ASPCA Dog of the Year
A Golden Retriever named Ricochet was chosen as a puppy to be a service dog, but an affinity for chasing birds eventually disqualified her. Then Ricochet’s guardian, Judy Fridono, discovered that her dog’s talents for patience, balance and coordination were better suited for a life riding the waves. On August 20, 2009, Ricochet was surfing next to Patrick Ivison, a quadriplegic surfer, and decided to abandon her board and jump onto his as they neared the shoreline. Ricochet’s true life mission was revealed: She is now a “SURFice” dog for disabled surfers. Her fundraising initiative, Surfin' for Paws-abilities, allows Ricochet to act as a canine co-pilot for numerous adults and kids while raising money to help those in need. To date, Ricochet has helped raise more than $125,000 for more than 150 human and animal causes.
ASPCA Cat of the Year
Last January in Baltimore, two teenage boys trapped a young cat in a milk crate while she was nursing her kittens, doused her in lighter fluid and struck a match. The feline managed to escape from the crate, extinguish the fire and return to her newborns. Mittens, as she was named, was rescued by local police and animal control officers, and, along with her kittens, brought to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), where she recovered from the loss of her ears and severe burns. Mittens’ inspiring story garnered extensive media coverage, and she became the unofficial face of the fight for animal protection laws in the state. Mittens now lives with Cindy Wright, while the primary perpetrator in her case pled guilty to felony animal cruelty.
ASPCA Tommy P. Monahan Kid of the Year
Last year, Stevie Nelson’s two black Labs went missing just two days before his fifth birthday,. His family searched their hometown of Tilden, Nebraska, and across three states, hired an investigator and offered a reward. Stevie’s only birthday wish was to have his dogs back, but the beloved pets never turned up. Shortly after the holidays, after seeing an ASPCA commercial, Stevie decided he wanted to help other animals find homes. For his sixth birthday, he set out to raise $6,000 for the Northeast Nebraska Humane Society, which was fundraising to build a new animal shelter. By his birthday in March, Stevie had surpassed his initial goal, and to date, he has raised more than $28,000.
This award is dedicated to Tommy P. Monahan, a nine-year-old Staten Island boy who perished in 2007 trying to save his dog from a house fire.
ASPCA Public Service Award
A court-recognized expert on dog fighting who has testified before Congress, Sgt. David Hunt of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Columbus, Ohio, has served as a leader in uncovering the link between animal cruelty and other serious crimes such as drug dealing, gambling and racketeering. Since 2002, Sgt. Hunt has executed 51 search warrants resulting in 67 felony dog fighting arrests. He has trained law enforcement officers in 28 states and has been instrumental in demonstrating the value of investigating blood sports and encouraging law enforcement, lawmakers and other elected officials to take crimes against animals seriously.
ASPCA Henry Bergh Award
Green Chimneys of Brewster, New York, was founded in 1947 by the Ross family to help children with emotional, behavioral, social and learning challenges. A leader in animal-assisted activities, Green Chimneys operates a special education school and residential treatment facility with programs to strengthen children’s emotional health by promoting a harmonious relationship with animals and the environment. The agency serves youth from New York State and western Connecticut and houses 200 farm animals, wildlife, horses and a small number of service dogs in training. The farm’s domesticated animals are the root of Green Chimneys’ treatment approach, in which trust is cultivated between all residents, human and animal alike.
ASPCA Presidential Service Awards (two recipients)
In 2009, Phoenix, a female Pit Bull, was doused with gasoline and set on fire in West Baltimore. After hearing about this horrific incident, lawyer Caroline Griffin devoted her life to advocating for changes in Baltimore's policies and procedures to better protect animals and prosecute abusers. Caroline was appointed to chair a task force to examine the extent of animal abuse and neglect in the city and to improve the city’s response to the problem. In recognition of the effectiveness of Mayor's Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force under her leadership, the Baltimore City Council in October 2010 officially voted to make it a permanent standing Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission, the first of its kind in the country.
Subaru of America, Inc.
Inspired by its customers, close to 70 percent of whom have a pet, Subaru has built a strong, long-term partnership with the ASPCA to help bring people and pets together. Through the Subaru “Love a Pet” Adoption Drive program, the ASPCA teams up Subaru dealers and thier local shelters to co-host “Love a Pet” adoption events. Since the inception of the program in late 2008, hundreds of events have been conducted through Subaru’s network of more than 600 dealerships, helping place thousands of animals in loving homes and raising awareness and financial support for local animal welfare agencies.
Subaru’s commitment goes well beyond funds. The carmaker has furnished a Crime Scene Investigation vehicle customized to ASPCA specifications, cars for several partner communities, and sponsorship of the National Spay/Neuter Project and Team ASPCA.