ASPCA Dog of the Year: Pearl
ASPCA Cat of the Year: Henry
ASPCA “Tommy P. Monahan” Kid of the Year: Olivia Bouler
ASPCA Public Service Award: Ladder 116
ASPCA Presidential Service Award:
Sam Simon of The Sam Simon Foundation
ASPCA Presidential Service Award:
Julia Ryan and Clark Burgard of Animals Rescue Flights
ASPCA Henry Bergh Award:
Kathleen Schwartz-Howe of Days End Farm Horse Rescue
ASPCA Dog of the Year
Pearl: Los Angeles, CA
Pearl, a four-year-old Labrador Retriever, was surrendered by her pet parent to a local animal shelter. Pearl was discovered by volunteers from the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF) based in Ojai, California, and quickly completed her training and certification as a search dog. In July 2008, she met her handler and life companion, Ron Horetski of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. On January 14, 2010, Horetski and Pearl were deployed as part of the Los Angeles County Task Force 2 (CA-TF2) team to save victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. For more than two weeks, Horetski, Pearl, and the six other SDF canine disaster search teams spent hours each day digging through concrete and rubble—sometimes as much as four stories below the surface—and helped bring 12 people to safety. For her remarkable work and dedication to saving lives, Pearl is a true canine hero and a great example of a rescued dog who is now rescuing others.
ASPCA Cat of the Year
Henry: Julian, CA
Cathy Conheim discovered a tiny stray kitten on her property and never thought he would soon become her inspiration. Henry was unable to move his left leg and was rushed to a local veterinary hospital. Despite Cathy’s best efforts Henry lost his leg but gained a permanent, loving home with Cathy. The pair began working together to spread awareness about tolerance and resilience in the face of physical disabilities and differences. They have released several children’s books, including Henry’s World, What’s the Matter with Henry? and What About Me, I’m Here Too, which have been distributed to more than 45,000 readers around the world, including victims of Hurricane Katrina and families of wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Most recently, one of Henry’s books was even translated into Creole to aid a children’s amputee project in Haiti after the devastating earthquake. Henry’s books have generated more than $50,000 for local animal welfare groups to help other animals in need.
ASPCA “Tommy P. Monahan” Kid of the Year,
sponsored by The Twisted Whiskers Show Olivia Bouler: Islip, New York
After the April 20, Deepwater Horizon rig explosion produced the worst oil spill in U.S. history, 11-year old Olivia Bouler took action. An artistically gifted sixth-grader from Islip, N.Y., Olivia made a commitment to create up to 500 watercolor illustrations in an effort to raise funds to help wildlife affected by the disaster. Her concept was simple—if people made a donation to Audubon, a non-profit group dedicated to protecting wildlife in their habitats, she would send them an original watercolor illustration as a thank you for supporting her cause. To date, the Save the Gulf: Olivia’s Bird Illustrations campaign has been supported by nearly 30,000 people from across the country, including support from organizations like AOL—and has raised more than $180,000 towards wildlife disaster relief.
ASPCA Public Service Award
Ladder 116: Queens, New York
It should have been a quiet Memorial Day in Queens, NY, as most of the shops in the neighborhood—including pet store U.S. Pet Discounts—were closed for the holiday. However, when a fire broke out in the back of the store, the firefighters of Ladder 116 (nicknamed “The Flaming Skulls”) responded quickly, cutting through the gates and locked doors. Thanks to the quick response of the firefighters of Ladder 116, 30 cats and dogs were saved from this terrifying disaster.
ASPCA Presidential Service Award
Sam Simon of The Sam Simon Foundation: Sherman Oaks, CA
Sam Simon is the critically-acclaimed television writer, producer and director of Taxi, Cheers, The Tracey Ullman Show, The Drew Carey Show, and The Simpsons, which he co-created. He is the recipient of a dozen Emmys including a Peabody award; however, his greatest achievement is his remarkable foundation. The Sam Simon Foundation is an organization that gives strays and abandoned dogs a new lease on life. The mission of The Sam Simon Foundation is to “save the lives of dogs to enrich the lives of people.” The Sam Simon Foundation’s Hearing Dog Program certifies shelter dogs to become companions for the deaf, hard of hearing and veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. While in training, the dogs also participate in the foundation’s Pet Visitation Program, brightening the lives of senior citizens and Alzheimer’s patients. One of the foundation’s most successful programs is its mobile veterinary clinic, which travels throughout Los Angeles providing free spay/neuter services to catsand dogs. The mobile clinic has performed more than 35,000 spay/neuter surgeries, putting a significant dent in pet overpopulation in southern California. In addition, the clinic also provides low income Los Angeles residents with any other free surgery needed by their pets. The Sam Simon Foundation does not accept donations and is funded entirely by Simon.
ASPCA Presidential Service Award
Julia Ryan and Clark Burgard of Animals Rescue Flights: Norwalk, CT
Julia Ryan and Clark Burgard co-founded Animal Rescue Flights (ARF), which is an organization that coordinates air transportation for animals in overcrowded shelters, where they would likely be killed, to parts of the country where families are waiting to adopt them. Both skilled pilots, Ryan and Burgard sought to volunteer their skills to save animals at risk and bring awareness to the need for widespread, low-cost spay/neuter programs to end euthanasia and solve the country’s pet overpopulation crisis. The result—ARF—is a collaborative effort of more than 350 pilots and volunteers who donate their skills, time and privately-owned aircrafts to fly homeless, at-risk animals to places where they can start new lives. ARF works with hundreds of shelters and rescues to transport animals to the families who want them, and helps pilots arrange animal transport services from state to state. Ryan and Burgard’s invaluable efforts and leadership have saved countless animals’ lives and found loving forever homes for pets who would otherwise endure very different fates.
ASPCA Henry Bergh Award
Kathleen Schwartz-Howe: Woodbine, MD
Inspired by the neglect she witnessed at a local horse stable, Kathleen Schwartz-Howe made it her life’s mission to help save equines in need. In 1989, with the help of her family, she founded Days End Farm Horse Rescue in Woodbine, MD. A volunteer-based, non-profit organization, Days End is dedicated to the care and treatment of horses through intervention, education, and outreach. Under Kathleen’s leadership, Days End has expanded from an 18-acre farm to a 58-acre facility, that rescues and rehabilitates 50 to 70 unwanted, abused or neglected horses at any given time. From urging Maryland officials to require proper licensing for equine rescues, to offering specialized training for animal control officers, firefighters, and other such rescue personnel, Kathleen works tirelessly on behalf of equine welfare. The organization also plays an important role in assisting local and national animal welfare groups with cruelty investigations. In September 2010, Days End took in eight severely neglected horses from an overrun sanctuary, providing them with ongoing emergency care. The ASPCA was proud to assist Days End in offering 24-hour care for the critically ill horses. Days End has proven to be an invaluable resource for equines in need—and Kathleen’s devotion has certainly set the bar for animal welfare groups across the country.
Nominate someone you know for the 2011 ASPCA Humane Awards.
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Whether you choose to participate as an event attendee, as a corporate sponsor or by making a general donation, your involvement will help the ASPCA continue to provide local and national leadership in three key areas: caring for pet parents and pets, providing positive outcomes for at-risk animals, and serving victims of animal cruelty.
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