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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Ann Conroy

Virginia Bartnicki sounds like a caring person. But however you look at it, by breeding she is adding to the population of dogs out there, when there are always strays around for whom finding a home is a desperate matter of life and death.


Reputable breeders are NOT the cause of all the unwanted animals. They find really good homes for their properly bred animals and even take them back at their own expense if the owner decides to no longer keep the animal. Puppy mills and careless owners are the reason for all the unwanted dogs and cats.


They may indeed find good homes for their pups, but there is a limited number of good homes available. For every "bred" dog that gets one, a shelter dog remains homeless. Its a simple matter of too many dogs....not enough homes.

Diddy *_*

Xena and Jonny are adorable!!! I totally agree with adopting pets, but some dogs are terrorized and would bite little children. (if you have kids...) Or sick and you don't know it when you buy your pet and a month later the pet dies. And thats really sad too. BUT i think most dog's are grateful and loooove you with their big hearts, thanking you for adopting them...

I don't wanna say that it's not good to adopt, it's just that you have to know whats good for the dog AND the Family...


Thank you Ann for saying what I couldn't find the words to say!

Rhona Pinkney

I totally agree! There just is no good reason to breed dogs until we can get the population under control. Until there are more homes available than pets in need, it is irresponsible.


So what you are saying is that we should stop all responsible, conscientious breeders who are only trying to do the right thing by breeding healthy dogs that have the qualities and traits associated with that particular breed, and only adopt dogs from shelters, thereby supporting puppy mills and irresponsible breeders who could care less about the breed itself and only about the money involved. Therefore eventually eliminating all pure breed dogs breed with good intentions for health and temperament, field work, hunting, working, etc.
Don't get me wrong, I fully support animal shelters and adoption of pets, we have personally adopted a dog before, and she was a wonderful pet. And I don't disagree that there are many people out there that breed irresponsibly, thereby adding to the stray/shelter population. But I think your comment is misdirected, as this woman sounds like a wonderful person who is trying to breed good dogs (we have also had a Chessie who came from a responsible breeder, he was an amazing dog, and I miss him terribly), and in addition to breeding she also helps the stray pet population. I think she sounds like a well rounded pet lover who is trying to do good in both worlds, and I vote for her!


How is adopting from a shelter "supporting puppy mills and irresponsible breeders who could care less about the breed itself"? We're supporting the shelter and the dog that will otherwise die. Supporting breeders who are contributing to overpopulation for their own profit is far worse than saving a life from a shelter. Yes, irresponsible breeders are terrible people and should be neutered themselves. But I don't put responsible breeders much higher on the list because they knowingly and willingly contribute to overpopulation as well.


Because that is where are large amount of that population comes from. People buy a dog from a "pet store" that gets its supply from a mill. The dog therefore was not breed with good temperament in mind, and year or two down the road the family can't handle the dog anymore and it ends up in a shelter. I fully support shelters and adoption, I can't stand to think about innocent animals dying. But the problem is not responsible breeders, the problem is puppy mills and irresponsible breeders breeding only for money. If we say that responsible breeders should stop because they are only adding to the population, according to your theory, then our pure breed dogs would go extinct. We would no longer have any breeds that had traits and characteristics that resembled what they were initially breed for hundreds of years ago.
Our breeder does not make a profit from breeding, if she does, it is very minimal. She does not do it for the money, she breeds one litter a year, and is breeding solely because she loves the breed and it is slowly going extinct.
I put responsible breeders at the top of the list as they are trying to do the right thing for the dogs. Our focus should be on stopping mills and pet stores, and educating buyers before they commit to such a life changing purchase. I'm pretty sure the ASPCA's mission is not to stop responsible breeding just because they add to the pet population.


I would never buy from a pet store, and I work to support legislation to close down puppy mills -- but -- I have 3 rescue Keeshonds, and all of them have severe conformation defects, so I'm SURE they are puppy mill dogs. No reputable breeder would create dogs that look like mine. However, the puppy mills are not profiting in any way by my taking these dogs -- they've already made their money off them from the pet store. I'm just dealing with the aftermath -- three wonderful, lovable dogs who already exist, and need a good loving home.