Pet Hero Awards

On Saturday, June 29th, 2013 the Pet Philanthropy Circle held its 2nd Annual Pet Hero Awards Ceremony
& VIP Cocktail Reception from 6-8:30 PM. This benefit was be held at Hobby Hill, the Estate of Robert and Jewel Morris, located at 44 Little Noyac Path, Watermill, NY 11976.


For more information,

visit Pet Philanthropy Circle.


For Sponsorship Opportunities or to sponsor a Pet Hero Award

visit Pet Philanthropy Circle.





Christie Brinkley

Actress & Supermodel - Humanitarian of the Year

It is well known that Christie Brinkley is a super model, an outstanding Mom, a gifted photographer and an expressive writer.  What many do not know is that she is a very strong advocate for animals, our environment, and wildlife.


From the early age of 13, Christie knew she felt strongly about this world we live in.  She started with making the choice to be a vegetarian.  She has a protective passion for all animals, all wildlife, and every aspect of our environment. She feels a responsibility to use her voice and her stage to ensure that the public is aware of many unspeakable practices that continue today behind the scenes. From advocating against horse slaughter, bringing light to toxic environmental conditions, and renouncing the abuse of animals used for cosmetic testing, she is a true humanitarian.  Another cause dear to her heart is marine life.  The ocean has a vast array of endangered marine life and her dedication to ensuring this life thrives is admirable...

Read Christie's Full Tribute and Profile


Lou Wegner

Actor, Founder of Kids Against Animal Cruelty – Junior Ambassador Award

We often hear the words “the youth are our future”.

Lou Wegner is showing us that our future is bright!


Lou is an accomplished teen actor, having been in Nickelodeon’s The Thundermans, Clint Eastwood’s Trouble With the Curve, Modern Family and many well-known films and TV productions.  Though this is truly admirable for a person so young, his greatest achievement is by far his work with abandoned and endangered animals. He has a profound connection with them.  Lou not only sees the animals, he “hears” them and he listens.  His response to their calls is taking him on a journey that enriches not only his life, but the lives of countless others...

Read Lou's Full Tribute and Profile


Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons

Shelter of the Year

The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons is guided by three core values:  Compassion, integrity and dedication.  Founded in 1974, they continue to validate our companion animals through their numerous programs designed to enrich lives and to educate.


We often hear the word “shelter”.  ARF has given new life to the meaning of that word by instituting very positive plans.  They are a no-kill adoption center, adopting out approximately 1,000 animals per year.  They have created an extensive intake facility that not only provides food and a warm cozy bed, but state of the art veterinary care.  Where ARF is concerned, there is never an animal that is not worthy. They will care for animals with special needs, choosing not to euthanize them but extend the opportunity, for as long as necessary, to help them heal.  Eventually, the goal is to find these pets the perfect adoptive home, no matter how long that might take...

Read Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons's Full Tribute and Profile


Main Line Animal Rescue

Outstanding Rescue Organization

Main Line Animal Rescue, located minutes from Valley Forge National Park in scenic Chester County, Pennsylvania, is considered by many to be the finest animal shelter in the United States. With more than four hundred active volunteers, over a thousand companion animals adopted a year, a state-of-the-art veterinary clinic, innovative training and educational programs, and almost sixty acres of fenced pastures and walking trails, MLAR is not only a sight to behold but an experience you will never forget.


Every year, Main Line Animal Rescue assists hundreds of dogs, cats, and rabbits transferred to their facility from overcrowded city shelters. Many of these animals are in need of costly and immediate medical care. They carefully screen and find new homes for animals privately surrendered by families unable to care for them any longer, and rescue and rehabilitate countless dogs from Pennsylvania’s notorious puppy mills...

Read Main Line Animal Rescue's Full Tribute and Profile


The Ceasar Millan Foundation

Outstanding Foundation

The Cesar Millan Foundation has a priority. That priority is to create a lifelong healthy relationship between people and dogs. There are many roads they are taking to clear the path for this ultimate goal to be realized.


