Great Dane Maverick Named America’s Hero Dog Title for Therapy Work
Maverick, a majestic European Blue Great Dane, has captured hearts nationwide after being crowned America’s Hero Dog. Weighing in at a substantial 150 pounds, Maverick isn’t just any therapy dog, Fox 2 now reports, he’s a lifeline to many US military members, providing unparalleled support and comfort during their most challenging times.
The USO’s Gentle Giant
Within the walls of Fort Leonard Wood’s USO, Maverick’s presence is a beacon of hope. His days are spent on noble tasks—accompanying service members on suicide watch, guiding grieving children through military funerals, and offering solace to those grappling with trauma. As Fox reports, Maverick’s impact is profound, and his gentle paw has the power to steady the trembling hearts of heroes.
Beyond the Call of Duty
Maverick’s service transcends the usual scope of therapy work. In 2023 alone, he has completed over 55 “special mission” requests—sensitive tasks that carry great emotional weight. Be it sitting by the side of a soldier on suicide watch or comforting military children in court, Maverick’s role is vital in the healing process of many, the Army reports.
“Maverick is certified and tested through Alliance of Therapy Dogs, which doesn’t allow you to test until the dog is a year old. He passed with flying colors and hasn’t looked back since,” Maverick’s handler Kelly Brownfield told the Army.
Brownfield shared an inspirational story of resilience about herself and Maverick. Both are cancer survivors, drawing strength from each other and the individuals they assist. Brownfield believes that Maverick was born to fulfill this noble purpose and their journey together only deepens their ability to empathize and aid others.
“The people he helps are his story. We draw strength from those people who have left a piece of themselves with Maverick,” she told Fox.
An Award of Valor
The American Humane Hero Dog Awards, now in its 13th year, celebrates canine companions like Maverick who perform extraordinary acts. The selection process involves public voting and a panel of judges, underscoring the community’s admiration for these dogs. Maverick’s story will be featured in a nationally televised event, further highlighting his remarkable contributions.
The symbolism of Maverick’s military patches and pins adorning his vest tells a story of countless lives touched. Each token represents a soul comforted, a spirit lifted—a narrative of heroism and hope.
“I don’t think he realizes just how big of a deal he is, but maybe that’s because serving others comes so naturally to him and he loves every minute of it,” Brownfield said.
As we honor Maverick, we also pay tribute to the silent stories of service members whose lives he’s forever changed.
Maverick’s tale is a testament to the extraordinary abilities of therapy dogs and their handlers. This Great Dane is not just a companion but a hero who walks among us, paw in hand with those in need.