The 8th Annual Streamy Awards has partnered with Milk-Bone to present the first-ever “Milk-Bone Dog of the Year Honor,” and three finalists have captured the hearts of millions across the nation.
The Streamy Awards historically only nominates humans, but decided to extend the honor to our favorite furry friends this year. According to the Streamy Awards site, the award is meant to honor a dog who does “more for us every day” and deserves recognition.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Streamy Awards to present the Dog of the Year Honor,” Jonathan Rodgers, senior brand manager of Milk-Bone said on the Streamy Awards site. “At Milk-Bone we believe that all dogs – from service animals to our everyday companions – bring so much joy and love to our lives every day that they deserve to be recognized for the first time among their human counterparts at the Streamy Awards. Dogs live with more enthusiasm, love with more heart, and see the world with more perspective. We are excited for the opportunity to celebrate them with the Milk Bone Dog of the Year Honor.”
The three finalists in the running for the Milk-Bone Dog of the Year Honor are Louboutina the Hugging Dog, Pierre Don’t Care and Todd the Hero Dog. “Loubie” spreads love to strangers on the streets of New York, Pierre serves as a volunteer therapy dog at a children’s hospital in Los Angeles, and Todd saved his owner’s life from a rattlesnake attack by jumping in front of his owner and taking the bite himself.
Below is more information on the nominees. Voting closed on October 19th, but the awards ceremony can be live-streamed on YouTube tonight at 6:00 p.m. Pacific. The live stream YouTube video is posted below.
Here’s what you need to know about the finalists:
Louboutina The Hugging Dog Spreads Love & Hugs to Strangers on the Streets of New York
Louboutina The Hugging Dog, otherwise known as Loubie, is well-known around the streets of New York for her big cozy hugs. According to her owner, Cesar Fernandez-Chavez, she has been brightening the lives of strangers since she was 3-years-old and quickly gained national attention for her sweet snuggles.
“Loubie started hugging around the age of 3, and it happened in the most random way. People were already posting pictures of her across social media and that’s when I decided to create her Instagram to be able to see what other people are posting of her, without thinking or planning her account was going to get big. I like to share stories of other people reactions when they met or got a hug from Loubie. I think that’s the beauty of her page.”
After Fernandez-Chavez started realizing just how much Loubie loved making strangers smile, he started training her to become a service dog. “I saw her demeanor was to make people feel better and decided to get her formal training for that, but the hugging and holding hands is her own personality. I didn’t train her or anyone else,” he tells Heavy.
Loubie has brought joy to the lives of many, but the cancer survivors that have found comfort from Loubie is what keeps Fernandez-Chavez the most determined to continue spreading her love.
“We have met cancer survivors, a woman who was introduced to Loubie’s story by her mother who passed away from cancer, a little girl from a different state who passed the year with honors and the reward was that her mother will bring her to NYC to meet Loubie. All of these kinds of stories is what keeps us going,” Fernandez-Chavez tells Heavy.
Fernandez-Chavez says that his life has “changed tremendously” since Loubie started gaining national attention. Fernandez-Chavez is a TV producer, and has always preferred to stay behind the camera, but he and Loubie were quickly thrown in the spotlight, and although he says it can sometimes be overwhelming, he is so happy to watch Loubie interact with fans and strangers.
“What is rewarding is that we always meet people with good energy,” he tells Heavy. “Dog lovers or pet owner are always very aware of how a pet can change your life for good. I feel lucky we get to interact with good people all the time.”
Pierre Don’t Care is a Stylish Pup That Serves as a Volunteer Therapy Dog at UCLA’s Mattel Children’s Hospital and LAX
Pierre Don’t Care is a super stylish therapy pup that loves back and armpit scratches, belly rubs and looking fashionable while providing therapeutic relief to the people he’s serving. Pierre and his owner, Matt Elias, volunteer at UCLA’s Mattel Children’s Hospital and LAX airport.
When Pierre was a puppy, Elias says he was a very mellow pup, and really great around people. Elias says it would be “selfish not to share him with others,” and since both of Elias’s parents worked in a hospital setting most of his life (his father was a pediatrician and his mother worked as a physical therapist in convalescent homes) he says it was second-nature to be around hospitals. Elias had heard about UCLA’s People Animal Connection (PAC) program, so he decided to have Pierre tested for his therapy dog certification. Elias tells Heavy that Pierre passed on the first try and became the youngest dog to join PAC.
“I decided to focus on the pediatric units because he’s so easy going with kids – you can plop him in their bed and they can yank on his neck rolls and he doesn’t care,” Elias tells Heavy. “What I didn’t expect was how much attention he got from staff. You don’t realize how stressful their day can be. I constantly hear, ‘Thank you, this totally made my day.’ And that’s just from a two-minute interaction. So that feels good. You’re helping people who are helping others. It’s mutually beneficial for Pierre – he loves the attention.”