Cesar Millan, the founder of the Cesar Millan Foundation , desired to create and deliver community humane education programs and promote animal welfare by supporting the rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of abused and abandoned dogs. This is being achieved daily through the dedication of those who share this same desire......

Read The Ceasar Millan Foundation's Full Tribute
and Profile


An Act of Dog

Animal Welfare Arts

Mark Barone and Marina Dervan are co-founders of the non-profit “An Act of Dog.” Prior to starting their charity, Mark had been an Artist for over 30 years, with his work featured in top art publications, awarded and exhibited throughout America, with much of his work hanging in private and corporation collections all over the World. In addition to this his art career, he has been a consultant to Cities across America, showing them how to use the arts to revitalize blighted neighborhoods, and is revered for his successful creation and implementation of the, “Paducah Artist Relocation Program,” in Paducah, Kentucky.


Marina had spent her prior twenty years coaching Corporate Executives from Wall Street and North America, to the city of London and Continental Europe. She devoted her life to finding compassionate solutions to “people problems” and developed her own system for identifying and navigating through the deluge of Human Emotions and physical ails...

Read An Act of Dog's Full Tribute and Profile



Animal Welfare Education

The ASPCA is a name associated with education, protection, and positive change for animals throughout the United States. When Henry Bergh founded the organization in 1866, his belief was that all animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans, and must be protected under the law.


Today, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services.  In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the ASPCA helped rescue more than 300 pets from

homes in New York and New Jersey that had been evacuated by their owners, dispatched ASPCA mobile wellness clinics to the hardest hit areas, and distributed nearly 40 tons of pet supplies to pet owners impacted by Sandy. Thanks to a generous donation from Rachael Ray, the ASPCA also provided sheltering for nearly 280 animals....

Read ASPCA's Full Tribute and Profile



Outstanding Corporation

Why does an automobile manufacturer support animal

welfare initiatives? Excellent question and easily answered!

Subaru drives their customers’ passions and one of those passions

is pet parenting. 7 out of 10 Subaru owners have an animal in their household. To support their customers, Subaru, along with their

network of over 600 dealers, have conducted hundreds of pet

adoptions at their dealerships. Subaru also sponsors and participates

in many national, large-scale events. These sponsorships have

helped find loving homes for thousands of animals in need through

the brand’s “Subaru Love A Pet” initiative. Their partnerships with several

dedicated and highly regarded animal welfare organizations help share the call to action for animals

in need....

Read Subaru's Full Tribute and Profile


Jane Hoffman

Outstanding Director

Jane Hoffman helped found the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals (the Alliance) in 2002 and has served as president and chair of the board of directors ever since. The Alliance was created to work with the City of New York to apply creative, targeted solutions to NYC’s homeless animal crisis.  Working pursuant to a 10-Year Strategic Plan (2005-2014), and with 150+ rescue groups and shelters that now participate in the Alliance (ranging from the ASCPA, a founding member, to small neighborhood-based rescue groups), the Alliance has succeeded in reducing euthanasia at our shelters.


Hoffman is an attorney, formerly with the Wall Street firm Simpson Thacher and Bartlett, and was in private practice specializing in taxation, executive compensation and estate planning. She was also a senior consultant at Handy Associates, a management consulting firm, working on mergers and acquisitions....

Read Jane's Full Tribute and Profile


Teresa Meekins, DVM

Outstanding Veterinarian

Dr. Teressa Meekins, DVM, is a woman with a mission.  Not only is she concerned with the overpopulation of animals, she is passionate about creating a solution to the problem.


