Human Animal Bond Research Institute will recognize 2024 innovators


The organization is seeking nominations for the annual Human Animal Bond Innovation Awards to be presented to winners in August

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The nominations period for the 2024 Human Animal Bond Innovation Awards is now open. Announced today at the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida, the awards are a program of the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI). These awards aim to recognize individuals, companies and organizations that are working to advance the human-animal bond beyond pet care and create a more pet-friendly society.1

“These awards help highlight and share innovations that benefit people and pets everywhere, and we look forward to celebrating those that are doing wonderful work to advance the human-animal bond,” Aimee Gilbreath, president of PetSmart Charities, the presenting sponsor for the awards, said in a news release.1

Visit to submit a nomination by May 20, 2024, the program’s deadline. Nominations can be submitted in 4 award categories as follows1:

  • Pet-Inclusive Culture: Recognizes companies, organizations, or institutions creating a pet inclusive culture within communities, groups and/or workplaces.
  • Public Service: Recognizes organizations with impactful programs to protect and strengthen the human-animal bond in their communities.
  • Pet-Inclusive Infrastructure: Recognizes companies, organizations, or institutions purposefully developing technology, transportation, architecture, policies or environments to safeguard and strengthen the human-animal bond.
  • Media: Recognizes an individual, media outlet or creative content that positively educates people about and illuminates key aspects of the human-animal bond.

Winners named in 2023 included The Street Dog Coalition (Public Service category), The Dr. Vernard Hodges It Takes a Village Foundation (Media category), and BestyBnB (Pet Inclusive Infrastructure category). Other 2023 award recipients were Amazon (Product & Service category) and Tito’s Handmade Vodka (Pet-Inclusive Culture category).2

The Street Dog Coalition was founded in 2015 by Jon Geller, DVM, DABVP. The organization continues to provide free veterinary care to pets of individuals experiencing homelessness in multiple US cities using street medicine and pop-up clinics with a One Health approach.3

The Dr. Vernard Hodges It Takes a Village Foundation operates the CF Vet for a Day program that introduces pre-college students to veterinary medicine careers through hands-on workshops.2 The CF Vet for a Day program was created by Vernard L. Hodges, DVM, and Terrence Ferguson, DVM, owners of the Critter Fixers Veterinary Hospitals in Georgia, and stars of the Nat Geo Wild television show Critter Fixers.4

BestyBnB is a Missouri-based company that secures safe, temporary housing for individuals, families and pets in need. The organization assists clients of various social service agencies, including those for domestic violence survivors, mental health, and animal welfare.2,5

“HABRI is inspired by so many dedicated individuals, companies and organizations that are honoring the human-animal bond,” Steven Feldman, president of HABRI, said in the release.1 “We are specifically looking for nominations from outside of the pet space. Innovations that connect pets and people can come from all corners of society.”

The 2024 award winners will be selected at the discretion of an expert committee of pet care leaders, according to HABRI. Winners will be announced at the SuperZoo convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, in August 2024.1


  1. Nominations open for Human Animal Bond Innovation Awards. News release. Human Animal Bond Research Institute. March 20, 2024.
  2. Human Animal Bond Innovation Awards 2023. Human Animal Bond Research Institute. Accessed March 20, 2024.
  3. The Street Dog Coalition homepage. The Street Dog Coalition. Accessed March 20, 2024.
  4. Critter Fixers bring Vet for a Day to Fetch Kansas City. dvm360. August 28, 2023. Accessed March 20, 2024.
  5. McCafferty C. 2024 Pet Care Innovation prize finalists announced. January 9, 2024. Accessed March 20, 2024.
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