Everyday Heroes Among Us

Target’s Story

The tragic story of Target, a canine war hero from Afghanistan, was described by Care2 blogger Sharon Seltzer.  A stray dog befriended by American soldiers while stationed in Afghanistan, Target was allowed to follow Sgt. Terry Young home to Arizona after saving up to 50 men on the military base from a suicide bomber. He became a beloved family pet.

Tragedy struck when Target was wrongfully euthanized by a local shelter when she escaped her yard and was picked up as a stray this past November.

Most Heroic Dog of 2010

There is an uplifting part to this story, though.  USA Today runs an annual contest to name an animal hero.  Readers submitted entries deemed worthy and five were picked for reader votes.

It was announced Wednesday that Target won with 58% of the vote.  She has been honored, posthumously, as Paw Print Post’s Most Heroic Dog of 2010.

But the award itself isn’t necessarily the big news here.  Two fellow nominees, Ricochet the surfing dog and Sparkles the fire safety dog, got together with their humans to help Sgt. Young and his family in a quest to build a no-kill shelter called Target’s Bunker – honoring her memory.

Ricochet has a large following on Facebook and his mom, Judy Fridono, has generously set up a page for donations to Target’s Bunker until the Youngs are able to get their non-profit status established.  In conjunction with Dayna Hilton – Sparkles’ mom – the two started the project dubbed Turning Votes into Voices.

Other Heroes

There is no doubt Target is a true hero.  But the everyday heroes among us are many.

They include Fridono and Hilton for recognizing a higher purpose in the life and memory of Target.  By being willing to forgo any accolades for themselves and their dog’s causes, they display the humble attitude of a real hero.

And Sgt. Young turned a horrific set of circumstances into a cause for others.  Young and his family are bringing the concept of No-Kill further into the public consciousness.  For that, they are heroes. 

Animals who find their way into the often unnavigationable maze of the animal welfare system in this country don’t have enough advocates to ease their way.  To the many animal welfare folk who work on the front lines every day by fostering, volunteering and transporting–among other efforts–you are the unsung heroes, but heroes nonetheless.

Sgt. Young and his family are now among your comrades.

Related Stories:

Afghanistan Dog Hero Wrongfully Euthanized

From Service Dog to Surfer Dog

Hero Puppy Saves Boy from Bee Attack


Photo of Target from targetsbunker.org used with permission of Sgt. Terry Young


Patricia Mcintyre
Patricia M6 years ago

Target was not a Pit Mix, she was a shepherd mix, not Pit in her at all... However it is such a strong attitude to kill in shelters no matter the breed... Just take a look at the numbnut vets allowed to treat animals in shelters who do not have their own practice... Doesn't say much for their abilities...


Kenny West
Kenny Wes6 years ago

Parts of Arizona have a policy of immediately killing stray Pit Mixes. Target Never had a chance to be reunited. Arizona can be very stupid, just look at it's brain dead Governor.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle7 years ago

A tragedy -- shelters move too quickly to kill dogs. Thank goodness for the good people helping the Youngs to set up a no-kill shelter in Target's honor. I commend them and the Youngs.

Kostadinka S.
K.G Stikkelorum7 years ago

Ik ben zo verdrietig deze hond werd gedood! We moeten een manier te vinden om alle schuilplaatsen te no kill shelters. Ik herinner me verwoed te bellen naar de pond voor onze hond, want we hadden 3 dagen om hem te vinden of hij zou worden gedood. We vond hem altijd. Onze beste vrienden verdienen beter van ons.

Jami Winn
Jami Winn7 years ago

the same thing happened to my nephews dog the ASPCA euthanized his dog by mistake just hours before they arrived to bring him home

Ed G.
Ed G7 years ago

Sorry about the dog being euthanized.
When I got my dog the first trip to the vet was for installation of the "chip". Perhaps if more people got them they might have a better chance of finding their dog. I would recommend it to everyone young/old.

Catharine B.

All my respect and admiration go to Sgt. Terry Young, Judy Fridono and Dayna Hilton for ensuring that such terrible mistakes do not occur again.

It takes courage and determination to change the system...
They also are the heroes in this story.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman7 years ago

Great article, thanx

Lori Esposito
Lori E7 years ago

Is there any updates as to what happened to the employee who put Target down or the shelter?

Jeff Fletcher
Jeff Fletcher7 years ago

Very good article. You'd probably find more brave dogs than brave people.