November 21, 2017

Get to Know the ASPCA's 2017 Animal and Human Heroes

Here is a complete list of the ASPCA’s 2017 animal and human heroes, including the dog and cat of the year.
By Amanda Carrozza
ASPCA Dog of the Year: Rescue
Rescue, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, is the service dog of Jessica Kensky, who became a double amputee as a result of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Rescue regularly provides essential support to Kensky, including opening doors, fetching objects, and calling for emergency help. Rescue was donated to Kensky by the National Education for Assistance Dog Services through its Pawsitively Strong Fund, which provided service dogs to qualifying survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Inspired by their experiences with Rescue, Kensky and her husband, Patrick Downes, are co-writing a children’s book, Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship, featuring a service dog named Rescue and a girl with disabilities similar to Kensky’s.
ASPCA Cat of the Year: Flame
When he strayed into the Belmont Fire Department in South Carolina in 2015, Flame was a malnourished orange and white kitten who immediately attached himself to the firefighters. Flame—who is unfazed by the loud sirens—currently lives in a mini-firehouse created for him by Animal Planet and brings all of his firefighters companionship and comfort, even during the most stressful and tragic times.
ASPCA Citizen Hero Award: Judy Obregon
Judy Obregon from Fort Worth, Texas knew she had to take action after noticing that an area near her home had become a dumping ground for abandoned, injured, and deceased animals. Since 2010, Obregon has repeatedly visited this area to rescue animals, arrange veterinary care, and assist with their adoptions. To date, Obregon has rescued more than 300 dogs.
ASPCA Henry Bergh Award: Mission K9 Rescue
Mission K9 Rescue of Houston, Texas serves retiring and retired American military and working dogs. In addition to providing care and rehabilitation for dogs that have risked their lives in heroic service at home and abroad, Mission K9 Rescue facilitates reunion and adoption opportunities. Since its founding, the organization has reunited more than 70 canine-handler teams and rescued more than 100 dogs in need.
ASPCA Equine Welfare Award: Fleet of Angels
Lifelong horse-lover Elaine Nash launched Fleet of Angels after noticing how badly horses across the country needed help. While many people are interested in rescuing horses, they are often deterred by commercial transportation costs and lack of access to horse trailers. To combat this problem, the Colorado-based corporation facilitates a program to manage large-scale equine emergencies and to move at-risk horses to safety through a network of trailer owners and service providers. Currently, Fleet of Angels is working to assist horses displaced by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. 
ASPCA Tommy P. Monahan Kid of the Year Award: Jessica Brocksom
At just 11 years old, Jessica Brocksom won the job of 2017 Connecticut Kid Governor after being elected by fifth graders across the state. Since assuming office in January, Brocksom has dedicated herself to promoting collection drives for local shelters, working with state officials to enforce tougher laws against animal cruelty, and spreading her message through press conferences, fundraising, and media appearances. In spring 2017, Brocksom advocated for legislation, which has now been passed as law, allowing children to have therapy animals with them while testifying in court.
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