SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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A Day For Heroes! Voting Now Open For American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™; Now Accepting Nominations For American Humane Association Hero Veterinarian And Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™

Fourth annual contest to honor nation's bravest four legged heroes features exciting new categories and voting structure. Inaugural edition of the quest to honor the best and bravest veterinary professionals now begins

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today is a special day for heroes, both two- and four-legged alike. American Humane Association, the oldest national humane organization, is pleased to announce that the semifinalist round of public voting is now open for the 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™, presented by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation. The organization also announced that online nominations are now being accepted for the inaugural American Humane Association Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™, presented by Zoetis Inc., which also serves as the online sponsor for the Hero Dog Awards.

American Humane Association logo

Eight finalist dogs and two veterinary professionals will be flown to Hollywood to take part in the fourth annual Hero Dog Awards gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Saturday, September 27, to be broadcast nationally on Hallmark Channel in late October. There they will walk the red carpet, conduct VIP interviews, and attend the awards show and black-tie gala where the winning 2014 American Hero Dog, Hero Veterinarian, and Hero Veterinary Technician will be announced.

The American public is now invited to visit www.herodogawards.org to vote for their favorite dog in each of eight categories: Law Enforcement Dogs, Military Dogs, Arson Dogs (sponsored by State Farm), Search and Rescue Dogs, Guide/Hearing Dogs, Service Dogs (sponsored by Modern Dog), Therapy Dogs (sponsored by Zoetis), and Emerging Hero Dogs for ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things (sponsored by Trupanion Pet Insurance). One vote per category per day can be submitted until June 6 when this round of voting ends. This year, 24 spectacular semifinalists (the top three in each category) will be chosen in the first round of public voting. The second round, featuring a combination of public and celebrity voting, will narrow the field to the eight category finalists, who will then compete for the grand prize of 2014 American Hero Dog.  

Each of the eight finalists will win $1,500 for their chosen charity selected from the contest's list of 15 charity partners. The top winner will win an additional $5,000 for their charity partner.

And Behind Every Healthy Pet (and Other Animals) is a Hero Vet or Hero Vet Tech!
Pet owners and animal lovers alike are also invited to visit www.herovetawards.org to nominate their favorite veterinary professionals dedicated to the betterment of the health and welfare of animals and the promotion of the human-animal bond. These awards are not limited to companion animal veterinarians. Professionals from all fields of veterinary medicine are eligible for entry including, but not limited to those who work in: research, specialist fields, emergency services, shelters, and those who work with large and exotic animals. The five finalists in the American Hero Veterinarian and American Hero Veterinary Technician categories will be selected by a special blue-ribbon panel of judges consisting of celebrities, veterinary professionals, and animal care professionals. Beginning June 13, the American public will be invited to vote online for their favorite veterinarian and vet tech.

"Hero dogs do so much to keep us safe, happy, and healthy. It is the least we can do to honor them on their special night every fall. We can't wait to meet the 2014 class of Hero Dogs," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane Association's president and CEO. "And to us, all vets and vet techs are heroes, and this is why we want to honor the best of the best in their field."

This star-studded event draws animal lovers and celebrities from all over the world. Celebrity presenters and the celebrity judges who work with the public on the final two rounds of voting of the Hero Dog Awards to determine the semi-finalists and winner have included Victoria Stilwell, Betty White, Whoopi Goldberg, Joey Lawrence, Miranda Lambert, Kristin Chenoweth, and many, many more. Even celebrity dogs are getting involved: "I believe all dogs are heroes!" says American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards National Spokesdog Super Smiley, who with handler, actress, and "The Pet Lifestyle Coach®" Megan Blake have their own show on Pet Life Radio and advocate to get shelter pets adopted.

"There is nothing better than a dog to provide warmth, comfort and often life-saving care for people," added Lois Pope. "It has been my honor to serve as the presenting sponsor of the American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards for the past three years because of the important place dogs have in all our hearts. Each and every one of these brave canines and their owners are heroes in my book."

"We are excited to partner with American Humane Association for the American Humane Association Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™," said J. Michael McFarland, DVM, Group Director of CAD Veterinary Operations at Zoetis. "We are deeply appreciative of everything the veterinary community does to benefit pets, farm animals, working animals, and more; these awards are our way of giving back. We cannot wait to meet the winners who will be shining examples of the heroic work done every day by our Hero Vets and Hero Vet Techs."

About American Humane Association
American Humane Association is the country's first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Since 1877, American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting our most vulnerable from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Today we're also leading the way in understanding the human-animal bond and its role in therapy, medicine and society. American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org today.

About Lois Pope, The Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., and LIFE (Leaders in Furthering Education)
As one of America's leading philanthropists, Lois Pope has positively impacted the lives of individuals at the local, national and international levels.  She has established three different organizations dedicated to helping those in need.  These organizations are the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation, Inc., Leaders In Furthering Education (LIFE), and the Disabled Veterans' Life Memorial Foundation.  Over the last 20 years she has been the driving force behind the Lois Pope LIFE Center at the University of Miami School of Medicine, The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, a summer camp program serving thousands of underprivileged children and a groundbreaking new program with American Humane Association in Palm Beach County. Lois Pope has recently donated two Lois Pope Red Star Vehicles. Each rescue vehicle is a 50-foot long response unit, complete with a Ford F-350 truck and trailer, which is specifically designed and outfitted to provide an array of emergency services within the region. To learn more visit www.life-edu.org or call 561.865.0955.

About Zoetis 
Zoetis (zō-EH-tis) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on a 60-year history as the animal health business of Pfizer, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services. In 2012, the company generated annual revenues of $4.3 billion.  With approximately 9,300 employees worldwide at the beginning of 2013, Zoetis has a local presence in approximately 70 countries, including 29 manufacturing facilities in 11 countries. Its products serve veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals in 120 countries. For more information on the company, visit www.zoetis.com.

Zoetis is the proud sponsor with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibitions and the American Veterinary Medical Association of the mobile educational exhibit Animal Connections: Our Journey Together.  Families visiting the exhibit will explore the vast bonds between people and animals and learn about the important role veterinarians play in protecting animal and human health.  For more information, visit https://www.zoetis.com/animal-connections-tour/.

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SOURCE American Humane Association

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