American Humane, Zoetis recognize heroes of the veterinary profession


Arizona DVM, Texas veterinary technician will be recognized on Hallmark Channel Oct. 30.

Behind every great dog is a great veterinarian. That's the basis of a new award that expands the American Humane Association's (AHA's) long-standing Hero Dogs award program.

Eva DeCozio, DVM, of VCA Apache Junction clinic in Higley, Arizona, and veterinary technician Signe Corbin of Westlake Animal Hospital in Austin, Texas, are the first recipients of the Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Technician awards, which were sponsored by Zoetis. They were selected from a pool of nearly 700 nominations that were reviewed by a panel of renowned veterinary and animal care professionals and celebrities. The public then chose the ultimate winners from a group of finalists.

The award recipients will also be recognized during a broadcast on the Hallmark Channel on Thursday, Oct. 30, at 8 p.m. ET.

Eva DeCozio, DVM, of VCA Apache Junction clinic in Higley, Arizona, is recognized by Michael McFarland, DVM, of Zoetis as AHA's Hero Veterinarian.DeCozio works at a clinic neighboring a low-income Arizona neighborhood, and many of her clients arrive with seriously ill pets but have little money to pay for their care. DeCozio takes on these patients, regardless of the owners' ability to pay, and also serves as co-founder of Panacea Animal Wellness Sanctuary (PAWS), a nonprofit animal welfare organization aimed at decreasing unnecessary euthanasia that is credited with saving more than 800 lives.

“I am overwhelmed and humbled by this huge honor,” says DeCozio. “This award is a credit to my family, my community, my clients, my patients, and of course, my technicians. I want to dedicate this award to everyone involved in our rescue group who helped make this dream of creating a nonprofit a reality.”

Signe Corbin has cared for patients at Westlake Animal Hospital for 24 years and also co-founded Pug Rescue of Austin (PRA) in 2009. She serves as PRA's medical director and hosts an annual “Pug Tune-Up” fundraising event during which she and fellow veterinary technicians provide nail trims and ear cleanings to generate thousands of dollars in donations. Because of Signe's dedication, to date, more than 600 rescued pugs have received necessary medical care.

“This is the highlight of a 30-year career taking care of animals; this is such a great recognition by American Humane Association,” Corbin says.

“We believe that the compassion, dedication and expertise provided by veterinarians and veterinary technicians are critical to maintaining health and quality of life for our beloved pets,” says J. Michael McFarland, DVM, DABVP, Zoetis group director of companion animal veterinary operations. “Honoring veterinarians and veterinary technicians aligns with our Commitment to Veterinarians platform that exemplifies the company's responsibility to support the long-term health and sustainability of the profession.”

More information about the awards and recipients can be found at

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