Love Made Visible with Sara and Hero

Fulfilling Our Passion and Purpose with Our Dogs

I really enjoyed watching “America’s Got Talent” (AGT) this 2017 season, as so many talented contestants competed for the one-million-dollar prize and a chance to get their own Las Vegas show. The young woman who beat the odds and so many other contestants, Darci Lynne Farmer, 12, was the third ventriloquist, child and female to win the show’s top prize.  Already so gifted at such a young age, she earned her win with some very creative and humorous performances.
There was another competitor, however, who was my favorite and made it to the top five. Since I love and work with animals, my choice made perfect sense.

Beautiful Bonds of Love Among Sara and Her Dogs

Sara Carson and her dogs Hero and Loki stole my heart with their passion, creativity, and, most of all, with their beautiful bonds of love. Only 22, Sara has a poignant story of being rejected by her family who did not support her dream of becoming a dog trainer. In one of the videos on AGT, she shared she hadn’t spoken to her family in many years.
Sara Carson

Professional dog trainer and canine stunt teacher Sara Carson is pictured here talking to the judges of AGT as her talented dog Hero looks on during their first audition on the program. Photo from

Traveling the country and living in her van with Hero, Loki and her third  youngest dog Marvel, Sara was hoping to get that Las Vegas show and settle down with her dogs in one location. She adopted Hero as a precious puppy and rescued her two other dogs. In the performances I saw on the show and the videos I saw on the internet, it is very clear that all three of Sara’s dogs have rescued her. Isn’t that what happens in some way or another for all of us who love and have dogs as part of our families?
Although Sara didn’t win, I am sure that what has been divinely orchestrated will probably be much better than she ever could have envisioned. Sometimes as I have seen in other talent shows, some of the contestants who don’t win go on to have even more fame and fortune and career success than those who have won.
I had missed her first performance and checked it out by playing the YouTube movie below. She and her amazing Border collie Hero, 5, were doing some of their special signature moves. He put his paws on her front feet with his head poking through her legs as the two pivoted from one foot to the other. He did some spinning jumps off her body and jumped through the circle she made with her arms and a sword, among other moves seen in canine freestyle (dancing) competitions.
Socrates and Puppy Harry

Both of my dogs, Harry and Socrates, rescued me and changed the course of my life. Photo by Donna El Haber, 2011. All rights reserved.

Sara Carson and Hero: The Dog Act Simon Cowell Fell in Love With – America’s Got Talent 2017

Simon Cowell Steps In to Rescue Sara and Hero

I hadn’t realized that there was an initial rejection of her, as only two of the four judges, Simon Cowell and Heidi Klum, gave her their “yes” votes. As she stood on stage, with Hero by her side, Sara told Mel B and Howie Mandel that it was okay if they didn’t think she and Hero have what it takes to go to the live shows. But it really wasn’t okay. Emotions welled up and her flowing tears revealed what her heart truly felt.
As Simon witnessed her sadness, he was not willing to let Sara and Hero go down so easily. He got out of his chair, went up to the stage,  and said to his fellow judges, “I don’t do this very often. But right now I am asking for one of you two to say ‘yes’ to this act.”
Simon Cowell and Sara Carson

As an emotional Sara Carson looks on, holding her dog Hero in her arms, AGT Judge Simon Cowell asks the two AGT judges, Howie Mandel and Mel B, who have voted “no” to shift their votes to “yes.” Photo from

Mel B did not want to budge and threw the ball into Howie’s court. He ultimately gave the “yes” vote Sara and Hero needed. They moved on to the next round of performances as the audience, clearly on Sara and Hero’s side, booed Mel B. They affirmed that the judges should trust that Simon saw something very special in this team and knew they would prove him right.
I was touched both by Sara’s tears and Simon’s willingness to go to bat for this team he knew would make him proud. He trusted his instincts as a judge who knew what voters would also see in this dynamic duo. His love of dogs definitely helped Sara and Hero’s cause.
I have noticed over the years from watching him back when he was on “American Idol” that the tough Simon, who still can be caustic, sarcastic and sardonic, has evolved into a much kinder, gentler, and more compassionate version of his former self. Watching his journey on AGT this season and during others, I am happy to see a softer and much happier Simon. I sense this evolution is a partial result of being in a committed relationship and also being the father of a young son. Whatever is responsible for his transformation, I am grateful.
Were it not for Simon’s compassion and for seeing the incredible connection between Sara and Hero, they might never have gone on to delight audiences with their tricks and fun. All the many hours of time, work and effort they put in together to become such an amazing team would never have come to light. What is most special about them for me is their extraordinary bond of love and devotion.
Sara and Hero

Without Simon Cowell’s help, Sara and Hero might never have gone on to delight audiences with their fun performances. Photo from

Hero and Loki Excel in Canine Activities and Tricks

I so enjoyed Sara and Hero’s performances and the ones that included precious Loki too. In one segment Hero holds the jump rope in his mouth as Sara turns it on the other end while Loki is the star jumper. Hero and Loki are both wonderful at agility, bounding through tunnels and zig-zagging speedily around poles.
Sara is clearly so passionate about involving her dogs in many activities and teaching them tricks. Performing across the country as part of an animal trick and stunt company is what she has done professionally. She is also a dog trainer and someone who competes in a variety of canine competitions like canine freestyle and fly ball. Hero’s great jump at the end of one of Sara’s performances is part of another dog sport called “Dock Jumping.”
Sara, Lori and Hero

In one of their AGT performances, Hero holds a jump rope in his mouth as Sara turns it and Loki jumps so high. Photo from

I went to the internet and YouTube to learn more about Sara and her canine companions. Those of us who have watched Sara and Hero compete did not see an overnight sensation. Indeed, what we witnessed was five plus years of devotion and commitment to her passion as a dog trainer and her dedication to being a very loving guardian. I think that is part of what Simon must have seen. The others on the panel might not have known about all the many hours of training that had gone into creating that bond and all that her dogs knew to perform so well.

