The Winners of the First Annual “Animal Compassion Awards” are…
Human-Animal Bond Award This award recognizes the powerful and unique relationship between humans and animals.
Winner: Judy Fridono and her dog, Ricochet.
Ricochet was born to be a service dog—helping people with disabilities. However, as she grew…so did her instinct for chasing birds, which forced her to find a new path. Ricochet’s mom, Judy, was disappointed at first, but once she let go of her expectations, Ricochet became who she was always meant to be. One day at the beach, Ricochet jumped onto a surfboard with a 14-year old boy named Patrick. Patrick had been hit by a car -- which left him a quadriplegic. That’s when Judy realized Ricochet’s true purpose. She’s the only dog in the world who surfs with people with disabilities. Judy says, “Once I let go of my expectations of what I wanted...everything changed. It really taught me to just allow anyone – animals, humans, kids, husbands – to be who they truly are and it could be magical.”
Humane Hero Award This award recognizes an individual, business or group that goes above and beyond to help animals.
Winner: Officer Melissa Prettyman, County of San Diego’s Department of Animal Services
Someone who has gone above and beyond as a hero to the animals is Officer Melissa Prettyman, who has come to the rescue more than once when a pet was in danger. She’s rescued animals out of a burning home, before the family was even aware of the fire. Another rescue involved the team effort of Officer Prettyman and her partner -- saving a stray dog from drowning off the Mission Beach Jetty. Officer Prettyman says, “We deal with a lot of different situations every day. It can be anywhere from just educating a pet owner or going out and saving a dog in the water or whatever it may be – but it’s definitely a team effort. I feel if I can at least help one person or one animal in any way possible...then I know I’ve done my job.”
Pet-Friendly Destination Award This award recognizes a local business that promotes and supports an extraordinary pet-friendly environment.
Winner: Gina Champion-Cain, Owner, The Patio Restaurant and LUV San Diego Surf
A large part of makes San Diego a “pet-friendly” community is due to businesses that foster an environment for people to be with their pets. No one understands the importance of involving pets in our day-to-day lives better than Gina Champion-Cain – owner of several pet-friendly businesses in San Diego...From beach rentals in Mission Beach to ‘The Patio’ on Lamont Street. Gina was inspired to start these “pet-friendly businesses” after difficulties booking vacations to other cities with her own pets. Gina says, “My pets are the loves of my life, there’s no way I could have a business that wouldn’t be pet-friendly.
Submissions for the 2014 Animal Compassion Awards will be accepted later this year! Please continue to check back for information.
Thank you to our generous 2013 Animal Compassion Award sponsors!
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