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Our Favorite Dogster Heroes of 2015

All of the heroes we profile are worthy of praise, but these 10 amazing dogs, people, and groups deserve extra attention as we look back on the year.

Heather Marcoux  |  Dec 29th 2015


If your social media feeds are anything like mine, then you probably see a lot of sad animal stories.Dogster_Heroes_award1_small_19_0_0_3_1_01 We hear so much about those who keep dogs down; it’s nice to take some time to recognize those pups and people who lift each other — and us — up.

Around here, they’re called Dogster Heroes. Some are dogs, some are people, and they’re all awesome.

Let’s take a look at 10 memorable Dogster Heroes of 2015.

1. Boots — a hurricane survivor and kitten nanny

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Having Boots in the kitten nursery shows potential adopters that dogs and cats can get along. (Photo courtesy Arizona Humane Society)

This year marked the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and we recognized hurricane survivor Boots as a Dogster Hero for the work he’s done since. The 13-year-old Golden Retriever/Chow Chow mix suffered severe injuries to his paws in the aftermath of the storm, but thanks to the rescuers with the Arizona Humane Society, Boots made it through and found a new home in Phoenix. A gentle cat-lover, Boots now gives back to the organization that saved him, socializing little kittens to make them more adoptable.

2. The Blueboys — two adorable “Pit Bulls” in pajamas 

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(Photo courtesy The Blueboys on Instagram)

Bully breeds often get an undeserving bad rep, but The Blueboys, Darren and Phillip of Brisbane, Australia, are helping people see the softer side of Pit Bull-type dogs thanks to their pajama-filled Instagram account. The duo of English Staffies are lending a paw to rescue efforts Down Under and changing perceptions of bully breeds all over the world.

3. Monika Biernacki — a savior of Australia’s death-row dogs 

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Monika cuddles rescue babies Winnie and Kirby at the Doggiewood shelter. (Photo courtesy Monika’s Doggie Rescue)

Another Dogster Hero hailing from Australia, Monika Biernacki is the founder and CEO of Monika’s Doggie Rescue. She was working as a pet sitter when a trip to the pound changed her life — she simply couldn’t turn her back on dogs who would otherwise be euthanized. Since 2001, Biernacki has saved more than 11,427 dogs in Sydney, and her organization is the city’s largest private dog rescue.

4. The Mr. Mo Project — a friend to homeless senior dogs 

A group of rescued Mr. Mo senior pups enjoying a sunny Facebook photo op. (Photo courtesy of Mr. Mo Project's Facebook page)

A group of rescued Mr. Mo senior pups enjoying a sunny Facebook photo op. (Photo courtesy of Mr. Mo Project’s Facebook page)

An amazing Dogster Hero, the Mr. Mo Project places senior dogs in foster families, saving them from shelter euthanization. The organization’s great work for seniors doesn’t end there, though — it also helps financially when a family who already has a senior dog is having trouble paying their furry friend’s medical bills.

5. Figo — a guide dog who saved his blind human

Figo is as beautiful as he is brave. (Photo courtesy ASPCA)

Figo is as beautiful as he is brave. (Photo courtesy ASPCA)

Recognized as the ASPCA’s Dog of the Year for 2015, Figo has been through a lot this year. He saved his handler from an oncoming mini-bus back in June, quickly putting himself between her and the vehicle. He then spent months in recovery before the pair could be reunited. The amazing Golden Retriever finally got to go home to his human in November and is once again helping her cross streets.

6. Lulu — a therapy dog who comforts mourners at a New York funeral home

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Ballard-Durand CEO Matthew Fiorillo and Lulu, the funeral home’s comfort dog. (All photos courtesy Ballard-Durand Funeral & Cremation Services)

A special kind of therapy dog, this Goldendoodle with a heart of gold works as a “comfort companion” at a funeral home, helping mourning families get through one of the darkest days of their lives. Because any little bit of comfort is appreciated after the death of a loved one, Lulu is definitely a Dogster Hero worth celebrating.

7. Angel — Houston’s official therapy dog

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Angel loves to visit patients as a therapy dog. (Photo courtesy Trish Herrera)

This Dogster Hero was born with just three legs and one eye, but that hasn’t stopped her from becoming the official therapy dog of Houston, Texas. Angel the Golden Retriever proves that puppies born with differences don’t need to be euthanized, they just need to find the right human to help them reach their potential.

8.  Jeanie — the three-legged therapy dog who saved an elderly cockatiel 

Petie is spending more time indoors these days, but Jeanie is still checking up on him.

Petie is spending more time indoors these days, but Jeanie is still checking up on him. (Photo courtesy Jeanie the 3-Legged Pooch on Facebook)

Another delightful three-legged pooch, Jeanie became a Dogster Hero after she saved her family’s senior cockatiel, Petie, from an attacking hawk. That act of bravery wasn’t Jeanie’s first time being a hero. The little PomeranianPoodleYorkiePapillon mix is a therapy dog who helps kids during sexual abuse investigations. This little Dogster Hero has a big story and recently released her own picture book!

9. Isabella Masso, a 10-year-old who uses her design skills to get dogs adopted

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Isabella on the red carpet at BarkWorld Expo. (Photo by Gina Cioli/i-5 Studio)

The young proprietor of Isabella’s Pet Shop, Masso creates high fashion clip-on flowers and bow ties for dogs and is as socially conscious as she is creative. The innovative tween donates a portion of each sale to rescue groups and also offers her product for use in dog adoption photos. The dapper collar clips help the pups stand out and attract the attention of potential adopters.

10. The Bacons — a family who turned the Sandy Hook tragedy into a therapy dog mission

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Through Charlotte’s Litter, the Bacon Family advocates for therapy dogs in educational settings. (Photo courtesy the Bacon family)

The Bacon family suffered an incomprehensible loss when their 6-year-old daughter, Charlotte, was killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. After experiencing the impact therapy dogs can make on kids during tough times, this incredible family created Charlotte’s Litter, a program dedicated to putting therapy dogs into schools. Through Charlotte’s Litter, therapy dogs are providing kids with emotional support and helping them with literacy skills. It’s been three years since the Bacon family lost Charlotte, but her legacy has just begun thanks to these amazing Dogster Heroes.

These are my favorites! Please share yours in the comments.

About the Author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but the addition of a second cat, Specter, and the dog duo of GhostBuster and Marshmallow make her fur family complete. Sixteen paws is definitely enough. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook, and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google+.