Two AAHA-accredited practice members honored as veterinary heroes

A New York veterinarian and a New Jersey veterinary assistant who each dedicate countless hours to volunteer activities were the non-canine winners at the eighth annual American Humane Hero Dog Awards.

AAHA Chief Executive Officer, Michael Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP (Emeritus) was one of the judges, so he knows just how tough the competition was.

“Being a judge for the Hero Veterinarian Award is such a pleasure. As part of the Hero Dog Awards, there is a lot of competition and there are wonderful stories submitted about each Hero Veterinarian nominee,” said Cavanaugh. “I am especially proud this year that Dr. David Chico was selected as the Hero Veterinarian, and he is affiliated with AAHA-accredited Burnt Hills Veterinary Hospital near Albany, New York. The Hero Technician award went to Tammy Boland, who works at AAHA-accredited Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in New Jersey. Congratulations to both and thanks for all you are doing to help animals and their people!”

David Chico, VMD, MPH, who was voted 2018 American Humane Hero Veterinarian, exemplifies the American Hero Veterinarian ideal through his commitment to the betterment of the health and wellbeing of animals, and his fostering of the human-animal bond in his community, nationally, and internationally.

A decade ago, Chico approached Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS), a program that assists low-income, HIV-positive pet owners by assisting with veterinary care, and proposed opening a free, quarterly pet wellness clinic that he would staff. Today, those clinics are still going strong. Chico also volunteers with Animals Lebanon in Beirut, a nonprofit that works to improve animal welfare in Lebanon, and adopted a disabled dog named Habib while he was there. Chico has also worked tirelessly with the state of New York on animal cruelty cases as well as with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and on disaster relief.

Tammy Boland, voted 2018 American Humane Hero Veterinary Nurse, has saved hundreds of dogs through her nonprofit Pick Your Paw Animal Rescue. Boland began her journey by adopting Ella, a nine-year-old German shepherd dog, who was soon to be euthanized. Tammy networks with some of the busiest shelters in the New Jersey–New York–Pennsylvania area, striving to rehome the most at-risk dogs: seniors, those with medical needs, and pit bull terriers.

The Hero Dog Awards searches out and recognizes America’s Hero Dogs—often ordinary dogs who do extraordinary things, whether it’s saving lives on the battlefield, lending sight or hearing to a human companion, or just welcoming you home at the end of a hard day—and the extraordinary veterinary professionals who go out of their way every day to care for companion animals.

This year, more than 200 nominations were submitted by the public. The winners were announced live during an awards ceremony at The Beverly Hilton on Saturday, September 29. The ceremony was broadcast nationally on October 24 on the Hallmark Channel.

Photo Credit: © istock/AndreyPopov