Great Dane from Palm Harbor in the running for Hero Dog award

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A local pooch could become the next American Humane Hero Dog, an award that recognizes dogs who do amazing things.

Maja Kazazich and her Great Dane, Rosie, have a lot in common. The Palm Harbor duo understand each other, mostly because both are amputees. 

Maja lived in Bosnia during the genocide in the 1990s. She explained on Good Day Tampa Bay that her and five friends were hanging out when a bomb exploded. Her friends were killed, and she lost her leg.

“The worse thing of all was actually that the genocide left me with PTSD,” she said, “and horrible panic attacks.”

She had a hundred surgeries, had to relearn how to walk, and learned to run again after 15 years. One day, she was being treated at Hanger Clinic, and the medical staff suggested she adopt Rosie.

“I was thinking, ‘Oh, a dog for panic attacks.’ It just didn’t seem like it was all real,” Maja recalled, but when she saw Rosie was also an amputee, she thought, “This is my dog. I have to have her.”

Rosie was trained to become a service dog, and ever since then, they’ve been a team. Rosie alerts Maja when she is about to have a panic attack, and Maja understands Rosie’s prosthetic needs.

“She helps me stop it prior to going into a blown effect,” Maja explained. “She’ll sense the discomfort. As soon as she comes over, we have our little routine that we do in order for it to stop, and I also take my medicine or whatever else I need to do.”

The award spotlights stories of heroes on both ends of the leash. The seven finalists will head to Hollywood for the ceremony. If Rosie wins, she would be the first Great Dane to receive the award. The last day for voting is April 25. Winners will be honored in September.

If you wish to vote for Rosie, head to