Splash Magazines

A Presidential Reception for The American Humane Society’s Hero Dogs

By Ellen Eichelbaum

View the Full Article | Return to the Site


A Presidential Reception for The American Humane Society’s Hero Dogs


What better place is there to host our 4-legged hero’s than Mar –a- Lago Club part of the

Residence of President Donald Trump


If I could pick one place that could give honor to hero dogs, Mar-a-Lago would be the place.  From the time I walked in to this grand ballroom and saw these beautiful dogs until I reluctantly left, I felt for just a little while, I was in another world.  Our nations' heros deserve nothing less.


A Palace for Paws - Mar-a-Lago Club, Palm Beach - Photo by: Ellen Eichelbaum


Every moment “For thousands of years, mankind has had a special relationship with dogs, and the American Humane Hero Dog Awards are our way of honoring the best of our best friends,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of American Humane. “The ‘Hero Dogs Award Gala Luncheon’ is an inspiring afternoon when we offer our thanks to so many of our greatest heroes – from service dogs who improve our lives to military hero dogs who fight alongside our troops and defend our freedom. We are grateful to all of them, especially to Lois Pope.


Alex Donner, Tori Grey, GANDER & HOOCH - Photos by Capehart


American Humane board member and internationally renowned philanthropist Lois Pope has graciously sponsored this incredible event.  Through the efforts of Ms. Pope, the new LIFE Center for Military Affairs has been created, helping veterans struggling with PTSD to obtain lifesaving service dogs and provide free healthcare of America’s four-legged warriors after finishing their service to our country.  As the sponsor of this American Humane hero Dog Awards,   Ms. Pope devotes much of her life and time to this cause.


Tova Laidesdorf, Zach Skow, Eleanor Rodriquez and HOOCH, American Hero Dog of 2016 - Photos by Capehart


Special guest, Beth Stern has hosted The American Humane Hero Dog Awards for the past three years.  She is also the spokesperson for the North Shore Animal League America, the worlds’ largest no-kill animal shelter and happens to be where I adopted most of my dogs.


Lis Pope, Beth Stern, Dr. Robin Ganzert - Photos by Capehart


Katharine McPhee delighted the attendees with her beautiful voice and music.  I had a chance to chat with Ms. McPhee who is a dog-lover herself.  James Denton, one of the stars of the famed TV show Desperate Housewives, led the orchestra.  The orchestra serenaded everyone as we dined on culinary delights.  These precious pooches deserved every single minute of this gala event.



Katharine McPhee & HOOK, 2016 Winner of Guide/Hearing Dog of the Year - Photos by Capehart



For seven years, American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, and Palm Beach philanthropist Lois Pope have honored America’s bravest heroes on both ends of the leash through the annual American Humane Hero Dog Awards®. Some of these heroic hounds and a number of the entertainment world’s biggest names have come to Palm Beach for the exclusive, annual, star-studded “Hero Dog Awards Gala Luncheon.



Handmade gifts abound - Photo by Ellen Eichelbaum


On March 8, four of the nation’s top Hero Dog Awards winners were honored, including:



Barbara Niven & HOOCH - Photo by Capehart





Jean Shafiroff with Mango - Therapy Dog of the Year - Photos by Capehart



I was honored to have my picture taken with Gander.  He is a true hero


Zack Skow, HOOCH & Me




In addition, to all the attendees, whose hearts and souls are dedicated to this wonderful cause as handmade animal artwork, ceramics, purses, linens and so much more, was purchased to support this vital cause.


If there are any folks out there who do not understand how a dog can affect your life in the most positive way, my story may help.


I have had dogs most of my life.  As I got older and moved into a home where it was difficult to have dogs, I believed I was at the point in my life where I was ready to travel and being the kids were married with kids of their own, I felt a dog would be lonely with not much to do.


Due to unforeseen circumstances, I became clinically depressed.  I was 61 years old.  At that time, my doctor was going to prescribe anti-depressants.  She paused during my office visit and said she had an alternative.  “Go get a dog,” she said.  “I’ve had dogs my whole life.  “I’m old, tired and no one is around to walk the dog and give it all the attention it needs,” I said. 


The doctor was adamant.  So, I got myself a golden retriever.  She is a redhead, like me.  Julia is my love. She is my child.  She is my lifesaver.  In my mind, she walks on water.  She has been my medicine over these years.  She has been eating pretty much the same food every day (with lots of treats) and never complains.  She’s had two broken legs and I never thought twice about looking for the best surgeon to operate on her.  She walks funny and sheds everywhere she goes.  She weighs 90 pounds and when she steps on my foot, it really hurts, but its Julia.  So, it’s ok.  A few years back Julia was spooked by another animal and she threw me across the sidewalk.  I fractured my knee. I wore a leg cast for 2 months. It’s ok, it was Julia.  Over the years she’s brought home some very interesting creatures.


Julia - My Personal Hero Dog - Photo by: Ellen Eichelbaum


In the park this year, another dog attacked her and many people came running over to help.  The first people over were the owners of the dog.  They kept calling until they knew she was ok.  When she was bleeding a little boy, maybe seven years old, ran up to me and said, “I live right here. I going home to bring your dog some ice for her cut.”  Once a dog lover always a dog lover.


Julia is 9 years old.  That’s good and bad.  Dog owners know why.  Her dark red face is now powder white.  She doesn’t run as fast as she used to but she still runs crooked. She once stopped a thief from stealing a car at 3 o’clock in the morning.   She eats Bounty towels in between meals when I am not looking. She’ll sleep through a war but wake up if I open a bag of potato chips. . And, every night when Lester Holt comes on to deliver the nightly news, she comes for her nightly bone and catches up on what’s going on in the world.


I have two daughters and when people ask me how many children I have, I say, “I have three.”


For information about American Humane’s other animal-themed community events during the Palm Beach season, please contact Mari Harner at 561-537-5887 or email .

About American Humane

American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. For more information, please visit www.americanhumane.org. To inquire about Hero Dog Awards sponsorship opportunities, please click here to email Mari Harner.









Published on Mar 14, 2017

View the Full Article | Return to the Site