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DogCatemy Rescue Awards 2012

Celebrating Animal League America’s Lifesaving Work

DogCatemy Mutt-i-grees® Rescue Awards Gala Honors Animal Advocates and Spreads the Message of the Mutt-i-grees Movement

On December 17, 2012, hundreds of animal lovers, along with Mutt-i-grees® of all shapes and sizes, gathered together to celebrate the lifesaving work of North Shore Animal League America.

The 7th Annual DogCatemy Mutt-i-grees Rescue Awards Gala, held at the elegant (and pet-friendly) Waldorf Astoria in New York City, was themed around the Mutt-i-grees Movement, which seeks to raise awareness of the beauty of adopting shelter animals, elevate their status and reduce animal cruelty through education and innovative programs.

Our gracious co-hosts for the evening— Animal League America spokesperson Beth Stern and HGTV personality Tanya Marchiol—are passionate advocates of our mission to rescue, nurture and adopt as many Mutt-i-grees as possible: more than a million since our founding in 1944.

Beth shared the news of her latest adoption: Charlie Boy, a seven-year-old cat rescued by Animal League America, who joins Apple, Walter and Leon Bear. She proudly displayed her holiday photo, taken by her husband Howard Stern, which features Beth and her cat quartet. She told the crowd, “If having four cats makes me a crazy cat lady, then I’m perfectly fine with that!”

One of the evening’s highlights was the first public showing of the four amazing videos from the winners of the 2012 Mutt-i-grees “America Adopts” PSA Contest. All of the PSAs did a fantastic job of encouraging the public to adopt shelter pets. Cesar Millan, renowned dog behavior expert, along with Animal League America President John Stevenson and Dr. Matia Finn-Stevenson, Director of Yale’s School of the 21st Century and creator of the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum, presented the grand prize to Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School in Port Washington, New York. The school received a $10,000 educational grant and a personal visit from the one and only Cesar Millan!

Awards were also presented to the three regional winners—Little Blue Elementary in Independence, Missouri; South Side Junior High in Bee Branch, Arkansas; and Fenton Avenue Charter School in Lake View Terrace, California.

The “Cesar Millan Award for Excellence in Mutt-i-grees Education” was presented to Scooby-Doo’s parent company, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, for their advocacy and support of Animal League America and the Mutt-i-grees Movement. Victor Allen, Vice President of Worldwide Marketing for Warner Bros. Consumer Products, proudly accepted the award, which was presented by Cesar. Victor told the audience, “My colleagues and I are all passionate about the rescue and adoption of Mutt-i-grees everywhere. They are noble creatures that show us integrity, loyalty, love and hope.”

John Stevenson honored Elizabeth Freed, one of the gala’s guests, for her generous contributions to Animal League America. Most recently, Elizabeth donated $350,000 toward our Special Recovery Center, a state-of-the-art medical facility that will help us treat ailing animals and prevent the spread of contagious diseases. The center, which will be called “The Elizabeth Ann Freed Special Recovery Center,” will break ground sometime this spring.

Elizabeth told the audience, “In the coming year, let us all do our best to support the work of North Shore Animal League America, which brings happiness to so many adoptive families.”

The “Hero Award” was presented to Steven Johnston, who cared for several homeless puppies and dogs while on tour in Iraq. Steven’s determination was unwavering; he and his fellow soldiers cared for the dogs under the most difficult of circumstances, moving them from bombed-out buildings to safe hiding places in the war-torn region. Then, when Steven’s tour was up, he worked with a group called Operation Baghdad Pups to transport three puppies and his treasured companion, a young dog he named Oso, back to the safety of the United States. Steven found homes for the three pups and added Oso to his family, which already included an Animal League America Mutt-i-gree.

In accepting his award, Steven said, “My love for animals has no border. I don’t see myself as a hero—just an ordinary guy with an extraordinary love for animals.” But the audience clearly disagreed with Steven’s assessment of his own heroism, giving him a rousing standing ovation. As she presented him with his award, Kathryn Erbe called Steven “a true American hero, both for animals and humans alike.”

Joanne Yohannan, Animal League America’s Senior Vice President of Operations, honored the work of our Rescue Team members who have worked tirelessly to care for animals displaced by Hurricane Sandy. Over 500 animals were given loving care at the Emergency Pet Shelter we operated in Mitchel Field,Long Island, as their owners struggled to rebuild their lives.

“I’m always proud of the work done by our dedicated staff and volunteers, but I’d never been as proud as I was watching their incredible response to the hurricane,” Joanne said. “Their compassion toward victims of the storm—both animals and their owners—moved me beyond words.”

Several of Animal League America’s many partners and generous supporters were honored, including Butler Schein Animal Health, which presented us with a $25,000 check to support our Hurricane Sandy emergency relief efforts. Purina One, the Cesar Millan Foundation, PetPlan, the Karmazin Foundation, MBS Insight and MuttNation Foundation were also thanked for their support.

Animal League America is grateful to all of those who attended the gala, and we look forward to next year’s event!

See more photos from the event on our Facebook page.

2012 DogCatemy Sponsors

Center Stage Sponsor:

Karmazin Foundation


Mutt-i-grees Curriculum Sponsor: