Zoetis announces 2020 American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards

October 27, 2020
dvm360 Staff
dvm360, dvm360 November 2020, Volume 51, Issue 11

The awards honor those who are making a difference for animals through their work.

Zoetis Petcare has announced the winners of the 2020 American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Veterinary Nurse Awards. This year’s recipient are Katherine Polak, DVM, of Boston, Massachusetts, and Julie Nettifee of Raleigh, North Carolina.

The awards, now in their 7th year, honor veterinary professionals who dedicate their lives to help make a difference in the lives of animals through outstanding care. The winners were announced on the Hallmark Channel.

“We are honored to recognize 2 outstanding veterinary professionals who go above and beyond to provide essential veterinary care to animals in need across the country and internationally,” says Tara Bidgood, DVM, PhD, DACVCP, executive director of veterinary professional services at Zoetis Petcare, in the announcement.

Polak specializes in shelter medicine and has dedicated her life to animal welfare around the world, including managing multiple stray animal care programs in Southeast Asia. Cats Matter Too in Vietnam provides veterinary care for thousands of cats and educates local children. As medical director of Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand, she helped train local veterinarians and founded a program in Bangkok that neuters more than 80,000 dogs a year. Polak also teaches in the Maddie’s Online Shelter Medicine program at the University of Florida, and conceived and co-edited Field Manual for Small Animal Medicine, a textbook for veterinarians working in areas with limited resources.

Nettifee has a long history of animal shelter, rescue, and wildlife work. While volunteering on the East Coast after a hurricane, she befriended an elderly couple whose house had been destroyed. When Nettiffee learned that they had lost 1 of their 2 dogs in the move to temporary housing, she drove the couple an hour back to where they had last seen their dog and helped them look. After searching for hours, Nettifee found the dog and reunited the family. In addition to her Good Samaritanship, she fosters stray pets and helps them find forever homes.

To learn more about the awards, visit americanhumane.org.

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