Therapy dog with 4 prosthetic legs in running for Hero Dog award

(3TV/CBS 5) -

She’s the sweetest girl ever, with an inspiring tale that offers hope after hardship.

Her story will give you chills.

Meet Chi Chi, named the nation’s top therapy dog of the year. She’s now among the seven remarkable canines to have been named finalists in the 2018 American Humane Hero Dog Award.

She also has four prosthetic legs.

[RELATED: Phoenix pup with four prosthetic legs helps inspire others]

The four-year-old golden retriever was found in a trash bag in South Korea with a bad infection in her paws. Her rescuers believe she was likely part of the dog-meat market

The dog was saved, but her paws were in such bad shape that all four of them, along with portions of her legs, had to be amputated.

Chi Chi survived her surgery and now, with the help of prosthetics, gets around like a champ.

“She’s a survivor. She’s a fighter,” says Chi Chi’s owner, Elizabeth Howell.

[RELATED: Phoenix family adopts dog with no paws from South Korea]

Since coming to Phoenix from South Korea, Chi Chi (nicknamed “Chi Chi the Great”) has become a social media sensation with thousands of followers on Instagram, and twice that on her Facebook page.

A Valley family, Richard, Elizabeth and their daughter, high school freshman Megan Howell, gave Chi Chi her forever home.

“I just saw the video of her right after she was rescued. Her eyes just captured my heart. And I just felt that it was meant to be, that she was supposed to come and be with our family,” said Howell.

“When she first arrived at our home, she was afraid of people, but with time and lots of love and grace, she realized that she is safe and no one will ever hurt her again. She forgave and decided to trust people again. She quickly adapted to her first set of custom prosthetics and now loves spending her days as a certified therapy dog sharing her joy and cheerful demeanor with people of all ages.”

“She has acclimated really well into our family,” said 14-year-old Megan Howell. “We have three other dogs and they all get along.”

Chi Chi is also a cancer survivor. Recently, she had surgery to remove cancerous tumors

When people hear Chi Chi’s story and experience her attitude of joy, they are often inspired to face their challenges with renewed courage and a fresh perspective.

Chi Chi brings joy everywhere she goes and her optimism and smile spreads quickly to others. She positively impacts thousands of people all over the world via her online therapy work through her social media accounts.

“She goes to a Title One school in Phoenix,” said Megan. She works with kids who are learning how to read there. She also works with children with autism there. She goes to the public library and helps with the reading program there.”

She also visits folks in the VA hospital, in rehab centers and senior living centers.

“She’s changed our lives and the lives of so many people,” said Elizabeth Howell.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Critter Corner]

This is one special dog.

She was even featured in People Magazine.

Now, Chi Chi is in the running to become an American Humane Hero Dog.

The American Humane Hero Dog  Awards is a yearly effort that works to identify and recognize the extraordinary things even ordinary dogs do. 

After nearly one million votes by the public and a special VIP judging panel, Chi Chi from Phoenix was chosen from among hundreds of heroic hounds to go to Hollywood, where she will compete to become the nation’s 2018 American Hero Dog.

The Hero Dog Awards were created by American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, to showcase the powerful, life-changing bond between people and animals.

“The American Humane Hero Dog Awards celebrate the tremendously important roles dogs play in our lives,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane president and CEO. 

This year’s Hero Dog Awards will be held September 29 at the Beverly Hilton in Hollywood, and broadcast nationwide on Hallmark Channel this fall. 

Want to help Chi Chi win?

You can vote and share every day for Chi Chi in the American Humane Hero Dog Awards. 
Vote  here:
http://herodogawards.org/dog/chi-chi/  

You can also follow her on social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chichirescuedog/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chichirescuedog/
Twitter: 
@ChiChiRescueDog

And if you’d like to help the family defray medical expenses, a Go Fund Me link has been set up:
https://www.gofundme.com/chichirescuedog

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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