America’s VetDogs Graduate & U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major (Ret.) Gretchen Evans and Hearing Dog Aura Place Semifinalist in 2020 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®

SMITHTOWN, NEW YORK, JUNE 8, 2020 – America’s VetDogs is thrilled to announce U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major (Ret.) Gretchen Evans and her highly trained hearing service dog “Aura” have advanced to the semifinals of the 2020 American Humane Hero Dog Awards®. 

Gretchen was teamed with hearing dog Aura in January 2015, officially becoming America’s VetDogs’ first hearing dog team. Aura’s specially trained to perform tasks for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. She will respond to sounds by determining the location of the sound and alerting Gretchen by poking her in the leg. Then the dog will take her to the source of the sound. According to Gretchen, “I went from being a blown-up deaf person to a person who now feels safe and secure in the world. She never has a day off and I rely on her to keep me safe. She provides me with the confidence I need to interact in the world.”

According to the American Humane Hero Dog Awards, Aura was chosen as a semifinalist based off of nearly half a million votes cast by animal lovers across the nation. She is one of 21 heroic hounds who were chosen by the public to advance to the semifinals from a field of 408 remarkable candidates. 

“We are proud to have VetDogs graduate and board member Gretchen Evans and hearing dog Aura as a semifinalist in the 2020 American Humane Hero Dog Awards,” says President & CEO John Miller, America’s VetDogs, “Gretchen and Aura truly encompass and represent our mission to provide a life without boundaries. The pair make a strong and successful team overcoming any obstacles or challenges they may face.” 

The public is invited to visit between now and July 16 to vote once per day in each of the seven Hero Dog categories. The winning dog in each category will take part in the nationally televised Hero Dog Awards this fall and this year’s top American Hero Dog will be revealed.

Media Contact: Allison Storck,, 631-334-2615