Blog Post

Home / Blog Posts / Celebrate a Veterinary Hero!

Celebrate a Veterinary Hero!

Behind every hero pet, there is a hero veterinarian or veterinary nurse. These often little-known benefactors save and improve the lives of our animal companions every day, and now, you have the opportunity to celebrate a veterinary hero and recognize their extraordinary achievements.

Pet owners and animal lovers alike are invited to nominate their favorite veterinary professionals for the 2022 American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards™, presented by Zoetis! The winning veterinarian and veterinary nurse will attend the star-studded “American Humane Hero Dog Awards” gala on November 11 in Palm Beach.

Who do you depend on to care for your beloved pet when they are unwell? The world’s animals rely on veterinarians and veterinary nurses, and we are honored to recognize their triumphs in saving lives, conducting groundbreaking research, and working on the front lines of animal welfare. The Hero Vet Awards pay tribute to those who are dedicated to the betterment of the health and welfare of animals and the promotion of the human-animal bond.

Please note that professionals from all fields of veterinary medicine are eligible for entry including, but not limited to, those who work in research, emergency services, shelters, and those who work with large and exotic animals. Nominations are open until May 19, 2022, at 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET.

Meet the winners of the 2021 American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards™ below and be sure to submit a nomination for this year’s campaign at www.HeroVetAwards.org. Public voting will open on July 28, and you can use #HeroVetAwards on social media to show support for your veterinary hero!

Zoetis is the exclusive sponsor of the American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards™.

Dr. Mary Kate Lawler, the 2021 American Hero Veterinarian

Dr. Mary Kate Lawler has graced the Spay-Neuter Assistance Program with her proficient leadership for more than 10 years. Her tireless work and dedication allow her to perform as many as 8,500 spay/neuter surgeries each year. When the last surgery is finished each day and the patients are recovering, she deftly shifts to her role as executive director. Her exemplary veterinary skills, business acumen and compassion keep the SNAP team focused on their mission. Dr. Lawler also traveled extensively and has participated in spay/neuter clinics in India, Mexico, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, American Samoa, Hawaii and on the reservations in the American Southwest. Her unwavering dedication for the well-being of the people and pets of the community have pushed her to persevere through hurricanes, fires and pandemics. She is a hero in the eyes of those she leads and the vast number of companion animals whose lives she has improved.

Dr. Mary Kate Lawler with Staff Sergeant Summer, the 2021 Military Hero Dog

Jill Elston, the 2021 American Hero Veterinary Nurse

Jill Elson is the embodiment of a Hero Veterinary Nurse. Shelter medicine has always been her passion, and a couple years after graduation she found her true purpose working at Animal Care Sanctuary, serving and caring for those who have no home, protecting the wounded and abused and giving a chance to those everyone else gave up on. She courageously leads a team of veterinary professionals who provide veterinary care in an underserved rural area, and Jill herself has become the St. Jude of ACS, “Mama Jill’s Home for Lost Souls.” She is always first in line to take home the sad, broken, sick, abused or neglected. She regularly rehabilitates fearful dogs and helps sick animals recover. Her special project, however, is being a hospice for older dogs and cats who aren’t candidates for adoption, but who still deserve the dignity of a home and a family at the end of their lives. For all cats and dogs, she offers up her own home, giving them a chance to flourish in comfortable conditions, receiving the best food and care, a lively lifestyle and a warm, soft spot next to Jill in her recliner.

Jill Elston with Sobee, the 2021 Service Hero Dog

Recent Blog Posts

Our first-responders are there when animals need them most

From natural disasters to animal cruelty investigations, we are on the front lines protecting animals in times of crisis.

Contribute Volunteer