Love your pets? Reward the person behind keeping 'em healthy! American public invited to vote for 2014's American Hero Veterinarian and American Hero Veterinary Technician

Ten finalists unveiled for inaugural American Humane Association Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™, presented by Zoetis

Jun 13, 2014, 12:15 ET from American Humane Association

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After reading the heartwarming stories of hundreds of nominees, a special blue-ribbon panel of celebrities and renowned veterinary and animal care professionals has narrowed down its choices for the top veterinary professionals in the country, but now it's up to America to decide who is number one. Public voting is now open for the 10 finalists of the inaugural American Humane Association Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician Awards™, presented by Zoetis. One vote per person in each of the Hero Veterinarian and Hero Vet Tech categories may be submitted each day through July 21 by visiting

These special awards were born out of the idea that behind almost every hero pet (and millions more animals) is a hero veterinarian or hero veterinary technician. These often little-known benefactors save and improve the lives of our two- and four-legged best friends in many ways, and now it is time to honor their achievements. The winning veterinarian and vet tech will be flown to Los Angeles to be honored at the fourth annual American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™, which will take place on September 27 and be televised nationally on Hallmark Channel in the fall.

Though companion animal veterinarians and veterinary technicians are perhaps the most common veterinary professionals, nominees spanned the full spectrum of veterinary medicine, including those working with livestock or other large animals, shelter practitioners, emergency veterinarians and vet techs, researchers, and more.

"Zoetis is excited to invite America's pet owners, for the first time this year, to honor their Hero Veterinary Technician, and Hero Veterinarian, We appreciate the opportunity to celebrate the vital role that both play  in advancing the many benefits of the human-animal connection,," said J. Michael McFarland, DVM, Group Director of CAD Veterinary Operations at Zoetis. "Our commitment to the veterinary profession runs deep, and these awards are our way of raising awareness of how veterinarians and veterinary technicians work together as a team to provide the best care to pets and support the families that love them."

"All ten finalists do heroic work every day to benefit the welfare and well-being of animals and promote the human-animal bond," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane Association's president and CEO. "To us, all vets and vet techs are heroes and it will be an honor to share the stage at the Hero Dog Awards with our winning Hero Vet and Hero Vet Tech."

To read each of the nominees' stories and to vote daily for one of five finalists in each of the American Hero Veterinarian and American Hero Veterinary Technician categories, please visit

Meet the heroic veterinarian and veterinary tech finalists!

American Hero Veterinarian category

  • Dr. Paul Bingham (Fruita, CO) – Called "a man for all creatures," Dr. Bingham truly helps care for all types of animals, not just dogs and cats, but he also works to help wildlife including cougars, bears, and raptors. Dr. Bingham was nominated for not just sticking to office hours, but always being available to help his patients, whether in town or on vacation.
  • Dr. Eva Decozio-Bush (Higley, AZ) – Never one to turn away a someone if they are unable to pay for their pet's care, Dr. Decozio-Bush was nominated because of her propensity for helping as many creatures as she can. The co-founder of the Panacea Animal Wellness Sanctuary, she has brought in hundreds of animals who might have been euthanized in other shelters, treats them, and helps adopt them out to new forever homes.
  • Dr. Lesli Groshong (Boulder, CO) – The respected shelter veterinarian for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, Dr. Groshong is a pioneer in helping to get the field of shelter medicine recognized as its own unique specialty by the American Veterinary Medical Association. When not treating animals, she is lecturing veterinary students on the unique challenges presented to shelter veterinarians. Her work is notable around the world. As a co-founder of International Veterinarians Dedicated to Animal Health she has helped provide free veterinary care to animals in need in Mexico.
  • Dr. Richard Teague (Richmond, VA) – Practicing for nearly 40 years, Dr. Teague is one of the most revered veterinarians in the capital of Virginia. In addition to helping low-income families give much-needed veterinary care to their pets, he works with local rescue groups who need his services, including a pit bull rescue, and once a month he works in conjunction with Operation Catnip of Richmond to provide a free spay/neuter clinic for the local feral cat population.
  • Dr. Christa Williams (Minneapolis, MN) – Not one to be tied down with a stationary clinic, Dr. Williams recently opened her own mobile outreach clinic to better serve the pet population of the Twin Cities. She has completed her certification to become a Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and serves on the board of a local nonprofit that provides struggling pet owners the financial resources to get veterinary care for their furry friends.

American Hero Veterinary Technician Category

  • Abayomi Clark (San Antonio, TX) – After a breast cancer diagnosis, her coworkers at a very busy veterinary practice expected and encouraged her to take off time to complete her treatment. Following surgery, she quickly returned to work, and continued to work all the while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Saying that her coworkers and the pets of San Antonio are her number-one priorities, she even picked up extra shifts and worked after hours, all with a smile on her face.
  • Signe Corbin (Austin, TX) – In addition to her duties at Westlake Animal Hospital, she is the co-founder and medical director for Pug Rescue of Austin, which since 2009 has provided care for more than 600 animals. She is always available to pet owners and fosters, willing to work with them at all hours of the evening, and is willing to drop everything to help them when an emergency arises.
  • Mary Fee (Bean Station, TN) – As the Animal Care Supervisor at Lincoln Memorial University's Veterinary Health Science and Technology Department, she assists in all laboratory classes and serves as a mentor to many of the students. On weekends she assists rescue groups and shelters transport animals to forever homes. In 2013, she organized the collection of 90 blood samples from dogs with distemper at an animal shelter in Kentucky, and by working with a team at the University of Florida, helped saved the lives of 80 of them.
  • Genesis Rendon (Los Angeles, CA) – Noted for her caring and extremely knowledgeable demeanor, Genesis has been praised by pet owners for helping their animals to get the proper care they need. Because of her knowledge and dedication, many of her colleagues have encouraged her to make the leap and attend veterinary school.
  • Erin Searfoss (Denver, CO) – After attending West Point and serving as an engineer in the Army, she worked as a vet tech in a small practice in rural Colorado. But since 2011, she has worked on the Morris Animal Foundation's Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, now serving as its Senior Project Manager. This study is the largest and longest effort ever undertaken to improve the health of dogs, which over the next decade plans on collecting samples from 3,000 dogs in an effort to learn how to prevent cancer and other deadly diseases.

About Zoetis

Zoetis (zō-EH-tis) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, 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 2013, the company generated annual revenues of $4.6 billion. With approximately 9,800 employees worldwide at the beginning of 2014, Zoetis has a local presence in approximately 70 countries, including 28 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, visit

Zoetis is the proud sponsor, with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, 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

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 today.

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SOURCE American Humane Association