ASPCA Humane Awards: Meet the Dog, Cat and Kid of the Year

Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 12:15pm
ASPCA Humane Award

A group of amazing people and animals will be honored today at the 2013 ASPCA Humane Awards Luncheon in New York City. The annual ceremony recognizes special animals and individuals who made a positive and lasting impact during the past year.

The 2013 Humane Awards winners include:

ASPCA Cat of the Year

Koshka was a stray cat when she struck up a friendship with Staff Sgt. Jesse Knott at a base in southern Afghanistan. Koshka was a pleasant reminder of life at home in Oregon. Koshka stayed by Knott’s side, helping him through some of his darkest moments at war. Knott’s parents helped him bring Koshka home with him to Oregon, where she now peacefully resides.

2013 Cat of the Year

ASPCA Tommy P. Monahan Kid of the Year

Six-year-old Catherine Hubbard had a natural ability to connect and care for animals. She designed her own business cards and appointed herself head of “Catherine’s Animal Shelter” with the title “Care Taker.” On December 14, 2012, Catherine was among 20 children killed during a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Catherine’s parents chose to honor Catherine by asking that donations be made to The Animal Center in Newtown. With these funds, The Animal Center hopes to build the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary.

ASPCA Dog of the Year

In September 2012, an animal control officer in Dekalb County, Georgia, responded to a call reporting an extremely malnourished abandoned pit bull puppy. The officer took the fragile puppy, on the verge of death, to the Dekalb Animal Shelter. Chrissy Kaczynski, one of the founders of Friends of Dekalb Animals (FODA) took her home. Remarkably, the puppy bounced back, prompting Chrissy to name her Xena the Warrior Puppy. Xena later became a companion for eight-year-old Jonny, who is autistic. Jonny and Xena spread a message of compassion for both animals and those with autism throughout America and 89 countries, territories and provinces around the world.

2013 Dog of the Year

Meet all the winners of the 2013 ASPCA Humane Awards! Do you know of a heroic pet or a person who dedicates his or her life to animals? Tell us about your hero in the comments.

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I saw a video of Xena on another site; it was a real tearjerker. She is a wonderful ambassador for her breed. The videos of her gentle manner with Jonny, and his increased social and verbal skills make for some real smiles.

Jill Laughlin

Wonderful news! Wonderful stories! With the continued efforts of so many caring kind souls and fabulous like-minded organizations like the ASPCA, together we WILL stop animal cruelty on our planet. Thank you for all you do!! I will continue to support you until my dying day. :)


The parents who brought the cat home are the parents of the year for sure. Love such good people.


Unbelievable stories. How profoundly moving and wise of young Catherine Hubbard's heartbroken parents to honor her memory by helping the animals she loved. There is a way out of the darkness, and it is surely what they are doing.

I love Xena and her "Dog of the Year" sash which she wears so proudly! Xena truly deserves her title.

I love Koshka and Staff Sgt. Knott for giving this beautiful and consoling cat a new home in Oregon where they can both live in peace and love after experiencing the terrors of war. Thank you for your service, Sgt. Knott.


"Before Xena came into his life, Jonny very rarely communicated with others, and sought comfort in solitary activities. But Jonny forged a miraculous connection with Xena that brought out Jonny’s playfulness, his singing voice, and verbal assessments of everything he sees and experiences."

I'm a firm believer that there are no bad dogs, only dogs that encounter less-than-humane humans and are courageous and non-judgmental enough to give that human a chance. To these dogs' misfortune, that chance is too often taken for granted. Xena and Jonny comprise one of myriad examples of the deeper bond and greater abilities inherent in both species. I have never met a human that equals a dog in ability to forgive and be devoted. Maybe it'd be wise for us to consider how better to treat and appreciate others, two- and four-legged, instead of belittling the accomplishments of those like Xena and Jonny. ("How can I be better?" rather than "How can I be better than you?")

Kathy Duck

All animals are special in their individual ways. Some people are special too. Show some respect to them and yourselves, act civil. This is a recognition for just a few of MANY. Celebrate their lives and accomplishments. Strive to improve your life and your relationship with your own companions; human and animal. Be an example of the goodness that can happen with animal companions in our lives. Please?

Friends of Animals

Apparently, you can support the cause with a Jonny and Xena shirt. They're giving money back to several organizations with each purchase. I found the store at!



Elisa Facio

My heartfelt feelings toward everyone, both four and two-legged! I'm so glad to be a monthly donor to a great association. Our support and love always, Elisa (two-legged companion) and her four-legged pet family members ( Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera)