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. 2012 Winner - Jessie
Jessie, a Labrador retriever, is a Marin County Urban Search and Rescue K9. Novato Fire Engineer Mike Taul’s black lab is one of only about 200 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) certified search and rescue canines in the entire country. Jessie responds to search and rescue calls not only in Marin, but across the United States. He was on the scene during the aftermath of Hurricanes Rita, Gustav and Ike. The training regimen required to keep Jessie in a state of operational readiness is very demanding. The dog and his canine handler regularly train in hazardous environments meant to mimic disaster scenes. They are on call 24/7 with many days, sometimes weeks, away on deployment living under very stressful conditions. Jessie is trained to find survivors. Search and rescue dogs like Jessie can make the difference between life and death for disaster victims.
Read about some of the past winners of the CA Animal Hall of Fame Award:
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. Ellie Mae 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.