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Two hometown heroes meet at Kentucky Derby red carpet

Louisville's own Jack Harlow met Ethan, a dog who was once abandoned but now spreads love and positivity everywhere he goes.
Credit: Jeff Callaway

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Two hometown heroes and shining representations of Louisville pride met while walking the red carpet at the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby.

On Saturday, Louisville's own Jack Harlow met Ethan, a dog who was once abandoned but now spreads love and positivity everywhere he goes.

Back in 2021, Ethan was left emaciated and dying in the parking lot of the Kentucky Humane Society in Louisville. 

He weighed just 38 pounds when he should've weighed about 90 pounds and he was severely dehydrated. Veterinarians weren't sure if he'd even make it past the first night.

Fast forward two years, Ethan is celebrated by Louisvillians and has been honored in dozens of events benefitting animals and the community.

Ethan has been honored with several 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"
  • Jan. 2023 Gov. Andy Beshear named January: "Ethan Almighty Shelter Animal Awareness Month." 

Ethan's owner, Jeff Callaway, said in a Facebook post how incredible it was to share his story with people who have no idea who he was at the Derby.

"So many people knew Ethan and his story," he said. "It was also great to spread his inspirational journey with people who had not heard of Ethan but asked why this handsome, well behaved dog was at the derby, on the red carpet."

Callaway bragged about how amazing Ethan was in the crowd, and how he was always happy to receive pets from his adoring fans.

"It’s really a testament to his wonderful, inspiring spirit," Callaway said. "I am very proud of him and I hope you guys are also."

In Louisville, Harlow is just as known for giving back to his community as he is for his music. Just a few weeks ago, the former Jefferson County student visited eight local schools, including his Alma Maters: Atherton High School and Highland Middle School.

Last week, Harlow was honored with his own Hometown Hero banner. At the ceremony, he said, "If someone could ask me if I'd rather have a Grammy or this, I'd choose this. A million times."

Harlow shows hometown pride in everything he does, even his music. In his newest album, Jackman, he references Louisville's oldest indie bookstore, Carmichael's, and even name-drops Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.

Now that Ethan and Jack Harlow have met, maybe the inspiring pup will get a shout out in his next song!

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