American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, is announcing the official start of its 2022 American Humane Hero Dog Awards campaign.

The 12th annual, year-long campaign seeks to identify and honor the best of our best friends and will culminate this fall with the star-studded “American Humane Hero Dog Awards” gala on Nov. 11 in Palm Beach, Florida, according to a news release from the organization.

Dog owners across the country can go to herodogawards.org and nominate a heroic hound in one of seven categories. The top dog in each category will appear this fall at the awards program and one of the seven will be named the American Hero Dog of the year.

The 2022 categories are Law Enforcement and Detection Dogs; Military Dogs; Therapy Dogs; Service Dogs; Shelter Dogs; Search and Rescue Dogs; and Guide/Hearing Dogs.

Following the nomination period, which ends March 16, 21 semifinalists — the top three in each category — are chosen in a first round of voting by the public.

The second round, featuring a combination of public and celebrity judge voting, narrows the field to seven category finalists.

During the past dozen years, Americans have cast millions of votes for thousands of dogs, all seeking the title, the release said.

The program draws the support and participation of top celebrity dog lovers from all over the world. Hosts, judges, award presenters and entertainment acts have included Vivica A. Fox, Jay Leno, Billy Crystal, the late Betty White, Katharine McPhee, Whoopi Goldberg, Denise Richards, Martin Short, Jewel, Wilson Phillips, Miranda Lambert, Kristin Chenoweth, Naomi Judd and Fred Willard.

“Whether they protect us on the battlefield, help us with medical challenges, or just lighten our spirits with an enthusiastic kiss after a hard day, dogs save and improve our lives every day,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane’s president and CEO. “The American Humane Hero Dog Awards is our way of saluting our best friends.”

Key dates for the 2022 American Humane Hero Dog Awards contest include the nomination period from now until March 16 and first-round voting from March 30 to May 12. All rounds open and close at noon Pacific Time.

More information about the 2022 American Humane Hero Dog Awards, including complete contest rules and entry information, can found at herodogawards.org.

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