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Awards show throws dogs more than a bone

Kristin Chenoweth hosts Hero Dog Awards at 7 p.m. Thursday on Hallmark Channel
By Jacqueline Cutler Published: November 7, 2012

This awards show has the usual — red carpet, stars and a glamorous Beverly Hills setting. But it's also one of the few where people know who won before it airs, and no one bothers whispering that some honorees are bitches.

Hallmark Channel's American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards, airing at 7 p.m. Thursday, were held Oct. 6 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, with Oklahoma actress Kristin Chenoweth hosting.

“I have always been a fan of Hallmark TV movies,” Chenoweth says. “I grew up watching them, but this is a Hallmark movie that is real life. It celebrates our beloved animals, who go above and beyond what they are called to do.”

Chenoweth brought her Maltese, Madeline Kahn Chenoweth, to the awards, but she says the night's big winner, Gabe, a yellow Lab, was better behaved. Though Chenoweth has hosted other shows, being center stage at such an event has its challenges.

“It is very nerve-racking because you are obviously not hiding behind a role,” says the actress, who has won a Tony and starred most recently in the short-lived “GCB.” “It is really fun to shoot something when you believe in it so much. It is scary because you are hosting an evening, and your job is to keep it going.”

The stories focus on the dogs, which won in various categories after the public voted. Gabe completed 210 missions in Iraq. His handler, Sgt. 1st Class Charles Shuck, began working with Gabe in 2006 when he was told to report to the pound and pick one of two dogs.

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