Meet the Winners of the 2018 ASPCA Humane Awards

A wheelchair-bound cockapoo and a cat responsible for training therapy dogs are among the recipients of this year’s awards.
Amanda Carrozza
Published: October 23, 2018
The American Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recently announced the 6 recipients of its 2018 ASPCA Humane Awards. The annual awards honor animals and humans who go to extraordinary measures to serve as animal welfare advocates.

“This year’s ASPCA Humane Award winners cover a wide variety of issues, locations, and approaches, but what they share is a deep commitment to protecting vulnerable animals and driving toward a more humane culture overall,” said Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA. “We congratulate and commend them, and hope these awards inspire even more animal welfare advocacy and action in others.”


The winners will all be formally honored on November 15 at the Humane Awards Luncheon in New York City, but you can get to know them below.

Dog of the Year: Noah
Noah, a 3-year-old cockapoo was born with disabled back legs and no eyes, but that has not stopped him from making a memorable impact on his local community. The determined pup regularly travels to schools in his custom-made wheelchair to teach children about bullying, not judging humans or animals based on their disabilities, and the differences between sympathy and empathy.

Outside of his work in schools, Noah also frequents nursing homes where he provides love to seniors. It is also not uncommon to find Noah skiing the Wisconsin slopes using skis specially made to fit his wheelchair.

Cat of the Year: D-O-G
As the resident cat at Duo Inc.—an assistance dogs provider and training organization—in St. Louis, Missouri, D-O-G (pronounced dee-OH-gee) provides unique behavioral training for dogs currently enrolled in the company’s training program. D-O-G’s role is to help these dogs become comfortable around other animals and avoid distractions as they focus on their work. Upon completion of the 2-year program, Duo Inc.’s dogs go on to either assist people with mobility and hearing impairments or provide emotional support to children and adults as they navigate the legal system.

The once-homeless cat is now considered instrumental in helping service dogs get the training they need.

Public Service Award: Bear
This 5-year-old Labrador-mix was once homeless until he became the first trainee in Indiana fireman Todd Jordan’s program to train animals to detect electronic storage devices. As only the third police dog in the world trained in this specialty, Bear is crucial in the collection of evidence in child sexual exploitation cases.

Some of the high-profile cases Bear has been instrumental in include the search of former Subway spokesperson Jared Fogle’s house in July 2015 and the investigations of USA gymnastics coach Marvin Sharp in 2015 and USA Olympic swim coach Sean Hutchison in 2018. In the past 3 years, Bear has been involved in more than 125 cases.

In addition to his investigative work, Bear provides emotional support to officers working in the stressful division as well as to children at the sites of the raids.

Henry Bergh Award: Animal Care Centers of NYC
Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) has been deemed the official animal welfare organization for New York City and is responsible for finding homes for thousands of homeless cats, dogs, and rabbits. As Manhattan’s only open admissions shelter, meaning they must accept every animal that arrives at their doorstep, the ACC works to adopt animals directly to the public, reunite families with lost pets, and partner with more than 300 local animal welfare organizations, including the ASPCA.

Equine Welfare Award: Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center
The Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center is a central hub for horses from rescue groups in the Midwest and the southwestern United States that specializes in the rehabilitation and adoption of tragically abused and neglected horses, ponies, donkeys, and mules. The Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center provides these animals with immediate medical care, treatment plans, and training programs so that they can be rehomed.

Since 2012, the group has saved more than 1500 horses.

Tommy P. Monahan Kid of the Year Award: Roman McConn
At just 7 years old, Roman is being awarded for his compassion towards animals in need and his commitment to advocating on their behalf. It all started on his fourth birthday, when rather than gifts, Roman asked for donations to a Texas-based animal rescue. He is now best known for the viral videos he makes with homeless dogs to help them get adopted.

Roman is also an avid volunteer with Project Freedom Ride, a relocation network founded by his mother, which assists in helping relocate homeless animals to areas where their chances of adoption are improved.


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