2012 dakin humane awards celebration
To reserve tickets, please click here or call 413-781-4000, extension DOG (364).
What do you get when you take three spunky kids, a couple of animal law enforcement “lifers,” some awesome community volunteers, and two brave canines and bring them together for an evening of celebration?
The Dakin Humane Awards, presented on October 19, 2012, at the Wyckoff Country Club in Holyoke by Five Star Building Corp. with support from Berkshire Bank and Bertera Subaru.
5:30 p.m. Reception
6:30 p.m. Dinner and Program
Dancing to the Floyd Patterson Band immediately following
This year, we honor the following people and animals for their outstanding service:
Animal Hero Award
This year, Dakin is proud to honor two animal heroes, one from Boston and one from Springfield, each an inspiring example of unconditional love between people and their animals.
On May 3, 2012, Lilly, an eight-year-old pit bull, used her strong jaws to save Christine Shirley, who collapsed on the railroad tracks in the path of an oncoming train that could not stop in time. Lilly dragged Ms. Shirley far enough from the track to save her from injury, but Lilly lost a leg as she placed herself between Christine and the train.
On June 1, 2011, as a tornado began to roar into greater Springfield, Adalberto (Joe) Velez, who is blind, followed his trusty guide dog, Seeger, into the bathroom, the most interior space in the house. The Velez home was not badly damaged, but, in a matter of minutes, the surrounding neighborhood was a shambles. The next day, Joe had an important medical appointment that he had to keep. Making judgments he had never been trained to make, Seeger adjusted his route, carefully leading Joe through fallen and shredded limbs, downed live power lines, and piles of rubble to get him safely to the appointment.
When Sarah, Chloe and Zachary Otterbeck of Huntington found two emaciated, matted dogs lying in traffic in front of their house, they had no doubt about what they needed to do. The children reached out to a local kennel and a veterinarian to clean up the dogs and see to their medical care. Then they started a fundraising campaign in their community for animal control, to help these dogs and others who might be caught in a similar situation in the future. The Otterbeck children are continuing their advocacy, and the family has adopted one of the lucky dogs they saved.
The Janet Wilder Dakin Lifetime Achievement Award
Doris Holden is one of the best-known and most respected residents of Amherst, in part because of the service and support she gives throughout her community. Doris has been involved with Dakin since 1982, when Janet Wilder Dakin gathered concerned area residents to establish the Friends of Amherst Stray Animals, which would become the Dakin Humane Society.
For more than 28 years, Doris has filled a variety of roles as a dedicated Dakin volunteer, advocate, and donor, demonstrating how much good can be accomplished when we give of ourselves on behalf of a worthy cause.
The Richard and Nathalie Woodbury Award
In 2009, donor Mary Ann Cofrin embraced Dakin's vision to guarantee placement for all adoptable homeless pets. Her gift provided the funds to launch and operate Dakin's Behavioral Services Department, which offers popular, affordable dog training programs; a free behavior helpline; and adoption center-based programs.
These services are designed to educate people in what constitutes normal behavior for their animal; how to establish a safe environment for animals and people; and how to resolve issues that may complicate establishing a successful relationship between people and their companions. And for animals who remain at Dakin, the program provides enrichment that helps animals become and remain more adoptable despite temporary homelessness.
The Champion Award
Public servants Sergeant Roy Sutton and Officer Christine Allenberg have combined experience of more than 60 years serving the animals and people of western Massachusetts as members of the MSPCA Law Enforcement department. As specially commissioned state police officers, Roy and Christine investigate every one of the hundreds of reported cases of suspected cruelty or neglect in an area covering approximately 1500 square miles.
They have seen it all in their work, from an abusive groomer who slammed a tiny poodle against a wall when he nipped at her during trimming to a family that starved several pit bull puppies in the belief that the dogs had inherited a genetic allergy to all but the most expensive commercial dog foods—which they could not afford—and fed the confined dogs almost entirely on lettuce, beets, and carrots.
Where no laws have been broken, officers have an even more complex task of educating and convincing ignorant or hostile people that they can and must take better care or their animals. Research indicates that animal abusers are five times more likely to commit violence against people; every day, the work of these officers demonstrates the critical relationship between the way we treat animals and our own safety and wellbeing.
The 2012 Dakin Humane Awards Celebration is sure to be one to remember. Reserve your tickets today!
To reserve tickets or make a donation in support of Dakin, please click here or call 413-781-4000, extension DOG (364).