KUSA - - Colorado's Animal Hero winners will be honored Thursday, November 8, at 6:30 p.m., at the Ridgelilne in the Pepsi Center.
Top honorees in the Service, Human-animal Bond, and Hero categories will have their stories shared and receive awards.
9NEWS reporter Amelia Earhart is the emcee.
The event is $20 and open to the public. If you wish to attend, RSVP to TamaraFox@petaidcolorado.org or call 303.539.7638. Colorado Animal Heroes is a PetAid Colorado event. All proceeds and donations go to PetAid Colorado to help pet owners in need.
The award winners are as follows:
- Ellie - Animal Hero: Ellie is being recognized for her courage and dedication to her companions during this summer's High Park wildfire. Ellie and her herd of three horses and one other donkey could not be reached for evacuation before the fire moved through their area and were feared lost, but a rescue crew sweeping the area after the fire found the herd in a safe place, with Ellie in charge. Always the leader of her herd, Ellie had moved them to one of the few remaining unburned areas. There were a few singed whiskers and tails, but everyone survived, and when Ellie climbed into the rescue crew's horse trailer, the herd followed her as they had before.
- Fox - Human-Animal Bond: Like many pets, Fox is a most beloved companion. But he and his owner, Jimmy, are a team. When Jimmy was diagnosed with cancer, it was Fox who stayed by his side, seeing him through the grief, uncertainty, and medical treatments. Soon after, Fox fractured his leg and needed help, but the bills still due for Jimmy's treatment made Fox's care a financial difficulty. Still, Jimmy wouldn't give up and found a way to get help for Fox. Now, the bond Fox and Jimmy share is that much stronger. The love they have for each other exemplifies the human-animal bond.
- Simon - Service: Simon is a 10-year-old cat who was born with a spinal deformity, but that hasn't stopped him from making the world around him a better place. In fact, it's been his gift. Simon has been a registered therapy animal since 2009 and is part of Denver Pet Partners. Alongside his owner, Diana, Simon helps tutor children at Denver's Westword Opportunity Center and participates in Night Lights, a respite program for parents of children with physical and developmental challenges. Simon is especially gifted in working with children who suffer physical challenges like he does, as he demonstrates for them the possibilities that remain open for them.
- Jessica Rychel, DVM - Human Hero: Dr. Jessica Rychel is the 2012 Human Hero. She is being recognized for her tireless devotion and commitment to one special but paralyzed St. Bernard, Bruno. Dr. Rychel was Bruno's veterinarian when he began treatment for Wobbler's syndrome, an instability in the cervical vertebrae. Bruno began an ambitious treatment regimen, but within a few short weeks his owners decided they could not manage his long term care. Dr. Rychel took Bruno into her family rather than euthanize him. After intensive rehabilitation and a lot of hands-on guidance, Bruno took his first steps six months later, with Dr. Rychel by his side. He was two-and-a-half years old.
- Jayme Nielson - Animal Welfare Volunteer: Jayme Nielson has worked tirelessly on behalf of animals in the Denver area for the past 20 years. She has been active with the Dumb Friends League since 1991 and helped to establish the Metro Denver Shelter Alliance in 2000. Jayme also serves on the board of the Pet Overpopulation Fund and participates in the Coalition for Living Safely with Dogs. In her free time, she partners with Kali to comfort Alzheimer's patients at an assisted living facility. Through it all, Jayme's commitment to animal welfare has never wavered.
- Elizabeth Hauser - Youth Animal Advocate: Elizabeth Hauser is the producer of a video titled, "A Hole in my Heart: A Child's Guide to Pet Loss." For this and for her special understanding of the way that pet loss affects children, she is the 2012 Youth Animal Advocate. Liz's mission with her video and animal advocacy is to help children cope with the loss of a pet. When she suffered through the loss of a pet herself, Liz realized there were few resources for children and dedicated herself to helping others through their suffering.
- Stacy McVicker, DVM - Jim Crafts Volunteer of the Year: Dr. McVicker is being recognized as the Jim Crafts Volunteer of the Year. As one of PetAid Colorado's biggest supporters and a longtime volunteer with the Home Outreach program, Dr. McVicker has shared her expertise and contributed countless hours to ensure that pets whose owners cannot access veterinary services in the animal hospital receive the care they need to stay healthy and in their homes. The connection between human and animal health and well-being is well documented. Providing for these animals and people is something PetAid Colorado can do only because of people like Dr. McVicker.
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