Heroic Pets & People Honored
Portland, OR: The Oregon Humane Society honored four heroes on February 23 with Diamond Collar Hero Awards recognizing pets and people for remarkable achievements. The honorees ranged from an abandoned cat who made a miraculous medical recovery to a police officer who helps animals both off and on the job.
"The OHS Diamond Collar Awards are a chance to celebrate the heroic stories that exemplify how important pets are in our lives," said Sharon Harmon, OHS Executive Director. Harmon and Matt Zaffino of KGW Ch. 8 co-hosted the awards ceremony.
"These winners showed compassion, courage and a desire to help their community," said Harmon. More than 400 people attended the ceremony at the Governor Hotel in Portland, which also raised more than $100,000 for pets in need.
Diamond Collar Hero Awards Winners:
King Tut: This long-haired Chihuahua was raised as a breeding dog, never seeing the inside of a house. King Tut found new family through the Oregon Humane Society and quickly proved himself a life-long friend to his new owners, Jeanne and Elmer Wyatt of Cornelius. When Elmer suffered a heart attack last fall in the kitchen of their home, it was the frantic barking of King Tut that awakened the sleeping Jeannie.
She called 911 and began administering CPR, even though she could find no pulse. After many attempts, paramedics were able to restart Elmer's stopped heart in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Doctors treating Elmer said the only reason he is alive and healthy today is because King Tut awakened Jeannie in time.
Ulli Neitch: An officer for the Milwaukie Police Dept., Ulli Neitch is not only the "go to" animal person for local law enforcement agencies, she is also a hard-working animal advocate off the job. As a member of the Oregon Humane Society's Technical Animal Rescue Team (OHSTAR), Neitch has rappelled off bridges, searched cliffs, and braved a house filled with poisonous carbon monoxide gas to rescue animals in distress. Neitch is also the training leader for OHSTAR. She has helped the team prepare for almost any eventuality, including waterborne and underground rescues.
Nicole Jergovic: As an assistant district attorney for Multnomah Country, Jergovic has earned a reputation for effectively prosecuting animal offenders. Even with a huge case load, she successfully pursues difficult animal cases, providing a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. In addition to her work as an attorney, Jergovic has also opened her home to shelter animals.
She and her husband adopted two dogs who had never seen the inside of a house before and were previously owned by individuals convicted of animal neglect. Jergovic is also the most successful team captain in the history of the annual OHS Doggie Dash event. For the last four years, her team, Paws for Justice, has been the top fundraising team the annual charity walk through downtown Portland.
Milagro: This red tabby cat was abandoned and left for dead inside a rented storage locker in Oregon City. An OHS Officer rescued the cat, but only after he had been without food or water for as long as four weeks. At the OHS animal hospital, doctors were not optimistic he would survive.
But the cat's remarkable medical recovery earned him the name "Milagro" from the medical staff. After a few weeks of care he was placed in a foster home, and was soon walking under his own power - a feat that amazed veterinarians. Once abandoned and left for dead, Milagro showed a hero's strength for surviving while demonstrating unconditional love to those who helped him.