The Humane Society of the United States has chosen Uggie, the world famous, scene-stealing Jack Russell terrier from last year's Academy Award-winning film "The Artist," to be the spokesdog for its Pets of Valor Award.
The award celebrates the human-animal bond by honoring rescued or adopted dogs and cats who have exhibited an extraordinary sense of courage or resolve by heroically helping a person in need. Acclaimed for his portrayal of a loyal dog who courageously rescues his owner from a fire in "The Artist," Uggie is uniquely qualified for his spokesdog duties and he will help announce the winner on June 2.
"Uggie's honored to have been chosen by The Humane Society of the United States to be spokesdog for The Pets of Valor Award, although he did hesitate at first when he heard that cats were to be included, but now he likes the idea of having an excuse to bark for them, instead of at them," says Omar Von Muller, Uggie's owner and trainer.
Uggie has a best-selling autobiography ("Uggie - My Story") to his credit, as well as the distinction of being the first dog to have his pawprints memorialized outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. But now the mega star pooch, who was adopted by Von Muller after his first family rejected him for being "too wild," is using his fame to shine the light on his unsung fellow companion animal heroes and to encourage pet adoption.
"It's always gratifying when a star of Uggie's magnitude takes time out of his busy schedule to give back. As spokesdog for The Humane Society of the United States' Pets of Valor Award, Uggie proves he's a hero both on and off screen by advocating for the adoption of his fellow companion animals," says Beverly Kaskey, senior director of HSUS' Hollywood Outreach.
Uggie is calling on all humans to nominate dogs and cats who have committed heroic acts between Jan. 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013 to submit details of their actions to humanesociety.org/petsofvalor. Drawing on Uggie's insider knowledge, HSUS' companion animal experts will select five finalists, based on the significance and impact of the dog or cat's valor, and the winner will be chosen by a public online vote that runs May 24-31, 2013.
Photo credit: Omar Von Muller.