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Heroic Pets & People Honored
By OHS Diamond Collar Awards


Feb. 28, 2013: The Oregon Humane Society honored five heroes on February 27 with Diamond Collar Hero Awards recognizing both pets and people for remarkable achievements. The honorees ranged from a U.S. Army soldier who rescued a cat in Afghanistan to a dog born deaf and blind who is now an ambassador for special needs pets.


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"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 Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland. The ceremony also raised more than $160,000 for pets in need.






The winners of yesterday's Diamond Collar Awards were:


Sgt. Knott and Koshka  
Staff Sgt. Jesse Knott with Koshka (All photos by Andrea Lorimor)  

London with Franny Gehring (at left; his mom) and Amanda Giese (Panda Paws Rescue)

Max Foster  
Max Foster  

Asha with Trevor and Tracy Bryant


Britta Bavaresco  
Britta Bavaresco, Director of ASAP  

Koshka and Staff Sergeant Jesse Knott:

While serving with the U.S. Army at a camp deep inside Afghanistan, Sergeant Knott found a young cat, Koshka, being abused by tormentors. Knott took Koshka under his wing and protected the cat, and the two formed a close bond.


When Sergeant Knott was scheduled to leave Afghanistan, he reached out to family and friends in the States to help bring his companion to a safe home. Through determined efforts and the aid of an Afghani interpreter, Koshka was able to make the journey home to Knott’s family in Oregon City.


Watch the video »


London: As a puppy, London was severely abused by owners and lost the use of his front legs. His previous owners were changed with animal abuse and are now awaiting trial in California. After making his way through a California shelter to the Panda Paws rescue group in Vancouver, Wash., London required surgery to amputate his disabled front legs.


London’s recovery was rapid and he adapted quickly to a special wheelchair. He now enjoys chasing balls, meeting people and playing with other dogs. London’s determination, unfaltering spirit and sense of joy have inspired thousands of people. Watch the video »



Max Foster: This teenager proved her heroism through quick, levelheaded thinking the night of a house fire. Max was relaxing at home one evening with her family’s four cats and guinea pig when she smelled smoke. She discovered flames coming from the ceiling of a bedroom, but she did not panic. She first called 911 to report the fire, and then set out to rescue the family pets.


Max found the first cat, Iggy, and took him next door to her grandmother’s house, where she recruited her sister to help save the remaining pets. Despite one cat hiding under a bed, the girls were able to save all of the pets. Her courage under pressure and dedication to saving the lives of animals show Max to be a true hero. Watch the video »



Asha: This beautiful, friendly Australian shepherd doesn’t show it, but she works to overcome disabilities every single day. Asha was born deaf and blind. She was adopted from OHS as a puppy by Tracy and Trevor Bryant of Vancouver, Wash. Tracy slept next to Asha through many nights when the young dog awoke in a panic, spinning and barking.


The Bryants did not give up, and with the help of a trainer and acupuncture, they helped Asha overcome her anxiety. With her calm, confident manner, Asha is now an ambassador for special needs pets. She has inspired Tracy and Trevor to become foster parents for additional pets in need. Asha has taught Tracy, Trevor, and many others about patience, compassion and courage in the face of adversity. Watch the video »



Britta Bavaresco: Animals in need have a true advocate in Britta, who has been helping pets and people since 1997. In 2002, Britta became the director of the Cat Adoption Team and helped this organization become the largest feline-only no-kill shelter on the west coast. More recently, Britta helped found the Animal Shelter Alliance of Portland (ASAP), a coalition of shelters in the Portland metro area. ASAP member shelters now share resources and work together on efforts such as Spay & Save, a program to reduce cat overpopulation. Britta is the current director of ASAP, and insists upon doing this job as a volunteer. With her tireless determination to make her community a better place for pets, Britta is an inspiration and a hero. Watch the video »



Our thanks to Diamond Collar Award sponsors Subaru and Wentworth SubaruCity for helping make this event possible.



Be a Hero Today


Make a difference in the lives of animals. Be a hero today by making an online donation that honors the spirit of our Diamond Collar Awards.