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.
Meet all the winners of the 2014 Humane Awards! Do you know of a heroic pet or person who dedicates his or her life to animals? Tell us about your hero in the comments.