Honza Bear Is Asking for Your Vote to Become a “Hero Dog”

Honza wearing his doggie goggles or "doggles."

Honza wearing his doggie goggles or “doggles.”

There’s still time to vote in the 2013 American Humane Association’s annual “Hero Dog” competition.

I confess. I have a bias in the military dog category for Honza “Bear.” I fell in love with Honza and his story the first time I read about him on Kevin Hanrahan’s blog which was long before the Labrador was up for this award.

If you need incentive, know that Honza completed over 250 combat missions in Afghanistan with 14 confirmed finds of explosives weighing over 400lbs.He is credited with saving the life of his handler and many others numerous times. But, Honza didn’t stop there. If he wasn’t taking the lead on combat missions, he was visiting wounded troops and lifting morale among all the soldiers.


Moments after receiving the Bronze Star, SGT Nolan knelt down and pinned the medal on Honza.

You can vote for Honaz “Bear” to be the 2013 Military Hero Dog here.

If you need some convincing, here’s what Hanrahan wrote after having lunch with Honza’s handler, SGT Nolan:

U.S. Army Sergeant John Nolan told me a great story. When he received his bronze star right before redeploying from Afghanistan he ripped it off his own chest and placed it on his military working dog, Specialized Search Dog Honza “Bear”.

He told me that Honza Bear had done all the work, he’s the one that found all those Improvised Explosives…….Honza Bear is the reason John Nolan and many of the Green Beret Team members are alive today.

Since military working dogs cannot receive military awards, Hanrahan and Nolan hope Honza Bear will receive the American Humane Society Hero Dog Award.

Tampa VA Doctor Wins Award for Type 2 Diabetes Research

Dr. Robert Farese shows off a diagram of signals insulin sends to the liver with Type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Robert Farese shows off a diagram of signals insulin sends to the liver with Type 2 diabetes.

The top biomedical researcher in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs works at James A. Haley VA Hospital in Tampa.

Dr. Robert Farese won the 2012 William Middleton Award, which is given for outstanding biomedical research, for his investigation into the causes and possible cure of Type 2 diabetes,  

Farese’s “break-through” work is important to veterans because 25 percent of all vets discharged from the VA have a diabetes diagnosis, usually Type 2 diabetes.

His research has led to a better understanding of how insulin acts in obesity, the metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes. He’s also developed a new approach to treating those disorders.

Dr. Robert Farese in his lab at James A. Haley VA Hospital.

Dr. Robert Farese in his lab at James A. Haley VA Hospital.

He said they’ve actually found where the defects are in the insulin signaling with Type 2 diabetes and devised ways of hit that target or block the abnormalities.

So far in his animal models, they’ve been able to prevent Type 2 diabetes and have reversed Type 2 diabetes in animals that have had the condition for a long time.

“Whether that will happen in humans, we don’t know yet because we obviously haven’t tried it,” Farese said. “It will take a lot of work and expense to do that.”

He said it will take investment of millions from a pharmaceutical company to do additional animal testing and to take the therapies into clinical trials.

But Farese is optimistic he’s on the right track. He said in animals, his new, therapeutic approach out performs the most commonly used drug for Type 2 diabetes.

“When we hit our target, we improve glucose metabolism just exactly the way insulin does,” Farese said. “What this means is that by hitting our target we can reproduce what insulin does in the liver.”

Moving his research findings from animal models to human trials and eventually the market is years off.  

But by winning the Middleton Award, Farese will receive an additional $50,000 in research support for the next three years.

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