SAN DIEGO, June 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Petco Foundation gathered more than 450 animal-loving guests at this year's "Celebration of Love" Lifesaving Awards, which recognized seven organizations and individuals from across the country for their dedication, determination and actions to create lifesaving impact for pets in need.
"The Petco Foundation's Lifesaving Awards are a way to celebrate and recognize the incredible, lifesaving work that takes place across the country," said Susanne Kogut, president of the Petco Foundation. "The individuals and organizations honored this year are changing the landscape of animal welfare and setting an example for others. We're grateful for all they do to save lives and are thrilled to bring their work into the spotlight."
The 2018 Lifesaving Awards Winners include:
Helping Heroes Award presented by Blue Buffalo to National Disaster Search Dog Foundation National Disaster Search Dog Foundation is a Santa Paula, Calif.-based non-profit that strengthens disaster response by rescuing and recruiting shelter dogs and training them to work with first responders to find people buried alive in the wreckage of disasters.
Paul Jolly Compassion Award presented by the J.M. Smucker Company/Natural Balance to the Southern Pines Animal Shelter Located in Hattiesburg, Miss., the Southern Pines Animal Shelter is proving that saving shelter animals is possible everywhere in the United States. Southern Pines led a dramatic shift in saving animal lives by implementing a variety of programs and transforming their relationship with their community. Southern Pines has a 95 percent lifesaving rate for Hattiesburg's homeless pets and is now saving animals in surrounding communities.
Unsung Hero Award in partnership with dog behaviorist Victoria Stilwell and presented by State Farm to Shannon Wells of the Kansas City Pet Project Shannon Wells was recognized for her selfless dedication to her work at Kansas City Pet Project, specifically in creating a special Parvo Ward at the underfunded animal control shelter. Through Shannon's program, she and her team have saved more than 500 puppies.
Innovation Award presented by CANIDAE Pet Food Made by Pet People to Front Street Animal Shelter At the recent Petco Foundation Innovation Showdown, Sacramento-based Front Street Animal Shelter walked away with the top prize for its lifesaving solution to reunite lost pets with their families. Through text messages, an education app and marketing programs, Front Street aims to increase the number of pets across the country who return safely home.
Lifesaving Impact Award presented by Merrick Pet Care to Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) BARCS was recognized this year for achieving a 89 percent save rate, which has increased from just 2 percent over the last 15 years due to engaging the community in its efforts and implementing thoughtful lifesaving programs.
The Love in Action Award presented by Petco to Dogs Playing for Life By training shelters to create large playgroups for all the dogs in their care, Dogs Playing for Life is putting their love into action to save animals across the country. Due to DPFL's programs, shelters report more well-adjusted and better-socialized dogs, resulting in increased adoptions.
Love Amplified Award presented by Petco to Steven Latham of Shelter Me Shelter Me, an uplifting PBS series that celebrates shelter pets and the people who help them, was recognized for their visionary marketing and outreach, which shines a light on shelter pets and the incredible work happening across the nation to save animal lives.
"Receiving this award from the Petco Foundation is a tremendous honor," said Jen Brause, BARCS executive director. "This recognition inspires our hard working team and fuels us to do even more. We are incredibly thankful."
To help celebrate the award recipients and everyone who makes their work possible, the awards gala also featured music by singer MAX, a paw-printed red carpet with "pawparazzi" and, of course, plenty of dogs and cats available to greet and mingle with the guests.
About The Petco Foundation At the Petco Foundation, we believe that every animal deserves to live its best life. Since 1999, we've invested more than $200 million in lifesaving animal welfare work to make that happen. With our more than 4,000 animal welfare partners, we inspire and empower communities to make a difference by investing in adoption and medical care programs, spay and neuter services, pet cancer research, service and therapy animals, and numerous other lifesaving initiatives. Through our Think Adoption First program, we partner with Petco stores and animal welfare organizations across the country to increase pet adoptions. So far, we've helped more than 5.5 million pets find their new loving families, and we're just getting started. Visit petcofoundation.org to learn more about how you can get involved.