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3 Inspiring Stories from the Annual ASPCA Humane Awards

3 Inspiring Stories from the Annual ASPCA Humane Awards

Several outstanding people and animals — including a cat that helped a soldier in Afghanistan and a 6-year-old victim of the Newtown shootings — will be honored this week at the ASPCA’s Humane Awards.

The ASPCA received hundreds of nominations for the annual awards and selected winners in six categories.

The ceremony on Nov. 21 in New York will recognize both the animals that have made a difference in our lives and the people who are working to improve the lives of animals.

“This year’s Humane Awards winners not only exemplify our mission of preventing cruelty to animals, but bring greater awareness to the unique and meaningful bond between humans and their pets,” ASPCA President and CEO Matthew Bershadker said in a news release.

Take a look at some of this year’s winners.

Koshka, Cat of the Year

Staff Sgt. Jesse Knott met Koshka on a military base while serving in Afghanistan. Concerned for the stray cat’s safety, Knott moved Koshka into his office, where the two bonded.

Then, on Dec. 8, 2011, a suicide bomber targeted a military convoy near Knott’s base and killed two of his friends. Knott said he was struck by depression and was crying in his office when Koshka came to comfort him.

“With tears in my eyes he locked eyes with me, reached out with his paw and pressed it to my lips, then climbed down into my lap curled up and shared the moment with me,” he said.

That was when Knott decided that Koshka couldn’t stay in Afghanistan, and he worked hard to move his feline friend to the U.S. The transport involved a courageous interpreter and nearly $3,000 worth of plane tickets, but Koshka is now stateside and in a loving home.

Catherine V. Hubbard, Kid of the Year

Six-year-old Catherine loved animals so much that she was often heard whispering, “Tell your friends I am kind,” to animals and insects in hopes they’d visit her again.

On Dec. 14, 2012, Catherine was among the 20 children killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Her parents honored their daughter’s compassion for animals by asking that donations be made to The Animal Center in Newtown. The shelter plans to use the funds to build the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary.


Xena, Dog of the Year

On Sept. 15, 2012, a malnourished pit bull puppy arrived at the DeKalb Animal Shelter in DeKalb County, Georgia.

Chrissy Kaczynski, a founder of Friends of DeKalb Animals, said she’d never seen such a severe case of neglect, and she took the puppy home to make her last hours as comfortable as possible.

To her surprise, the puppy rebounded, and she named the dog Xena the Warrior Puppy. Kaczynski started a Facebook page to chronicle the dog’s story and help raise funds for her treatment, and Xena’s story soon went viral.

Months later, now happy and healthy, Xena met 8-year-old Jonny Hickey, a solitary boy with autism, and the two formed a close bond.

Xena found a permanent home with the Hickey family, and she’s helped bring Jonny out of his shell and improve his verbal abilities. Together, Jonny and Xena are working to spread a message of compassion for both animals and people with autism.

Image Credit: ASPCA

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by Laura Moss, from Mother Nature Network

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11:02AM PDT on Aug 18, 2014

thanks for sharing :)

12:15PM PST on Nov 24, 2013

What special beautiful furry sweeties! Nothing more wonderful than being loved by a 4 legged cutie and adoring them in return!

11:51AM PST on Nov 24, 2013

thanks for sharing their little Catherine...I too tell my cat to tell his friends I'm nice..LOL

5:37PM PST on Nov 22, 2013

Thank you for sharing

2:51PM PST on Nov 21, 2013


7:55AM PST on Nov 21, 2013

Simply amazing and inspiring stories thank you so much for sharing!

12:43AM PST on Nov 21, 2013

Thanks for sharing

6:02PM PST on Nov 20, 2013

These are very real touching stories. All wonderful. Animals are incredible and i wish this entire world would get it.

Thank You so much for sharing and posting!!! This was wonderful to read and they exist. These stories happened. TY!!!

5:24PM PST on Nov 20, 2013

very heart warming, thanks for sharing

4:26PM PST on Nov 20, 2013

I will donate for Catherine

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