FOX News I Winner, winner! American Humane announces its 2023 Hero Dog Award recipient

November 6, 2023

A canine winner has been crowned.

American Humane announced its 13th annual Hero Dog Award — and the honors go to a 150-pound therapy dog.

Maverick is a European Blue Great Dane who was nominated for the 2023 American Humane Hero Dog Award in the therapy dog category.

Maverick is known to have a “superpower” that allows him to comfort people and ease their souls, according to his owner Kelly Brownfield.

Brownfield told Fox News Digital that Maverick, who currently works with the United Service Organizations, or USO, to support American troops and family members, was born for a purpose.


Maverick, currently in Missouri, is a 150-pound, six-year-old dog who is working with the USO to provide therapeutic needs to service members and their families. (Courtesy of Kelly Brownfield/American Humane)

“Maverick’s superpower is his ability to calm people with a touch of his paw, giving them the strength to move forward,” she said.

The six-year-old therapy category nominee-turned-winner is currently stationed at the Fort Leonard Wood post in Missouri.

Maverick and owner

Maverick and Brownfield (pictured here) are a dynamic duo who have been working together ever since Maverick was a puppy.  (Courtesy of Kelly Brownfield/American Humane)

Maverick supports service members, escorts children to military funerals for their parents, and helps men and women cope with trauma, according to American Humane.

To date in 2023, Maverick and Brownfield have completed 55 “special mission” requests.

When at home, Maverick continues to support his owner as well — as Brownfield is in her sixth year of fighting cancer.

Maverick and cat hugging

Maverick is known for his hugs — and his ability to bring a sense of calmness to others.  (Courtesy of Kelly Brownfield/American Humane)

The pair is similar in that aspect, too, as Maverick was diagnosed with cancer in 2022 in his leg. He survived it thanks to a surgical procedure.

Brownfield said Maverick’s strength is one of his best qualities.

“The people he helps are his story. We draw strength from those people who have left a piece of themselves with Maverick,” she said.

Maverick and young child

Maverick works with service members and their families who are going through trauma.  (Courtesy of Kelly Brownfield/American Humane)

American Humane CEO Robin Ganzert told Fox News Digital that the awards are special in that they recognize our country’s deserving four-legged heroes.

“From the brave military working dogs protecting our troops to the selfless service dogs who empower their handlers, there are so many extraordinary dogs across the country who make the world a better place,” she said.

Votes by the public, plus decisions by a judging panel, contributed to the selection of the Hero Dog Award winner.

Maverick and service members

Maverick is currently stationed in Missouri. The dog works with service members to bring light and happiness to everyday life.  (Courtesy of Kelly Brownfield/American Humane)

The Hero Dog Award nominees fell into five different categories: therapy, service and guide, military, law enforcement and first responder, and shelter.

Maverick and the other four dog finalists will be honored at the 13th annual American Humane Hero Dog Awards in Palm Beach, Florida, on Nov. 10.

The hosts of the awards are Christie Brinkley and Carson Kressley.