In honor of pet heroes and heroes who have saved at-risk animals from cruel environments, the 2018 Humane Awards Luncheon was held on Thursday, Nov. 15th in New York City’s Cipriani 42nd Street and hosted by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA); as well as NBC anchor Chuck Scarborough.
The organization takes on the responsibility of sheltering and rehabilitating animals suffering from neglect before finding them new homes and a family to care for them. ASPCA’s success in New York has led them to open the first and only facility dedicated to the behavioral rehabilitation of severely fearful dogs in Weaverville, North Carolina.“The goal of the ASPCA is to change the way this country thinks about animals and to afford them the reverence, the respect, the love that they deserve,” says CEO Matt Bershadker, “and if we’re able to do that then our norms and values will change, our laws will change, and animals will take their appropriate station in life.” The story attached to the winner of each award is proof that this goal is being met every day.
Six awards were given out: Dog of the Year, Cat of the Year, Kid of the Year, a Public Service award, Equine Welfare Award, and the Henery Bergh Award, named after the founder of the 152-year-old organization.
The Dog of the Year award went to 4-year-old cockapoo, Noah the anti-bullying dog, who was born in a backyard breeding situation in California without eyes and disabled back legs. Despite his rough start, Noah defies all odds by running and playing the way normal dogs can while traveling to schools with his owner, Lisa Edge who’s a teacher, to teach children about bullying, sympathy, empathy, and to not judge a book by its cover. “It’s beyond a miracle and a dream because this dog really shouldn’t be alive,” Edge explained. She lives in Wisconsin and owns four other blind and handicap dogs. “I think this platform is going to open up a few more doors for us. But when he tells me he’s tired and doesn’t want to work anymore, that’ll be the day we’re done.”
Cat of the Year was awarded to D-O-G (dee-OH-gee), the courageous cat from Missouri who teaches dogs that assist people with mobility and hearing impairments how to be comfortable around other animals. In other words, D-O-G makes it possible for dogs to be more than a man’s best friend. On the other hand, a former homeless dog named Bear was honored for his work with the Seattle Police Department with his partner, Detective Ian Polhemus, where his job was sniffing out electronic storage devices. Bear’s service helped provide evidence for multiple child pornography and molestation cases. Involved in more than 125 cases and finding over 100 devices in his career, it’s safe to say Bear deserved the Public Service Award.
Also honored for his public service was seven-year-old Roman McConn who makes videos with homeless dogs, asking his viewers to provide homes for his canine friends. His passion for animals inspired his mother, Jennifer McConn, to begin an animal relocation service called Project Freedom Ride that specializes in transporting animals to locations where they have better chances of being adopted. For being so involved and passionate at a young age, Roman received the Kid of the Year Award.
Adopting almost 300 horses a year is the Dumb Friends Leauge Harmony Equine Center, whose staff won the ASPCA Equine Welfare Award. The center lends itself to neglected and abused horses in need of rehabilitation and adoption. Their medical care and treatment programs have saved 1,500 horses since 2012, making Harmony the go-to attention center for horses in the Mid and Southwest.
Lastly, the recipient of the Henry Bergh Award is Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC). As an official welfare center for homeless animals, the ACC staff, with the help of more than 300 local organization, makes it possible for animals to find and be reunited with their families. Rabbits, cats, and dogs are welcomed with open arms, as ACC is the only organization that accepts every animal despite their condition making them an open admissions agency.
Donations would be appreciated by each of the organizations and heroes mentioned above, monetary or not. Other ways to get involved include doing volunteer work, or simply following each network on social media and spreading awareness.