Betty White, Jennifer Coolidge, Naomi Judd and Pauley Perrette were among the pack of celebrities who turned out to honor some of the best and brightest in the canine community at the Third Annual Hero Dog Awards the other night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Hosted by Joey Lawrence, the event will be shown on The Hallmark Channel October 30.
Betty proved once again that at age 91, her comedy chops remain in formidable shape, as she and Pauley presented the Guide Dog Award — and got some of the biggest laughs of the night. She loves anyone who has a leg on each corner, she said. Coolidge riffed on all the things she could give up in life in order to donate more money to dog charities, starting with the top money-sucker on her list, boyfriends, and including bikini waxes (now that she has no boyfriends, why bother?) and drinking out on the town on Tuesdays.
Las Vegas Headliner of the Year Frankie Moreno and his hot-looking coed band had the house on its feet. Ryan O’Neal and son Redmond were there to accept special recognition on behalf of the late Farrah Fawcett, for her support of shelter dog adoptions.
But the real stars of the evening were the super dogs. For example, Search and Rescue Dog honoree John D. He is one of the canines whose uncanny cancer-detecting ability is leading researchers toward early detection protocols for ovarian, thyroid and other cancers. He is also a wonder dog when it comes to finding missing persons. The story of how John D found the body of a boy who had drowned, then went to the boy’s waiting mom and leaned hard against her to let her know, had more than a few people in tears.
So did the story of Law Enforcement/Arson Dog Lakota, who was remarkable among K9 crime fighters. After they got into a horrific accident, his human partner refused to give up hope on the dog, and a whole community wound up pulling for – and contributing to – Lakota’s return to ambulatory shape.
The over-all Hero Dog Award winner, Therapy Dog Elle, makes a statement in her own right – about what marvelous pets and helpers Pit Bulls can be. For anyone who has ever cared about man’s and woman’s best friend, the Hero Dog Awards promise a heart-touching evening.