If there was ever a dog who embodied the essence of a true hero, it’s Hooch, a rescue dog whose spirit and resilience earned him American Humane’s 2016 Hero Dog Award. Hooch is a French Mastiff who ended up at a shelter in Bakersfield, California. He came to the attention of Zach Skow of Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue in Tehachapi, California because the shelter was concerned that he would not eat or drink.
Hooch had severely cropped ears and a broken tail. He was very malnourished and dehydrated. Rescuers suspected that he might have an injured jaw, causing him to be unable to eat or drink out of bowls. While sedating him for X-rays, they made a shocking discovery. Hooch’s tongue had been totally removed. This led rescuers to suspect that he had been used as a bait dog for dogfighting.
Hooch would not accept a feeding tube, but luckily, he likes being hand-fed! Hooch tips his head back and lets Zach place food at the back of his throat, and he’s able to swallow it. Hooch’s bravery is a true inspiration, and he now spends his time with the Miracle Mutts division of Marley’s Mutts. He works as a therapy dog for abused, autistic, and other special-needs children. He is kind and patient with the kids and serves as a reminder that even a tremendous amount of adversity can be bravely overcome.
Congratulations to Hooch and all of the other pups nominated for the Hero Dog Awards!