The ASPCA’s annual Humane Awards Luncheon is one of the most exciting events of the year. It is our chance to honor and recognize the heroes—both animal and human—who have made a positive and lasting impact on the world of animal welfare, and this year’s winners are certainly worth celebrating!
The 2014 Humane Awards winners include:
ASPCA Cat of the Year
Studley the cat was found abandoned along the side of the road by Washington-based Joint Animal Services in 2006. Weighing a mere four pounds and covered in matted fur, Studley was sick, emaciated and nearly starved to death at the time of his rescue. After being nursed back to health by one of the shelter volunteers, Studley—a cheerful white-haired feline with one gold eye and one blue eye—became a therapy cat, giving love and comfort to people in need. Studley is the only therapy cat out of more than 30 animals in the Providence Animal-Assisted Activities and Therapy Program (PAAA/T), and has been a regular visitor to the Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Washington, where he’s been offering comfort to patients primarily in the psychiatric unit since 2007.
ASPCA Tommy P. Monahan Kid of the Year
Although Annika Glover looks like a typical fifth grader, the 11-year-old has bravely battled a type of cancerous brain tumor called Medulloblastoma for nearly the last four years. When she was just nine years old, Annika was a participant in the Make-A-Wish program, where she put her love for animals above her own human interests by using her one wish to save animals in need. This wish was granted by the Alabama chapter of Make-A-Wish, which donated $7,000 in Annika’s name to the Pets Are Worth Saving (P.A.W.S.) rescue group in Florence, Alabama. “I wanted to help animals a whole bunch. I grew up around animals and love them so much,” says Annika. In August 2014, Annika received remarkable news of her own: Her cancer was in remission.
ASPCA Dog of the Year
Jonny Justice was one of 49 dogs rescued from unimaginable cruelty in the 2007 Bad Newz Kennels dog fighting investigation, which resulted in a the conviction of NFL quarterback Michael Vick and others. A black and white pit bull, Jonny had had minimal positive interactions with people or other dogs at the time of his rescue, but was given a second chance when he was adopted by his foster parents, Cris Cohen and Jennifer Long. As Jonny adjusted to life as a typical pet, it became clear that he loved interacting with children. In 2008, he found his true calling as a therapy dog, and these days spends much of his time offering love and support to terminally ill children and their families. Jonny is also a champion for literacy and has participated in programs where children practice their language skills by reading aloud to him. The tale of Jonny’s comeback—from the horrors of dog fighting to the inspirational work of a therapy dog—has traveled far and wide, even inspiring a line of plush toys that extend his ability to comfort children across the country.
It may be just the start of November, but a group of kittens is getting out of school early this year! On November 4, the ASPCA hosted a ceremony for a class of felines who recently graduated from our kitten nursery. These kittens—many of whom came in as neonates and were in jeopardy from the moment they were born—have received extensive medical and behavioral rehabilitation and will be available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center.
Similar to traditional human graduation ceremonies, the event included inspiring speeches from staff, a procession of the “graduates” receiving their “diplomas,” and opportunities for kitten pics galore.
Nursery residents receive around-the-clock, life-saving care from specially-trained ASPCA staff and volunteers until they are old enough to be microchipped, vaccinated and spayed/neutered. At eight weeks of age, they are ready to be made available for adoption.
It is well known that pets can bring joy and enrichment to an adopter’s life, but did you know that animals can also make a major impact on the lives of strangers? Through Animal Assisted Therapy, your pet’s paws and purrs can provide health, healing and comfort to people in need.
The ASPCA is a Community Partner of Pet Partners, a non-profit organization that aims to improve human health through companion animals. More than one million people, from toddlers to seniors, benefit each year from a Pet Partner therapy animal team. If your reliable dog or cat would enjoy visiting hospitals, nursing homes, classrooms, libraries and other facilities, he or she could be a perfect candidate for the Pet Partners program!
To learn more, please join us for a one-hour information session for prospective volunteers. Led by experienced volunteer Susan Tiss with the assistance of Pet Partners staff, this session will cover the process for becoming a registered therapy animal team with your pet.
What: Information session for prospective therapy animal teams
Where: ASPCA National Headquarters: 424 East 92nd Street, New York, NY 10128
When: Monday, November 17 at 8:00 P.M.
Register Now: Please email [email protected] to RSVP. If you are unable to attend in person, we will send you a link to join the live webinar and online presentation. The session will also be recorded for future playback.
In honor of the cutest holiday around, we’re joining forces for the second year running with car service Uber and humor site I Can Has Cheezburger for UberKITTENS, a very special seven city kitten event.
Uber drivers will be hitting the road today with car loads of adoptable kittens to deliver some exclusive kitty playtime to offices across the country. Cat lovers can download the Uber app to their smart phones to request a special kitten car between 12pm and 4pm today, and Uber will transport the furry felines to you, accompanied by a shelter representative, for 15 minutes of on-demand kitten cuddles.
This year’s participating cities include New York, Austin, Phoenix, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Each delivery will cost $30 dollars with all proceeds benefiting each city’s local shelter. We anticipate kitten demand will be high, so please order quickly!
Each kitty from today’s event will be available for adoption, but there are millions of other kittens and cats in shelters across the country who may not be part of the Uber kitten car but are still awaiting loving, forever homes! We hope this fun event will raise the importance of making cat and pet adoption your first choice.
Don’t live in a participating city? Don’t worry, you can still join in on the fun! Enter our contest to win an ASPCA cat lover’s prize pack by telling us why rescue cats are the best cats. For a chance to win, click here.
We’re so impressed by the adoptions successes in all 33 communities, and we’re thrilled that so many animals found forever homes in just one weekend! Congratulations to all of our 2014 Mega Match-a-thon participants for a job well done.