Mental Health

published : 2023-11-08

American Humane Awards Maverick the 2023 Hero Dog Award

Meet Maverick, the 150-pound therapy dog who took home the top prize

An image of Maverick, the 150-pound therapy dog, comforting a service member at the USO base in Missouri. [Taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV]

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 (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.

'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.

A heartwarming moment captured between Maverick and Kelly Brownfield, his owner, as they provide support to military families. [Taken with Nikon D850]

Maverick and Brownfield are a dynamic duo who have been working together ever since Maverick was a puppy.

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 is known for his hugs and his ability to bring a sense of calmness to others.

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.

American Humane CEO Robin Ganzert presenting Maverick with the prestigious Hero Dog Award during the ceremony in Palm Beach. [Taken with Sony Alpha a7 III]

Maverick works with service members and their families who are going through trauma.

American Humane CEO Robin Ganzert stated that the awards are special in that they recognize our country's deserving four-legged heroes.

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

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.