from Callie’s Corner: Pets and People as Local Heroes
Local heroes come in all shapes and sizes. They can be your nextdoor neighbor who volunteers to decrease cat overpopulation in the Portland Area, the chap who bathes and walks dogs at the Oregon Humane Society, or the cuddly canine that visits hospitals to cheer up patients.
Yesterday, at the Governor Hotel downtown, the Oregon Humane Society honored our community’s “Animal Heroes” at its annual Diamond Collar Awards event . . . and what an event it was! 350 people attended, celebrating the wonderful relationship between humans and animals. Recognized for their dedication, perserverance, love, and compassion, here’s a list of the 2011 Diamond Collar Award Winners:
Tony Platt: This Tigard resident is a long-time volunteer OHS foster parent who took responsibility for an abused puppy caught in legal limbo. While the case against Midnight’s abuser went through the courts, Tony raised Midnight from a puppy to an adult dog. Because Midnight was evidence in a court case, Tony had to rearrange his life so he could always be with Midnight –never letting him out of his sight. When the court case ended after 15 months and Midnight was legally ready for adoption, Tony went to extraordinary lengths to find the best new family to adopt him.
Scott Heiser: Scott Heiser served as the District Attorney of Benton County for eight years, making the prosecution of animal cruelty cases a top priority. Now living in SW Portland, Heiser is the Director of the Criminal Justice Program for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. He has been instrumental in advancing the rights of animals. Working within the system, he successfully developed new legal strategies that have brought more animal offenders to justice while also getting abused pets out legal limbo and into the care of loving families. Heiser also spreads his message throughout the country, teaching animal advocates how to better protect pets using existing laws.
Sooty: Sooty started his life as a feline blood donor. His temperament led him to being an “educator” at Llewellyn School in SE Portland for six years. While there, elementary school students learned valuable lessons of compassion, patience and love. Children who struggled to write had no problems finding the words when the subject matter was Sooty. Sooty consistently sought out children who seemed to be struggling the most, giving them comfort with his purrs.
Leopold Ketel & Partners: Since June of 2002, LKP has dedicated themselves to helping the pets of OHS. Accepting no money for their creative services over the last eight years, LKP has contributed more than 4.5 million dollars in in-kind media for OHS and has developed award-winning marketing campaigns, including the current “End Petlessness” campaign. Their work is credited with bringing more visitors to the shelter, increasing the number of volunteers, and boosting adoptions.
Maty: Maty is a three-legged Australian shepherd who serves as the Humane Education dog for the Humane Society of Central Oregon in Bend. Despite having just three legs, Maty became the first dog to compete in the Skyhoundz World Disc Championship. She also spends much of her time visiting hospitals and schools, bringing a message of inspiration and hope to patients, students and people from all walks of life. Maty’s other exceptional role is as a nanny dog to feral kittens. These kittens are usually hostile to people and other animals, but Maty has a special knack of making feral kittens feel comforted and unafraid, paving the way for the kittens to be adopted more quickly.
To my human and animal compatriots …. please volunteer at your local animal welfare organization, donate to your favorite shelter, or visit folks in need of companionship and unconditional love. Give a little of yourself and you too can be a local Animal Hero!
Thanks again for reading my blog. Please let me know if you know any Animal Heroes, be they human or animal. Our community would love to hear about them.
Diamond Collar Awards information courtesy of the Oregon Humane Soicety http://www.oregonhumane.org/