2018 Animal Hall of Fame Awards

To celebrate the enduring link between animals and people, the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association will honor domestic animals who exemplify the strength and value of the human-animal bond. It is a great opportunity to promote public awareness of the contributions domestic animals give and showcase your extraordinary patient and client! Don't miss this chance to honor a special animal.
Nominations are now being accepted, deadline to submit is December 1, 2018.
To complete online nomination form, click here.
To download and mail the PDF nomination form, click here.

2017 Animal Hall of Fame Recipients

 2017 Companion Animal of the Year

(Animals who have provided a benefit to their human companions or their community)

 Olive (dog), Don Galvin and Debra Whitney (owner) Dr. Amos Deinard (Veterinarian)

Olive's story begins as a young puppy that was brought into a loving family as a companion animal for a disabled child.  She had an uneventful early life but her true colors, and those of the people who love her, were drastically challenged when her family went on a vacation where dogs were not allowed.  Olive's story takes a challenging and sad turn when on the 3rd evening of the family's vacation they received a call from the dog sitter that something had happened to Olive--she had been injured in what was reported to them at the time as some type of altercation or mishap with another dog.  She would need emergency veterinary care as there was a problem with her eye.  The story got murkier when the pet sitter admitted that she was not actually watching the dog herself but had essentially "out-sourced" the pet-sitting to someone else--Olive had been transferred to another house with a different sitter.  After contacting the emergency veterinarian, Olive's family was told a more honest and sad truth about her condition.  Not only did the veterinarians not believe that she had been attacked by a dog (as there were no bite marks or other signs of trauma that are often associated with a dog fight) but both her eyes had been proptosed and it was unclear if she would retain her vision after they were repaired. To make the story even sadder, the emergency veterinarians were unable to even get a history from whomever brought her to the EC, as they basically dropped her off and left. 

After 9 long days of intense home care, the family had a consult with the U of M Ophthalmology Department and it was determined that she had lost all her vision.  The decision was made to perform a bilateral enucleation to minimize her pain and suffering.  Four days after her 3rd birthday Olive officially became a blind dog. Olive's family was naturally worried about her quality of life as a blind dog, but her temperament, her zest for life and her strong will (that some might call stubbornness) overcame her newly found handicap. Although Olive's story is truly tragic, she has compensated and is doing well despite her medical challenges and remains that spunky playful companion animal. Olive's case is a testament to the human-animal bond that she shared with her family, with assistance from the veterinarians who helped her through her medical challenges.  As her family so eloquently states: If you ask her, Olive's not blind, she’s clever. 

2017 Professional Animal of the Year

(Animals especially trained to assist humans)

Breaker (dog), Matt Heinzman (owner), Dr. Vicki Schulz (veterinarian)


Breaker is an 8 year old Springer Spaniel that has been a narcotics K9 since November 2010. He has detected and assisted in seizing well over 1000 pounds of narcotics during his career. Breaker is also trained to indicate on currency that has the odor of narcotics and has detected and assisted in seizing well over one million dollars in his career.  Breaker is relied upon by narcotics investigators at the Bloomington Police Department and throughout the Twin Cities metro area for narcotics detection abilities and often his work is the key factor in an investigator being able to obtain a search warrant for an apartment, storage locker or a vehicle. He is trained to alert to the odor of various narcotics to include marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, opium, and heroin. K9 Breaker conducted numerous K9 searches that lead to significant felony charges for the following agencies; Violent Offender Task Force, DEA, Northwest Hennepin Drug Task Force, Southwest Hennepin Drug Task Force, FBI Safe Streets, Minneapolis PD, Saint Paul PD, Dakota County Drug Task Force, and the Anoka/Hennepin Drug Task Force. Breaker’s work with the Bloomington Police Department has made him a highly respected narcotics canine throughout the metro area. He also has a lighter side. This canine has a cat in the house named “Batman” that he plays with. He’s allowed to snuggle into any family members bed of his choice too. On his time off he does demonstrations for various groups (Police Explorers, students, and pretty much anyone who will let him)

2017 Hero Animal of the Year

(Animals who have saved or preserved human life) 

Doc (dog), Officer Joe and Ashley Gobely (owners), Drs. Teri and Tom Skadron (veterinarians)

What makes Doc so special and deserving of this award, is his disposition. Many people believe police canines to be purposely raised to be vicious and intimidating. Doc is not that way. While he would do his police job well and kept his handler and other officers safe, Doc was just glad to be around others. Doc’s friendly disposition helped our department better connect with the community and establish enduring relationships with our residents. He acted like a family pet when around others, including smaller children who would pull at his ears and hair. While on patrol, everyone knew Doc and frequently asked his handler how he was doing. To demonstrate the community’s support of Doc, after he incurred his injury he was going to be sent back to the canine supplier in exchange for another police canine. When the community heard about this they just would not accept it, Doc had to stay here. Within three days almost $9,000 dollars were raised so Doc could stay with is handler and remain a community member. Despite not being an active member of our department, Doc makes frequent community appearances. Hugs and tail tugs are the norm, with Doc ignoring the attention. We often think of a companion dog as belonging to an individual, Doc was truly a companion to the community. When you meet Doc Stanley, you cannot help but admire his intensity, his intelligence and his beauty. Officer Gobely and our entire community have been touched by “Doc’s” presence. He represents the benefits of a companion animal. There are not many things in today's world that can unite a community like “Doc” does. The entire community has come together because of the relationship this animal has had on them. They recognize the human animal bond, they recognize the benefit an animal like ” Doc” has on the community, and they came together to support the beauty of the human animal bond. “Doc” has brought our entire community together, enriched his families life and touched anyone who has met him.

2016 Animal Hall of Fame Awards

2015 Animal Hall of Fame Awards

  2014 Animal Hall of Fame Awards