Teri grew up on Long Island, one of five children.  Early on, her parents discovered that she would rescue any abandoned animal and give it safe haven.  Teri started her career in fashion design though found herself being drawn back to the care of animals. She pursued her Associates Degree in Veterinary Technology before ultimately deciding to go on to achieve a Bachelor’s degree in Biology at Long Island University, Southampton Campus. It was during this time that she recognized her desire to do more and ultimately became a licensed Veterinarian with a distinct goal in mind. That goal was to reduce animal overpopulation through enacting successful spay/neuter programs thereby lowering the high euthanasia rates in the U.S...

Read Teresa's Full Tribute and Profile


Jerome and Riki Shaw

Outstanding Philanthropist

For anyone who has ever looked deeply into the eyes of an animal in need of rescue you will understand the profound force that compelled Riki Shaw to become consumed by a mission.

That mission is to better the life of all animals.


Riki and her husband, Jerome, currently live in Coconut Grove, Florida.  Riki’s journey first began in her home state of Michigan 15 years ago when she adopted Emma, a King Charles Cavalier.  It was shortly after that adoption that she came to realize that there are many “Emma’s” out there who are raised in small wire pens, in filthy conditions and sold by unscrupulous pet stores or even on the internet.  She became involved as a board member and volunteer with Lucky Star Cavalier rescue in MI and is presently a board member for Hearts United for Animals in Nebraska and Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Wellington, Florida where Jerome and Riki have committed to building a Quarantine facility and cage free housing.....

Read Jerome and Rik's Full Tribute and Profile



Outstanding Dog

In the breathtaking wine country of Napa Valley California lives a very aristocratic dog who has excellent taste in wine and a concern for pets that may not have the same opportunities he has been afforded.


“Frenchie”, born into wine royalty, shares his life with the owners of Raymond Vineyards. He leads a playful and debonair lifestyle and is assisting his owners with raising awareness about the danger of leaving animals in hot vehicles during the summer months. Every year hundreds of dogs die as temperatures quickly rise in hot cars from 80 to 120 degrees within 15 minutes.  By promoting that dogs are welcome at Frenchie’s Winery (named in his honor) he has the opportunity to educate, giving the public the information they need to prevent this from happening to their canine family members....

Read Frenchie's Full Tribute and Profile


Guardians of Rescue

Outstanding Volunteers

Guardians of Rescue define the words “volunteer rescue group.”  What makes them give up their weekends, their evenings after work and bundle up to head out in the cold to save an animal? What spurs them on to go into areas where they may be in danger or answer a call in the middle of the night for an animal in an emergency situation?  It’s simple. They care.


Guardians of Rescue was created through the efforts of Robert Misseri.  His vision was to work to protect the wellbeing of all animals and come to the aid of those in distress. His team is all about People Helping Animals and Animals Helping People...

Read Guardians of Rescue's Full Tribute and Profile


The Pet Hero Awards

Pet Hero Awards include: Pet Humanitarian, Pet Rescue Organization, Outstanding Shelter, Pet Philanthropist, Outstanding Veterinarian, Outstanding Volunteer, Outstanding Administrator, Outstanding Junior, Amazing Hands On, and Amazing Pet.


The Pet Hero Awards are honors presented by the Pet Philanthropy Circle to recognize these outstanding contributions; we hope to inspire everyone to become involved in defending the rights of animals. Pet Hero Awards promote public awareness of the causes that protect our animals. The Pet Hero Awards celebrate individuals, associations, professionals, pets and business organizations that demonstrate a commitment to improving and protecting animal lives.  The goal is to inspire new rescue organizations and existing ones to improve their standards so that they may vie for recognition and support.  Ceremony profits will be donated to the participating organization winners.


The Pet Philanthropy Circle
The Pet Philanthropy Circle is a pending 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that administers the Pet Hero Awards.  The Advisory Board determines the categories and criteria for the Pet Hero Awards. To learn more about the Philanthropy Circle, please visit


By Our belief is by recognizing role models, others will aspire to excellence, as well.
Our Advisory Board Members are solely responsible nominating potential Pet Hero Award candidates. It is essential that this group be totally committed to our cause
and willing to invest the time and/or financial commitment necessary to keep
our awards program standards of excellence intact.

