Petco Love Honors National Unsung Hero with $25,000 Grant to Help Save Animal Lives in South Carolina

Highlighted by Victoria Stilwell in video series, local hero earns National Unsung Hero Grant award to support her lifesaving work

Petco Love Honors National Unsung Hero with $25,000 Grant to Help Save Animal Lives in South Carolina

San Antonio, Texas (May 20, 2022) — Petco Love and Victoria Stilwell Positively proudly recognize Samira Yaghi of Fairfield County Animal Control & Adoption Center in Winnsboro, South Carolina as this year’s National Unsung Hero. Sam will receive a $25,000 grant award to support her work helping pets in need.

Sam is the personification of a hero. Her second job — to and from which she drives 90 minutes each way, every day after her first job — is as a tireless volunteer for an underfunded shelter. From coordinating transport and fundraising to promoting adoptions across all social channels, those who work with Sam at Fairfield County Animal Control & Adoption Center credit her with singlehandedly reducing the euthanasia rate. She has improved the lives of over 4,000 animals to date and she’s nowhere near finished with her lifesaving work.

Since 2018, Petco Love has honored Unsung Heroes who do extraordinary work, and whose relentless dedication to helping animals has had a significant lifesaving impact. |

“When we heard Sam’s story about her dedication to reducing unnecessary euthanasia, we wanted to help and celebrate her lifesaving efforts,” said Susanne Kogut, president of Petco Love. “Honoring extraordinary people like Sam who go above and beyond to save animal lives despite difficult circumstances, and telling their stories, is our way of saying thank you. Hopefully these stories will inspire others to become heroes for pets, too.”

Sam and her team plan to use the grant award to build a new facility for pets in the Fairfield County Animal Control & Adoption Center.

“Sam’s story is heartening,” said Stilwell. “It is a tremendous honor to capture on film her dedication to saving animal lives. Seeing the incredible work being done by these extraordinary people in their communities firsthand is inspiring and I’m so excited for a wider audience to witness their amazing work via the Unsung Heroes video series.”

Please join Sam and her team as she receives Petco Love’s distinguished award for her unyielding dedication to animals this May 20, 2022 at 10 a.m. at Petco 110 Percival Rd, Columbia, SC 29206.

The Unsung Hero award recognizes five individuals from across the country for their extraordinary, lifesaving efforts on behalf of animals. Each local Unsung Hero received a $10,000 grant award for their animal welfare organization and was featured in an episode. Learn more and watch the entire video series here:

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About Petco Love

Petco Love is a life-changing nonprofit organization that makes communities and pet families closer, stronger, and healthier. Since our founding in 1999 as the Petco Foundation, we’ve empowered animal welfare organizations by investing $330 million in adoption and other lifesaving efforts. We’ve helped find loving homes for more than 6.5 million pets in partnership with Petco and organizations nationwide.

Our love for pets drives us to lead with innovation, creating tools animal lovers need to reunite lost pets, and lead with passion, inspiring and mobilizing communities and our more than 4,000 animal welfare partners to drive lifesaving change alongside us. Join us. Visit or follow on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to be part of the lifesaving work we lead every day.

About Victoria Stilwell

Victoria Stilwell is a world-renowned dog trainer best known as the star of the international hit TV series It’s Me or the Dog. Having filmed over 110 episodes since 2005, Stilwell reaches audiences in over 100 countries with her philosophy of positive training methods. Stilwell is a best-selling author who appears frequently in the media and is widely recognized as a leader in the field of animal behavior. A passionate advocate for positive dog training methods, Stilwell is the Editor-in-Chief of and Positively TV, the founder of the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior, and the CEO of Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training – the world’s premier global network of positive reinforcement dog trainers. The recipient of multiple awards, Stilwell is committed to helping the cause of animal rescue and rehabilitation and is heavily involved with organizations around the world to increase awareness of puppy mills, dogfighting, animal abuse, pet overpopulation, dog bite prevention and other animal-related causes, but she is best known as a champion for force-free positive reinforcement dog training methods.  She is a National Ambassador for the RSPCA and the Soidog Foundation and serves on the Advisory Boards of RedRover, DogTV, Dognition, W-Underdogs and Canine Assistants.

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