CA ANIMAL HALL OF FAME
The California Animal Hall of Fame celebrates the companion and working animals of California.
These animals exemplify the affection, loyalty, security, and value of the human animal bond through unselfish and courageous accomplishments.
The CVMF awards $500 to the owner of the recipient of the California Animal Hall of Fame award annually. The CVMA's California Animal Hall of Fame, created in 1990, celebrates the companion and working animals of California and the veterinarians who care for them. The winning animal is inducted into the Hall of Fame and the care provider receives a plaque.
2015 Winner — Tara
Tara, a seven-year old cat to the Triantafilo family is known for her brave act after saving her four-year-old owner, Jeremy Triantafilo from a dog attach. While riding his bicycle outside in his front yard, Jeremy was attacked by a neighbor's dog that had escaped from a nearby yard. Just as the dog bit down on Jeremy's lower leg dragging from off his bicycle, his cat Tara immediately sprant into action and hurled herself at the dog. She hit the dog with her whole body and the dog immediuately released Jeremy and ran away. Tara continued to chase the dog for a while then returned to Jeremy, protecting him until the dog was subdued in his own backyard.
Security cameras caught the incident and when the Triantafilo family saw the footage, they were stunned by how quickly Tara reacted to save Jeremy. "Tara changed our perspective of just how loyal she was to Jeremy and our family and we cannot love her enough for that", Jeremy's father Roger Triantafilo says.
Read about some of the past winners of the CA Animal Hall of Fame Award:
2014 Winner — Bodie
K9 Bodie saved the life of his Sacramento Police Officer, Officer Van Dusen on May 18, 2012, taking a bullet frm a suspect and allowing Officer Van Dusen to move in a safe direction and return fire. Bodie also stopped a dangerous gunman from escaping onto the grounds of an elementary school, which was in session with hundreds of children.
Bodie and Officer Van Dusen were in pursuit of a suspected car thief when the suspect shot Bodie in the jaw and paw. Van Dusen then fatally shot the suspect. Van Dusen immediately drove Bodie to VCA Animal Hospital in Rancho Cordova. Bodie nearly died on the way, losing most of the blood in his body.
The bullet shattered Bodie's lower left jaw bone, severed his tongue 60 percent of the way off, exited his right lip and entered his right paw, shattering his two middle toes. Bodie was in the veterinary hospital for one week before being released.
Officer Van Dusen spent every day and night with Bodie, sleeping on the floor of the dog kennel. Bodie had five major surgeries to repair the damage, including one in January 2013 to remove a ruptured spinal disk that occurred as a result of the shooting.
Bodie became the Sacramento Police Department's first ever Reserve Police K9 and serves as an ambassador for police and working dogs. He educates the public about the benefits of police canines and the bond shared between and them and their human partners.
"Bodie unselfishly saved my life and I will never be able to repay him," Officer Randy Van Dusen said.
2013 — Sophie
Sophie, a terrier therapy dog, is 14-year-old former street dog from Mexico City. She was brought north by a rescue group at age three and adopted by Dr. Don Conkling and his wife, Brenda. The Conklings took Sophie to obedience and agility classes, where Sophie was very friendly and easily distracted by anyone on the sidelines with treats. One of the trainers suggested that Sophie might make a good therapy dog, and within six months, Sophie and Dr. Conkling were certified as Pet Partners. Dr. Conkling began doing assistance dog therapy with Sophie. The pair eventually advanced to hospice animal therapy for patients that were dying. Hospice animal therapy became their favorite. Sometimes just being there with someone is Sophie's most important job.
2012 Winner — Jessie
2011 — Ellie Mae
Ellie Mae is a bloodhound who has been trained and certified to track the scent of lost animals. Working with her handler, Landa Coldiron, she has located hundreds of lost pets over the past six years. Ellie Mae was trained for 18 months by Ms. Coldiron, starting at 10 weeks of age.
Ellie Mae is given bedding, a leash or other items to guide her nose along the path left by the missing pet. The use of sniffer dogs to track lost dogs is a relatively new phenomenon. There are only about 20 certified missing animal response technicians working the U.S. and the demand for their services is growing.
She has worked in extreme temperatures and under difficult conditions to locate missing cats and dogs. She starts on the trail, narrowing down the direction of travel, so frantic owners know where to concentrate their search efforts. She is trained to let her handler know that the cat or dog went through a gate or over a fence. It is very difficult work. Ellie Mae is smart and devoted to her work. She has given closure to families that would have never known what happened to their beloved pets without her.
2010 — Moorea
Moorea was abandoned until her owners, Mike and Nancy Denen gave her a new home. Moorea is a senior member of the Love on a Leash San Diego Chapter. But Moorea is a calm and even tempered cat who gives tremendous love and comfort to hospice patients. Her special ability to comfort patients became evident when Nancy's aging father became ill. Moorea went along to the nursing home and her new life as a therapy cat began. She seems to sense when residents need more time with her and she is reluctant to leave their side. Though not many words are spoken, the connection and touch is so valuable. Moorea illustrates the amazing connection that animals have with people who are nearing the end of their journey.
Both Mike and Nancy went through specialized training to become a certified pet therapy team. Along with Moorea, they have visited hundreds of individuals at various nursing facilities, senior centers, and Alzheimer's facilities. Moorea also visits libraries to read with children and makes guest appearances at Sea World's Terrific Tuesday lectures. Let's look at a slideshow of some of her many visits.
2009 — Sizzle
Due to a rare form of cancer, Sizzle had her rear leg amputated at 6 months of age. At the time, many questioned her quality of life with a leg amputated at such a young age. Proving them wrong, Sizzle made a remarkable recovery and was soon joining in with the normal routine of her family. Not once has she let her handicap stop her from doing anything that she sets her mind to.
Having heard a presentation on Therapy Dogs, Mary Mulligan, decided that Sizzle would be perfect. Mary and Sizzle soon began visiting with various convalescent facilities, and local Veterans Hospital. She and Mary were invited to visit at the Balboa Naval Medical Center in the amputee ward.
Sizzle immediately seemed to sense where she was needed the most and became a favorite with the patients, some waiting for her to accompany them to their often painful therapy sessions. She is the official mascot of the Balboa Naval Hospital and works in the VA Hospital as well.
As a cancer survivor and amputee herself, Sizzle innately knows what each patient needs from her and infuses each visit with hope for the future. Through her loving spirit, she has made a lasting impression on everyone she meets.
2008 — Chester
Chester, a therapy dog with the Helen Woodward Animal Hospital, owner, Valerie Ziers Gonzales, and Diane Erth, Pet Encounter Therapist at the Helen Woodward Animal Hospital.
Chester, a dirty matted, little stray, had been hit by a car and seemed an unlikely candidate to be rescued. But he was fortunate. As he recovered, it became evident that this little dog had something special to give. Chester found a new life visiting convalescent centers, abused children's centers and psychiatric wards. Recreation Therapy is an important part of the rehabilitation of our hospitalized veterans. Pet therapy gives our returning injured heroes the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of socialization with an animal. Chester's delightful, enthusiastic personality improves morale. His gentleness and unconditional love leaves a lasting impression on patients and staff.