2019 Animal Hall of Fame Awards

2019 Animal Hall of Fame Recipients


 2019 Companion Animal of the Year

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

 Freddie (cat), Dr. Brad Poff and Linda Miller-Poff (owners) 
President Dr. David Fell (presenter)
Dr. Jerri Smith (veterinarian) 

Fred is a diabetic cat who has provided companionship despite numerous obstacles to many different owners. Fred’s previous owner passed away and she was rescued by the animal control authorities. Fred has led an amazing life on the brink of euthanasia, but he never stopped searching for companionship. Now Fred lives with a couple who gave her the veterinary care that she needed. Fred can now continue to be an amazing companion because of his resilience and determination to live. His survival story is an inspiration to all and has gained him many human and pet friends over the years.   

2019 Professional Animal of the Year

Animals especially trained to assist humans

Morrie (dog), Lisa and Jim Peterson (owners)
President Dr. David Fell (presenter) 
Dr. Kelly Griffin (veterinarian)


Morrie is a Labrador Retriever and a Seizure Assist Dog with special abilities who helps save the life of his handler, Lisa Peterson. Lisa was diagnosed with a seizure disorder (PNES) more than ten years ago. Around two years ago, she lost the ability to detect when she would have a seizure. Now they happen without warning—sometimes in precarious places like in the shower or on the stairs. If she were to suffer a seizure in a dangerous place, she could get injured or worse. Morrie went to work with Lisa in June of 2016 and her life quickly changed for the better. “Morrie is such a blessing. He gave me my life back,” says Lisa. Morrie always has Lisa’s back. He’s by her side each and every day keeping her safe. He helps Lisa during a seizure by laying across her body to suppress her movements, and he helps her get reoriented after a seizure by licking her face and hands. But even more importantly, he alerts Lisa when she’s going to have a seizure. Morrie’s ability to pre-alert to a seizure is both tremendously helpful and impressive. He learned on his own how to detect when Lisa was going to have a seizure and began alerting her by touching her with his paw. Now he lets Lisa know whenever and wherever they are if a seizure is coming on, this allows her time to get to a safe location and lie down. Lisa doesn’t need to worry about her safety anymore and neither does her family. They all know that Morrie will be by Lisa’s side, warning her of a seizure, staying with her during the episode, and then helping to reorient her once it’s over. Lisa and her family have been able to experience life like they once did—before she was diagnosed with PNES. Lisa has regained independence that once kept her shut in from the world for fear of injuring herself. Her Can Do Canines client services coordinator, Sarah Schaff, says, “Most importantly, she’s been able to be a mom to her kids again.” All of this, thanks to Morrie.

2019 Hero Animal of the Year

Animals who have saved or preserved human life

Sadie (dog), Jack Miller (owner),
President Dr. David Fell (presenter)
Dr. Kathleen Brown (veterinarian)

Sadie is a Corgi and Border Collie mix. In the spring, Sadie’s owner and a neighbor were trying to load a 500-pound bull calf into a trailer. The calf knocked down both men and ran over the owner. Sadie went into the pen and heeled the bull into the trailer and held it there by staying at the rear of the trailer and biting at it. The owner feels fortunate to have walked away from the incident with only a couple of broken ribs and a displaced kneecap. He feels that Sadie saved his life, and is even more amazed because Sadie had no formal training in herding. Sadie saved the lives of her owner and neighbor with her heroic actions and quick instincts during a dangerous situation. 

2017 Animal Hall of Fame Awards

2020 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, the deadline to submit is December 1, 2020.
To complete the online nomination form, click here.
To download and mail the PDF nomination form, click here.