After more than 1 million votes across the country, a 10-year-old yellow Labrador from Mount Airy, Maryland, named Staff Sergeant Summer, was picked to be the nation’s “Military Dog of the Year.”
Staff Sergeant Summer advances with six other dogs to the finals of the "2021 American Humane Hero Dog Awards," which is sponsored by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation.
The veteran lab worked with Micah Jones, a retired U.S. Air Force Sergeant who is currently the Patrol/K9 Supervisor with the Amtrak Police Department.
Staff Sergeant Summer retired in 2013 from the U.S. Marine Corps as a Military Working Dog and war dog. She was most recently retired as a Police Explosive Detection Dog, where she worked for the past 7 years.
According to Jones, the female Labrador put her life on the line many times to save soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Due to the exposure to war zones and “traumatic events” Staff Sergeant Summer has experienced PTSD since December 2015 and copes with it daily.
Due to her brave service to the country, she received the PDSA Commendation Award in July 2017 and the Lois Pope K9 Medal of Courage on Capitol Hill in 2018.
Staff Sergeant Summer continues to support her fellow veterans by visiting them in the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home in Maryland.
The other six finalist dogs are winners in different categories, including Shelter Dog of the Year, Therapy Dog of the Year, Service Dog of the Year, Guide/Hearing Dog of the Year, Law Enforcement Dog of the Year, and Search and Rescue Dog of the Year.
According to a press release, the seven finalists were selected from more than 400 nominees.
The award ceremony will be broadcast nationally on television as a two-hour special on Hallmark Drama in the fall.
Voting is now open here through Sept. 7 for the "2021 American Hero Dog."