Sparky the Fire Dog Named Spokesdog for 2012 Hero Dog Awards

Citing the universal appeal of the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) mascot Sparky the Fire Dog®, American Humane Association tapped the famous Dalmatian character to be an official "spokesdog" for the annual American Humane Association Hero Dog AwardsTM. Presented by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and broadcast nationwide on Hallmark Channel, the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards are produced by Emmy® award-winning MRB Productions and will take place October 6, 2012 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, California.

"Sparky has been a hero to children, adults, and firefighters for more than 60 years," said Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. "He is a natural choice to help us celebrate the amazing things dogs do to help us every day that warrant recognition."

Sparky was created for NFPA in 1951 and has been the official mascot of NFPA ever since. He is widely recognized as a fire and life safety icon that is beloved by children and adults alike. Millions have learned about fire safety through educational lessons or materials featuring his image. Sparky frequently visits schools and participates in community events to spread fire safety messages, often accompanied by his firefighter friends. In addition to connecting with the public through public service announcements, he plays prominently in Fire Prevention Week campaigns each October. In celebration of Sparky’s 60th birthday last year, author Don Hoffman and illustrator Todd Dakins created Sparky the Fire Dog®, a picture book that offers an entertaining and educational adventure filled with lessons and fire safety messages for youngsters.

The annual American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards, which draws stars and celebrities (human and canine alike), features awards in eight categories, including law enforcement/arson dogs, service dogs, military dogs, hearing dogs, search and rescue dogs, guide dogs, therapy dogs, and "emerging hero dogs” (pets and ordinary dogs that do extraordinary things). During a nationwide search hundreds of dogs from all 50 states were nominated. The public can now vote to choose this year’s finalists  through June 30, 2012.

"American Humane Association has a longstanding commitment to child and animal welfare and we are thrilled to work with them to put a spotlight on this important work,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Communications. "At the same time, Sparky’s presence reminds people of the importance of fire safety."

For more information about the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards, visit www.herodogawards.org or www.americanhumane.org.

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