NBC Today's Jill Rappaport

Pet Humanitarian of the Year

Jill Rappaport was always known for her stellar work on the red carpet, interviewing every A-LIST star and covering all of the entertainment award shows. She was NBC Today Show's "star reporter" in every sense of the word and for 16 years she was the 'go to' gal for "All Things Entertainment!" But in 2007 her life and career changed forever when her beloved dog Jack got bone cancer, had his leg amputated and underwent chemotherapy. While chronicling his recovery on Today, the response was so overwhelming for her beautiful 11 year old German Shepherd that she realized animal issues were her true calling. Sheasked her boss at NBC to change her beat to cover "All Things Animals!" So after 16 years of being the entertainment correspondent, her title was changed to "Animal Advocate". She jokes, "I went from the red carpet to the wee-wee pad and I couldn't be happier!"...

Read Jill's Full Tribute and Profile


Pilots N Paws - Debi Boies

Rescue Organization of the Year

Amazing how a South Carolina retired nurse’s determination to adopt a rescue dog led to the formation of Pilots N Paws, an organization of over 2,600 pilots that volunteer their time, airplanes and fuel expenses to transport tens of thousands of shelter animals from certain death to safety. Amazing, that is, unless you know Debi Boies, Co-Founder.

Debi Boies, a long-time animal rescue advocate, wanted to save a Doberman Pinscher destined for “death row”. She was aware of an existing organization of volunteers that coordinated a caravan of drivers, changing pets from vehicle to vehicle to reach their new homes, but realized the stress this caused to the pets. Discussing this dilemma with her friend, a private pilot Jon Wehrenberg, she thought for a moment. The light bulb went off. Flying! “Pilots look for reasons to fly," he told her, and as a result, Pilots N Paws was born...

Read Debi's Full Tribute and Profile



Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation - Jonathan McCann

Shelter of the Year

The Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation was founded in 2010 as a call to action when the town decided it could no longer care for the animals at the town shelter premises. Not only were the 225 animals currently housed there in jeopardy, so were all others that would be found. It was the selfless financial, emotional and personal determination of their Board of Directors that initiated this remarkable new rescue organization.


The President of the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation, Jonathan McCann, is totally absorbed in the daily activities of the shelter, as are all of their officers and Board members.  When he speaks of the challenges of meeting the needs of animals at the shelter, he frequently mentions the past and present “residents” by name.  Jonathan resides in Sag Harbor on his bayside estate with his horses, dogs, guineas, parrots and numerous other companion pets...

Read Jonathan's Full Tribute and Profile


Sony Schotland, Co-Founder of ARF and Southampton Animal Shelter

Founder's Award of the Year

When Sony Schotland left her homeland in France and arrived in the United States as a teenager, she was already an avid animal lover.  Little did she realize that this affinity would lead her into a lifetime commitment!   Over 50 years ago she started a campaign to prevent our Long Island animals from being euthanized by horrible methods. With the help of two other women and Cleveland Amory, an animal organization was founded in the Hamptons that is now recognized as being one of the finest in the nation, the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons.  Most everyone knows it by the acronym, ARF.  Sony served on ARF’s Board for 37 years before she faced an even greater challenge.


Being recognized as a leader in the pet community, the town of Southampton asked Sony to serve on their advisory committee relating to animal issues where she met Susan Allen, another member of the committee.  The town suddenly announced that due to fiscal difficulties the shelter would be shut down. the scope of the peril for the 225 animals living there at the time was incredulous  The town’s only involvement as requested by law would be to pick up strays , These strays could have been euthanized if they remained unclaimed for more than five days. And yes, that includes lost and missing companion pets with loving families trying to find them...