After a year of doing PAC, Elias decided to join LAX’s therapy dog program, Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP). He says that the environment was completely different to that of a hospital setting – nervous fliers, people who have been away from home for a long time and miss their pets, and people who are just frazzled from traveling benefit the most from Pierre’s therapeutic snuggles.
“Airports can be so hectic, so if we can take people’s minds off that for a few minutes then we’re doing our job,” Elias tells Heavy. “It’s the same thing in the hospital. If you can distract a kid from getting blood drawn or lift their spirits after being stuck in the same room all day, then we’ve served our purpose. It only takes a few minutes of my time, but it has such a substantial impact on their lives.”
Elias says that Pierre is a hoot to be with, and he “sometimes think[s] that humans are here to serve him.” He enjoys running up to each and every person at the dog park to give and receive snuggles, before “moving on to his next target.”
“If they stop petting him he lets out a little ‘Woof’ as if he’s saying, ‘I’m not done with you yet, human,'” Elias tells Heavy.
Elias often dresses Pierre up in a multitude of cute costumes, which he enjoys posting on Pierre’s Instagram account. “I’m a big pop culture buff, so if I see a movie anniversary coming up I’ll put together a little outfit to post a photo to his Instagram. He’s been all sorts of characters –Sam Jackson from Pulp Fiction, Dan from Forrest Gump, Will Smith from Men In Black, and Marty McFly from Back to the Future. That one I got a little carried away with – I built him his own a DeLorean with lights and speakers that played Huey Lewis.”
Elias says he was incredibly grateful when Pierre was nominated for the Milk-Bone Dog of the Year Honor, and to be included in the first-ever category honoring dogs and the service they provide to humans has been “serendipitous and a full circle experience for me.”
“If we can inspire other people to get into therapy work, or just volunteer in general, then I’ll feel like we’ve something,” Elias tells Heavy. “It’s been a huge honor being nominated for The Streamys and being able to spread the word about therapy dog programs.”
Todd The Hero Dog Threw Himself in Front of His Owner When a Rattlesnake Attacked & is the Winner of the Milk-Bone Dog of the Year Award!
Congratulations to Todd for winning the Milk-Bone Dog of the Year Award! Although all three dogs (plus many, many more) were worthy of the award, voters chose Todd to win the award. He was honored on stage this evening during the 8th Annual Streamys.
Check out Todd’s story below! And congratulations again to Todd and his owner, Paula Godwin! And to Loubie and Pierre for their selfless service to humans everywhere! The world is a better place because of dogs.
Heroes come in all shapes, sizes and species, as proven by Todd the Golden Retriever. Todd’s owner Paula Godwin decided to treat her dogs to a hike in Anthem, Arizona, back in early July, when she nearly stepped on a rattlesnake that was lurking on the hiking trail. The rattlesnake reared back and went to strike Godwin, but her faithful pup jumped in harm’s way, taking the full force of attack.
Todd ended up suffering a serious bite on his snout. Godwin rushed Todd to a local animal hospital where he was treated for the bite.
Godwin wrote on Facebook: “So this morning was up bright and early to go on a hike on 7 th street carefree . It was a beautiful morning but as we were walking down the hill I literally almost stepped on a mf rattlesnake. But my hero of a puppy Todd saved me He jumped right in front of my leg were I surely would have got bit. This is what a hero looks like. please say a little prayer for my sweet hero.”
The news of Todd’s heroics spread quickly overnight, and Godwin woke up to hundreds of messages wishing Todd a quick recovery and commenting on his bravery. Godwin tells Heavy that she was concerned about Todd healing, since he was so young when the attack happened.
“I was worried about my sweet Todd but being that he was so young, I really wasn’t sure how he would react to the rattler anti-venom. Luckily it was perfect because he recovered so quickly after only one dose.”
A GoFundMe account was also set up at the time to help assist other pet owners that face threats of similar injuries in the area, which is known to have an abundance of venomous snakes and reptiles.
“I think Todd’s story really just touched so many people and it really pulled at their heartstrings and was a feel-good story,” Godwin tells Heavy. “I think people fell in love with Todd’s face and it’s so beautiful how a little puppy can connect people around the world with no agenda – just love.”
When asked how her life has changed since Todd’s story went viral, Godwin said: “Being Todd’s mom has opened so many doors and I love that my pup can be an instrument of love around the world. I love when people recognize Todd! It brings so many happy smiles and that’s a great feeling to know that your puppy brings happiness to the world.”
She added: “I think Todd was meant for our family, he is my hero. I hope he can continue to spread love around this world we live in.”