Animals wearing leashes and bowties roamed the lobby and ballroom Saturday night during an awards ceremony for rescued pets from around Arizona.
The fifth annual Hero Awards at the Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix was sponsored by the Friends of Animal Care and Control. Each pet honored at the gala event received a custom-made medallion from jeweler Cornelis Hollander of Scottsdale.
Mesa rabbit thinks he's a cat
Stormy, a 2-year-old dappled black-and-white bunny, has two lucky feet.
Stormy was rescued from drowning during an August rainstorm when he was two months old. The rescuer took Stormy to East Valley Bunny Rescue, where caretakers expected him to catch pneumonia and die, according to Sotrmy’s owner and self-proclaimed “mom” Stephanie Schmidt.
She took Stormy to her Mesa home and fostered him back to health with the help of two of her pet cats, Patches and Buddy. As a result of his feline foster family, Stormy now believes himself to be a cat, according to Schmidt.
She said the rabbit even uses a litter box. However, she said he remains vegetarian, preferring bananas.
Schmidt and Stormy are volunteers for Hospice of the Valley, visiting patients and just letting them pet Stormy to feel better. Stormy’s docile demeanor and soft fur make him ideal for the job.
"He cuddles right up to them," Schmidt said. "They pet him, and he usually falls asleep."
Stormy wore a sparkly blue bowtie and a Hospice of the Valley leash harness.
Queen Creek dog survives abuse
Gabriel is a spotted tan Australian Cattle Dog with three legs.
Saturday night he sported a shiny white collar and rhinestone leash, in addition to his black bowtie. His front right leg was amputated due to a shattered shoulder, according to his current owner Amanda Schliting of Queen Creek.
Gabriel was rescued from an abusive home by New Hope Cattle Dogs. Gabriel is also blind as a result of head trauma.
Now at Schliting’s home, Gabe is spoiled. "He’s the boss," Schliting said.
Gabe eagerly sniffed and licked each new well-wisher who approached, and walked the lobby with the strength of any four-legged dog. Gabe’s current work with people with disabilities led in part to his award Saturday.
Cornville dog drags owner to safety
Molly, a big 4- or 5-year-old golden retriever, may have saved her owner’s life at their home between Cottonwood and Sedona.
Amy Barrett of Cornville was landscaping her backyard near a steep ravine when she fell in, breaking her clavicle and several other bones and losing consciousness, according to Candy Ziemer, president of the Arizona Golden Retriever Connection.
Molly, who had been terrified of the ledge before, rushed to Amy’s side, licked her face to awaken her and then let Amy hold onto her neck and dragged Amy up the embankment to a place where Joe Barrett, Amy’s husband, could find her.
When Amy was recovering, Molly would not leave her side. Joe even had to drag Molly outside to go to the bathroom.
"She’s very protective of the Barretts," Ziemer said.