Read Sony's Full Tribute and Profile


Sharon Levine and Richard Rubin, Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard and Horse Rescue

Political Action Award

Richard Rubin and Sharon Rubin Levine are co-founders of Baiting

Hollow Farm Horse Rescue. In the fall of 2007, they were approached

by a horse rescue organization concerning an old barn and some corrals

that were being under-utilized at the Rubin family farm in Baiting Hollow. Richard and Sharon were presented a picture of a year old Thoroughbred filly, Angel, who was in a kill pen in Pennsylvania. Since that rescue organization's facilities had no remaining space, there was

a tear-filled request begging Sharon and Richard to save this beautiful horse. It didn’t take much persuasion; destiny took its course with this family of dedicated animal lovers.


Angel arrived right away at their doorstep with two other horses in tow! This passion for saving horses has led to the expansion of the Rubin family's existing facilities to accommodate 25 horses...

Read Sharon and Richards's Full Tribute and Profile


Dr. Joseph C. Ramaekers, D.V.M.

Veterinarian of the Year

Dr. Ramaekers’s contributions to animal health make him the perfect choice for “Veterinarian of the Year”.  Well respected and widely renowned, Dr. Ramaekers has traveled extensively worldwide where he has served as an international consultant on animal nutrition. From the onset of the opening of his veterinary practice in Santa Cruz, California, Dr. Ramaekers has had a great interest in the nutritional approach to animal health. He began his research in 1969, performing extensive environmental analyses of soil and water. In addition to traditional diagnostic methods, his thorough approach includes hair analyses, blood chemistries and nutrient analyses. By identifying nutritional deficiencies and toxicities he turns to nature to find cures. He is a firm believer that every ailment can be treated with natural remedies; it is up to humans to find those natural cures.


By focusing on preventative medicine, he discovered many nutrients with powerful medicinal value.  Dr. Ramaekers is passionate about improving animal welfare and preventing diseases before they occur. His 40 years of global research and clinical experience help him successfully develop many remedies that are now being used by other knowledgeable and dedicated veterinarians...

Read Dr. Josephs's Full Tribute and Biography


Zoe Kamitses, ARF of the Hamptons Volunteer

Volunteer of the Year

The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, Inc. (ARF) a 501(c)3 nonprofit adoption nominated Ms. Zoe Kamitses for the “Volunteer of the Year” Pet Hero Award.  Zoe is the Chairperson of Operation Cat, a feral cat TNR program that has been responsible for neutering over 15,000 cats on eastern Long Island since the program began in 1997.  She is a year-round resident of Southampton Village with a long history of community volunteerism.


As a board member of ARF, Zoe was concerned by the large number of angry phone calls the adoption center received about stray and feral cats.  Before Operation Cat, ARF’s only recourse was to call Animal Control.  Animal Control would euthanize the cats.  Zoe went on line and learned about the Feral Cat Coalition in San Diego.  Back in 1997, that was about the only resource that came up on her internet search.  How things have changed...

Read Zoe's Full Tribute and Profile


Dolce and Dr. Cynthia Otto

Amazing Pet Award

ach and every pet owner believes his or her animal deserves the “Amazing Pet Award” and the Board of Directors of the Pet Philanthropy Circle agree; however, only one pet per year can win. The challenge of selecting a single animal for this award required the direction of many pet advocates who helped screen numerous candidates.  They came up with a real winner, Dolce, leaving the challenge of ever finding a future “Amazing Pet” that is accomplished as this one. Dolce is the "spokes-dog" for the University of Pennsylvania, Vet School.   In association with the Vet Pets Visitation Program, Dolce has spent 8 years with had over 150 visits to the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House and numerous other visits to libraries, summer camps, local conferences and events.  In addition to Dolce’s civic responsibilities, he competes in agility and fly-ball and entertains his fans as a Champion Trick Dog. In addition to his 150 bag of tricks, he has many attributes we feel deserve recognition.

Read Dolce's Full Tribute and Profile