American Humane names hero veterinarian, technician and working dogs


Human winners have worked with shelter and special needs animals; canines have apprehended drug suspects and detected military threats.

The 2017 winners of the American Humane Hero Awards were recently announced at an annual gala, according to a release from Zoetis, which sponsors the awards. Patricia Canchola, DVM, of Pueblo, Colorado, was named the Hero Veterinarian, and Jennifer Hudson, CVT, of Decatur, Illinois, was named the Hero Veterinary Technician. This year there were two award categories for working dogs: law enforcement/arson dogs and military dogs, sponsored by Zoetis' K-9 Courage Program. Ice and Adak were announced as winners in those categories.

“Behind all hero dogs are hero veterinarians and veterinary technicians providing vital healthcare services, and Zoetis is again proud to sponsor these special awards recognizing outstanding veterinary professionals,” says Michael McFarland, DVM, Zoetis' companion animal marketing director, in the release. “Dr. Canchola and Jennifer are both dedicated to excellence and providing compassionate care to every animal they see in their clinics, helping cement the human-animal bond.”

Dr. Patricia Canchola.

Dr. Canchola serves as the sole shelter veterinarian for Pueblo Animal Services, where she performs more than 3,500 spay and neuter surgeries each year, according to Zoetis. In the last year she expanded her knowledge by taking veterinary forensics courses to better care for animals that have experienced abuse and neglect, the release states.

In addition to her shelter work, Dr. Canchola runs a pet food bank, Dr. Patti's Amazin' Amos Pet Food Pantry, and provides low-cost veterinary care two Saturdays per month at her St. Martin's Well Pet Clinic, both of which help low-income pet owners provide and care for their pets, according to the release.

Jennifer Hudson

Hudson is a certified veterinary technician who founded a rescue that serves puppies with cleft palates and other disabilities. She has cared for more than 100 special needs animals in the five years since she started the rescue, according to the release. She is also changing the way veterinary professionals view these pets, Zoetis states. In the past, puppies born with a cleft palate were euthanized, but now Hudson cares for those dogs to ensure they have opportunities at life.

More information about this year's American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician is available at

Ice, the Hero Law Enforcement/Arson Dog, supported officers of the U.S. Forest Service and deputies from the Trinity County Sheriff's office on a July 2016 mission to investigate an illegal marijuana garden in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest outside of Olympia Washington, the release says. While apprehending a suspect, Ice was stabbed in the chest, face and muzzle. Though he had serious wounds, he continued apprehending the suspect until the suspect was taken into custody. Because of Ice's bravery, other officers were likely saved from being stabbed or injured, according to the release. He was helicoptered out of the forest and taken directly to surgery. He made a full recovery and returned to duty.

Adak is the Hero Military Dog. He spent his career as a contract working dog for the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Army and Dogs for Defense (D4D). In 2006 Adak was sent to Iraq to support the U.S. Embassy, according to the release. While there Adak aided in the detection of threats in high-profile locations like Baghdad Central Station, the Kabul Serena Hotel and the Ministry of Agriculture. With D4D, he continued his work in detection across the United States. At the age of 13, Adak retired and recently passed away, the release notes.

To learn more about Ice and Adak visit

The Hallmark Channel will air a special broadcast to honor all of the Hero Awards finalists at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT Thursday, October 26.

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