Sara’s Poignant Love Letter to Hero

You can get a sense of that very special bond when watching her talk to Hero while they were competing in the show. To hear her heartfelt talk and love letter to Hero, play the YouTube movie below. I like how he really perks up when she tells him what a good brother he is. I think that must be very important to him.

Hero enjoys performing and is always so upbeat and energetic. He was very patient and attentive when Sara read her love letter to him, sharing all her feelings about him. He especially liked it when he was told that he was such a good brother. 

I was so touched when I saw the video of Sara talking about when she first got Hero. To access it, click here. He was so precious. Almost from the moment they met, Sara and Hero were deeply bonded. When he was just a puppy, she spent so much time training him. There is a video showing all the tricks and behaviors she successfully taught that very smart puppy. To see all that Hero could do at a very early age, click here.
Watching the videos of Hero learn and perform so well when he was just a puppy and seeing the love that was there so strongly from the start of their relationship just affirmed the blessing of Sara and Hero — and Loki too — reaching the top five of AGT. It also affirmed for me what can happen when someone has a dream and pursues it relentlessly.
Hero, Loki and Marvel, the Super collies, as Sara calls them, changed her life in ways she never could have imagined. They transformed her heart and gave her life so much meaning and purpose.

Divine Gifts from Spirit

I think all of the dogs and cats that come to us, and the horses and other animals too, are divinely sent. They are all beautiful messengers of unconditional love. They also come to teach us lessons of the heart. Some might be challenging and some might be frustrating. And others might cause great heartache for whatever reason. And some like Hero might be the most brilliant stars. Each is meant just for us and for what we need on our path.
My first dog, Socrates, was a great teacher in my life. I allowed a veterinarian to over-vaccinate him because I didn’t know better back then. He suffered with chronic autoimmune health issues for the rest of his life as a result. Perhaps that was what was meant to happen as it led me on a path of becoming a healer for pets, wanting to learn as much as I could to help animals heal. To read my article about vaccinations, click here.
My dog Harry came to me as an eight-week-old puppy three weeks before Socrates passed. Divinely sent to be a source of unconditional love and companionship, he was also sent to help heal my heart from the loss of Socrates. With his loving presence in my life, he helped me through the passing of Socrates and of my mother, two very difficult transitions. He was my companion during our move to California and continues to be my constant companion who always cheers my heart.
Puppy Harry

My dog Harry was sent to help heal my heart and to be an unconditional source of love and light. Photo by Donna El Haber, 2011. All rights reserved.

Sara and Hero are great mirrors for so many of us who have dogs in our lives. As you think about Sara and Hero’s story, in what ways has your dog uplifted your life or changed it? How has your dog rescued you and why was he or she sent?

How our Dogs Can Change Our Lives

Some of us may be led to new professions. Others to important realizations. Still others who receive the gift of love from a dog may change their entire perspective on life, especially those who have service dogs.
My friend Carol’s life was totally transformed by her amazing dog named Walker. Because of her love for Walker and interest in working with dogs, she charted an entirely new course in her life. She went from being a patent attorney in New Jersey to the co-owner and now owner of a canine boarding and training facility called “Opportunity Barks” in Pleasant Hills, OR. Walker has since passed, but he left Carol a rich legacy of love. Her dog Mozart, known as “Motzie,” is her current best buddy.
Carol and her dog Walker

Pictured above are Carol and her dog Walker who transformed her life with his love and devotion. His behavioral issues set Carol and her family on a totally new course in life.

I just saw a beautiful story of a dog who served in the military and who came home to live with his handler and his family. When one of the children was asked why they love the chocolate lab, she replied, “Because my father never would have come back without her.” To see their poignant reunion, play the YouTube movie below.

Veteran Reunited with his Bomb-Sniffing Dog

The Power of Persistence

Sara also taught America a lot about the power of tenacity and persistence. She never gave up on her dreams. She also taught us about how fulfilling it feels to be living your passion and purpose. I wrote a blog post about this recently. You can read it here.
In honor of Sara and her dogs’ great accomplishment in getting to the top five of AGT, I would like you to join me in taking some time to reflect on how special and heroic all our dogs are. They come into our lives to offer so much healing and love. It is a veritable calling for them. Perhaps you might want to write your own love letter and read it to your dog. I know your dog will get what it says.

Sara Carson performs an amazing number with both Hero and Loki on AGT.

Every so often, I have a heart-to-heart talk with my dog Harry, sometimes with tears streaming down my face. I let him know how much I appreciate the gift he is in my life and how much he means to our family. He usually bows his head down for me to massage his neck and ears and presses in close to me. He understands well the love that is flowing between us and stops to fully take it in.

Have Fun with Your Dog

Sara also reminded those of us with dogs how much fun we can have with them when we get involved in different activities together. In my e-book, “25 Ways to Maintain a Happy and Healthy Dog,” one of the ways is to find an activity to do with your dog that he really enjoys. To learn more about my e-book, click here.
Let us honor the great and powerful gifts that our dogs are in our lives. Thank you Sara, Hero and Loki for touching the hearts of all who watched you perform. Thank you too for showing us what love made visible looks like. And thank you for being so dedicated and disciplined in following your dreams and the vision you had for your future that catapulted you into the limelight and offered so much joy to so many.
Wishing you love, healing, miracles, and so much joy and gratitude for the dogs that inspire us and uplift our lives with their grace and wisdom,
Rev. Donna El Haber
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