan was eventually able to spend some time in a home environment when Callaway offered to foster him. Ethan started spending nights at the Callaway household, and in March of last year, Ethan officially became part of the clan when the family adopted the steadfast pup. 

Over a year later, Ethan is still a popular pooch, with his Facebook page racking up 45,000 likes as people keep track of his inspirational journey. 

After winning the category of American Humane's 2022 shelter hero dog, Ethan advanced to the final round of competition with several other canine heroes. With over 1 million votes from the public and a VIP panel of dog experts and celebrity judges, Ethan was rewarded with the 2022 Hero Dog Award at a Friday gala. Although Ethan took the top spot, he faced some tough competition who also have courageous and inspiring stories. 

Some standout contenders for the trophy included K9 Riggs, a police dog who made a miraculous recovery after being shot in the forehead. Another nominee was liken M090, a 15-year-old Labrador retriever who served in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. Cole, a deaf dog who teaches acceptance through his program The Team Cole Project, was also up for the award. All dogs are heroes in their own right, and Ethan and the other Hero Award nominees prove just how strong and inspiring our canine pals can be.