VERNON HILLS, Ill. (CBS) — A suburban Chicago dog is in the running for what amounts to the Nobel Prize for Dogs: the Hero Dog of the Year contest sponsored by the American Humane Association, reports WBBM’s John Cody.

A Labrador Poodle mix, or Labradoodle, named Gander is the service dog for Lon Hodge — a Vietnam era vet with PTSD which was causing him as many as five panic attacks daily.

Hodge says Gander is extremely empathic and knows before his master when a panic attack is likely.

“If we’re in the movie like an action movie and the sound starts to go up, he will know before I do that I am getting wound. He will get up, literally put his paws up on my lap, put his head against my chest,”

Hodge says since Gander showed up, he hasn’t had one single panic attack.

Gander was rescued from the dog pound by Freedom Service Dogs of American which trained him, then united him with Hodge who says the non-profit trains, then gives away 35 service dogs annually for free.

Voting begins tomorrow at 11 a.m. for “Hero Dog of the year,” on the American Humane Association website

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