Petco Love Hosts Evening of Honoring Heroes in Animal Welfare at Lifesaving Awards Event

Industry gathered to celebrate Foundation's 20-year commitment to saving lives

Petco Love Hosts Evening of Honoring Heroes in Animal Welfare at Lifesaving Awards Event

SAN DIEGO, November 20, 2019 – Nearly 500 pet lovers came together on Thursday evening, November 14 to help Petco Love celebrate 20 years of saving lives and to honor extraordinary animal welfare heroes at the foundation’s annual Lifesaving Awards at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego.

Hosted by Emmy Award-winning journalist Nancy O’Dell, the awards recognized seven organizations and individuals from across the country for their dedication, determination and daily actions to create lifesaving impact for pets in need.

As part of the awards program, guests enjoyed music by artists including Bebe Winans, who performed “Laughter Just Like a Medicine” to a touching montage of adopted pets and their new families, Shoshana Bean, who performed “Chandelier/Defying Gravity,” and Five for Fighting/John Ondrasik, who performed “Superman,” a tribute to honoree Bill Abbott, CEO/President of Crown Media.

A special surprise performance by ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons playing “Walking the Dog” concluded the program. A dinner and reception followed the awards show.

To start off the evening, guests were treated to a cuddle with adoptable pets from the San Diego Humane Society.

“The 2019 Petco Love’s Lifesaving Awards was an extraordinary celebration of the love that saves animal lives and a testament to our belief that we are all stronger working together to create a lifesaving nation,” said Susanne Kogut, president of Petco Love. “We celebrated our 20-year history as catalyst for lifesaving change and honored the exemplary work of seven organizations and individuals whose dedication and commitment to solutions and achieving success creates a significant lifesaving impact.”

The 2019 Lifesaving Award Winners:

The Love in Action Award presented by Blue Buffalo to Dog Is My CoPilot
Dog Is My CoPilot partners with nearly 100 animal welfare organizations to save lives by transporting pets from shelters in need to locations where adopters are eagerly awaiting their new family members. Since 2012, Dog Is My CoPilot has flown more than 13,000 animals to safety.

Paul Jolly Compassion Award presented by Royal Canin to Angels of Assisi
Angels of Assisi seeks to change the traditional definition of an animal shelter by offering services to benefit the community and the pets they love. Angels of Assisi is also a veterinary resource to nearby and rural shelters in southwest Virginia and West Virginia.

Helping Heroes Award presented by Merrick to K9s For Warriors
K9s For Warriors is the nation’s largest provider of service dogs to military veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, and/or Military Sexual Trauma. The service dog program offers an innovative approach, transforming shelter dogs into service dogs, to help with recovery, changing two lives with each pairing.

Lifesaving Impact Award presented by Smuckers to Montgomery County Animal Services
Montgomery County Animal Services saves 93% of the 15,000 animals they care for each year. With limited staff and one of the smallest cost per animal budgets, this organization not only overcomes challenges, but helps other organizations in their lifesaving efforts.

Unsung Hero Award presented by BOBS for Dogs from Skechers and Victoria Stilwell from Positively to Kayla Denney from the City of Taft Animal Control Department
Kayla Denney traded in her office job for the kennels and got to work! She led the City of Taft Animal Control Department, where almost all animals were euthanized, to a lifesaving journey. Within months, she transformed the department and now pets have the chance to be adopted, rescued and loved!

Innovation Award presented by Hills to Dallas Animal Services
Dallas Animal Services won a $200,000 grant investment at the third annual Innovation Showdown for their Dallas90 Shelter Service System, which aims to provide excellent customer service for potential adopters. This system will help make more adoptions possible in a quick, efficient and cost-effective manner.

Love Amplified Award presented by Petco to Bill Abbott and Crown Media
Bill Abbott’s love and commitment brings the message of pet adoption to viewers across the country, as his dedication to the cause comes to life through many movies and programs on the Hallmark Channel. Examples include the “American Rescue Dog Show” and “Kitten Bowl,” as well as ongoing education outreach on “Home and Family.”

To learn more about Petco Love and the Lifesaving Awards, visit:

Pet lovers can support the efforts of these lifesaving animal welfare organizations and help homeless pets by donating at

About Petco Love
At Petco Love, we believe that every animal deserves to live its best life. Since 1999, we’ve invested more than $260 million in lifesaving animal welfare work to make that happen. With our more than 4,000 animal welfare partners, we inspire and empower communities to make a difference by investing in adoption and medical care programs, spay and neuter services, pet cancer research, service and therapy animals, and numerous other lifesaving initiatives. Through our Think Adoption First program, we partner with Petco stores and animal welfare organizations across the country to increase pet adoptions. So far, we’ve helped more than 6 million pets find their new loving families, and we’re just getting started. Visit to learn more about how you can get involved.

Media Contact for Petco Love
Lisa Lane, Director of Marketing and Development