LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentuckiana's own Ethan, who was once left dying outside the Kentucky Humane Society, has won a national award for inspiring so many people after overcoming incredible odds.
Ethan is the winner of the 2022 American Humane Hero Dog Awards.
The American Humane Hero Dog Awards is a nonprofit organization that strives to advance society’s understanding of the powerful relationship between dogs and people.
The award recognizes dogs in several categories including law enforcement dogs, therapy dogs and guide/hearing dogs.
Ethan was originally nominated in the "Shelter Dogs" category, which he won. After competing against the other winners of their categories, he has now officially won the title of "Hero Dog."
Based on more than one million votes by the American public and the deliberations of a VIP panel of dog experts and celebrity animal lovers, Ethan was named this year’s American Hero Dog at the Hero Dog Awards gala in Palm Beach, Florida on Nov. 11, according to a press release.
Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane, said this award was created to honor some of the world’s most extraordinary heroes
“This year’s finalists have gone above and beyond the call of duty, saving lives on the battlefield, comforting children and seniors, and inspiring us to overcome our own challenges," Ganzert said. "All are heroes, but I am overjoyed to congratulate Ethan on winning this year’s top title!”
A Timeline of Ethan's Life
When Ethan was first abandoned outside of KHS in 2021, officials weren't sure if he'd even survive the first night. He was over 40 pounds lighter than he should've been, every bone can be seen from his dehydrated skin, he had lost a tremendous amount of muscle and he was also filthy from feces and urine.
"While we don’t know how Ethan got to this point, based on his condition, we surmise he may have been locked in a crate without food for weeks," KHS wrote on their website. "However he got to this condition, we are doing everything we can to save him."
On Feb. 4 he took his first steps since before he arrived. Feb. 11, KHS announced Ethan weighed 65 pounds, gaining 27 pounds in just 12 days. The following night, Ethan spent his first night at his foster dad's, Jeff's, house in Jeffersonville, Ind.
On March 10, Jeff and his family officially adopted Ethan. The KHS volunteers and staff threw together an adoption ceremony to celebrate.
Since his adoption, Ethan has gotten a ton of recognition and awards, including:
- May 2021, he was given the job "Chief Tasting Officer" for Busch Beer.
- Sept. 2021 he was inducted into the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association Animal Hall of Fame.
- June 2022 he won the Muhammad Ali Center's C.H.A.M.P. award.
- August 2022 he won the "2022 Shelter Hero Dog" award.
- November 2022 he beat out 400 other remarkable dogs to win the "2022 American Humane Hero Dog Awards"