Meet the Winners of the 2021 American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards™, Presented by Zoetis Petcare

The American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards were born from the idea that behind almost every hero (and millions more animals) there is a hero veterinarian or veterinary nurse. These often little-known benefactors are saving and improving the lives of our two- and four-legged best friends in many ways, and it is time to recognize their achievements. Hundreds of worthy nominees were considered by a special Blue Ribbon jury made up of celebrities and renowned veterinary and zoo keepers. After narrowing the field down to the top five in each category, the American public made the final decision through online voting. Here are their stories, told by those who nominated them:

2021 American Hero Vet: Dr. Mary Kate Lawler (Houston, Texas)

DR. Mary Kate Lawler awarded the Spay-Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) for its competent leadership – as chief surgeon in San Antonio since 2006 and since 2015 as Executive Director. Her tireless work and commitment enable her to carry out up to 8,500 castrations / castrations per year. When the last operation is completed each day and the patients recover, she cleverly switches to her role as managing director. Their exemplary veterinary skills, business acumen and compassion keep the SNAP team focused on our mission. Dr. Lawler graduated from NYSCVM at in 1995 Cornell University. Castration / castration surgery was her focus throughout her veterinary career. She has traveled extensively and has worked at castration / neutering clinics in. took part India, Mexico, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, American Samoa, Hawaii, and the American Southwest reservations. She has led the SNAP team to perform over 20,000 spay and neuter surgeries and 8,500 vet visits annually. Her unwavering commitment to the well-being of the people and pets of our community has led her to weather hurricanes, fires, and pandemics – and keep SNAP thriving despite the challenges. She is a heroine in the eyes of those who lead her and the great number of pets whose lives she has improved.

2021 American Humane Hero Veterinary Nurse Award Recipient: Jill Elston (Milan, Pennsylvania)

Jill is the embodiment of an “American Hero Veterinary Nurse”. She has been passionate about animal shelter medicine since college, and a few years after graduating, she found her real job working at the Animal Care Sanctuary taking care of those who had no homes. Protecting the wounded and abused and giving a chance to souls that everyone else has given up. She bravely leads a team of veterinarians providing veterinary care in an underserved rural area, and Jill herself is the one St. Jude from ACS, “Mama Jill’s Home for Lost Souls”. She is always the first to take home sad, broken, sick, abused, or neglected creatures. She regularly rehabilitates anxious dogs and helps sick animals recover. Her special project, however, is to be a hospice for older dogs and cats who are not candidates for adoption but still deserve the dignity of a home and a family at the end of their lives. For all cats and dogs, she offers her home, giving them the opportunity to thrive in comfortable (dare I say lavish) conditions, the best in food and health care, a lively lifestyle, and a warm, soft side next to Jill in. to get on the lounger or on the bed. That included Miss P. Kevin, Sweetheart, Hershey, Yoda, Simza, Ava, Kado, Bacon, Barnaby, Poki, Grumio, Empress of Shadows, Squiggy, Mimi and her puppies, Smokey, Teddy, Amos, Morgan, Edgar, The Bacon Bits, Cosby, Clancy, Murdock, Titan, Lou, Bree-land, Yukon, Herc, and so many other patients I can’t remember. And Hickory who started it all.

“We are delighted to highlight two outstanding veterinary professionals who are doing everything they can to provide veterinary care to animals in need,” said Tara Bidgood, DVM, PhD, DACVCP, Executive Director, Veterinary Professional Services and Medical Affairs, Zoetis Petcare. “DR. Mary Kate Lawler has helped prevent large-scale suffering from overpopulation and neglect and is a veterinary nurse Jill Elston stands for care and compassion, both professionally and privately. They are both true heroes. ”

“Veterinarians and vet nurses are heroes for the animals they serve, and these awards are an attempt to recognize the best of the best,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of American Humane. “Dr. Lawler and Ms. Elston are notable animal welfare advocates, and we are proud to recognize their work in helping animals in their communities. We would also like to thank our friends at Zoetis Petcare for sponsoring this national campaign Recognize the achievements of veterinary medicine. “

For more information on this year’s American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards, please visit

About American Humane
American Humane is the country’s first national humanitarian organization, founded in 1877. For more information, please visit and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

About Zoetis
As the world’s leading animal health company, Zoetis has a single goal: to benefit our world and humanity by promoting animal care. After nearly 70 years of innovative methods for predicting, preventing, detecting and treating animal diseases, Zoetis continues to serve those who raise and care for animals worldwide – from ranchers to veterinarians and keepers. The company’s leading portfolio and pipeline of drugs, vaccines, diagnostics and technologies make a difference in over 100 countries. In 2020 Zoetis achieved sales of $ 6.7 billion with ~ 11,300 employees. More information is available at

SOURCE American Humane

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