OHS Diamond Collar Awards: Heroic Pets & People

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From an Akita who licks away tears to a philanthropist who has made Portland a better place, OHS honors pets and people for heroic acts.

Diamond Collar winner Zipporah with her handler
Diamond Collar hero Zipporah with handler Julie Burk

The Oregon Humane Society honored four heroes on February 25 for acts of compassion and selflessness that have made our community a better place for pets and people.

The 2016 Diamond Collar Awards honored a dog who comforts disaster victims, a cat who helps people by signaling the onset of diabetic crises, the leader of a groundbreaking organization that aids dogs, and Portland philanthropist Howard Hedinger, whose gifts and guidance have helped numerous organizations.

Compassion, Courage and a Desire to Help the Community

“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, who hosted the awards with KGW chief meteorologist Matt Zaffino. “These winners showed compassion, courage and a desire to help their community.”

Generous support from presenting sponsors Wentworth Subaru and Subaru of America helped make the awards possible. The event was attended by more than 250 people at the Multnomah Athletic Club and raised approximately $140,000 for pets in need. The event was also supported by a $25,000 matching grant from the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund.

The Winners of the 2016 Diamond Collar Awards

Zipporah: A certified crisis intervention dog, Zipporah aids people stricken by catastrophes. When the town of Oso, Washington, was struck by a massive landslide, Zipporah was assigned to help students at the public school. She later went to Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, to help first responders who had witnessed the tragic mass shooting. In both cases, Zipporah’s healing presence and unconditional love was welcomed by children and adults. In some instances, victims of the disasters would take Zipporah with them for support when they talked with counselors. Video »

Kelly Peterson: Peterson is the driving force behind Fences for Fido, and organization that builds fences at no cost for dog owners who cannot afford them. Owners are then able to unchain their dogs, sometimes for the first time in years. When a dog’s world is no longer limited by the length of short chain, the bonds between pets and people can flourish, and a dog’s personality can undergo a major transformation. Fences for Fido has unchained 1,300 dogs since 2009. Video »

Raider: This certified therapy cat is a rarity in a field dominated by canines. He is trained to alert people to when their blood sugar reaches dangerous levels. The advance warning gives diabetics time to act before the situation becomes dangerous. At Linn Benton Community College, Raider volunteers as a teaching cat for students in the Veterinary Assistant program. Along with owner Karen Talbott, he helps students learn how to approach and interact with feline patients. Video »

Howard Hedinger: This Portland philanthropist received the OHS Lifetime Achievement Award. Hedinger has been a leader in business and philanthropy for nearly fifty ears. The welfare of both animals and children are causes near and dear to his heart, and his support for many nonprofit organizations has made a huge difference in numerous lives. His commitment extends beyond financial contributions—he genuinely wants organizations to succeed and does all he can to help them. Video »

Gallery of Heroes

Photos by Andrea Lorimor



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