Hurricane Sandy Hero Among 18th Annual Hall Of Fame Inductees

HILLSBOROUGH – The New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association (NJVMA) Animal Hall of Fame Committee has selected five dogs, one cat, one horse, and two animal welfare advocates for induction into the 18th Annual NJVMA Animal Hall of Fame.

“Every pet owner and veterinarian can tell you amazing stories of their pet or the ones they treat,” said Dr. Peter Falk, chair of the Animal Hall of Fame Committee. “When we open our hearts to the wonder of animals, strange things start to happen. Big or little, they partner with us on a shared journey.”

A rescued dog that dedicated his life to protecting the community, three dogs and a cat that participate in various volunteer services, a horse that provides emotional supportive therapy to at-risk youth, an advocate who works to save the lives of abandoned rabbits, a dog who offers comfort to those in times of hardship, and an emerging hero who sacrificed to help restore hope and rebuild lives in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, will all be honored on March 3 with induction into the 18th Annual NJVMA Animal Hall of Fame.

“The NJVMA Animal Hall of Fame celebrates the uniqueness of the human-animal bond and commemorates the unparalleled relationship that veterinarians have with these animals and their owners. This year’s winners are exemplary animals and individuals that have made significant contributions to those around them,” Dr. Falk said.

This year’s Hall of Fame inductees are:

K-9 Tyson: While he served the state of New Jersey, he also served as a best friend, partner, and hero. Tyson, a German Shepherd-Akita mix, served the K-9 unit of the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department for nine years, specializing in explosives detection. He dedicated his life to saving others including the community he served, the policemen he kept from danger, and the partner he loved. Tyson was nominated by Paul Canestri, and Drs. Kimberly Hammer and Justin Guinan of NorthStar VETS in Robbinsville.

Lexi, Remi, Riese and Buttons: This group of extraordinary animals exhibits patience not easily found in humans. As they work to engage and inspire, these animals freely give of themselves by participating in volunteer services in libraries, nursing homes and hospitals, while simultaneously easing the minds of those around them. Lexi, Remi, Riese and Buttons were nominated by PAWS for People and Dr. Steven Milden of Delaware Valley Veterinary Hospital in Mullica Hill.

Straw: While most therapy horses provide physical supportive therapy to help heal individuals, Straw takes a different approach towards therapy by providing emotional comfort and encouragement to individuals where they need it most: their soul. Straw, an American Quarter Horse, is known for her work with veterans with Post-traumatic stress disorder, at-risk youth groups, and bereaved children. She was nominated by Christianna Capra and Dr. Shari Silverman of Simply Sound Horse.

Cathy Genna: As a long time rabbit advocate, Cathy Genna has and continues to work to cultivate relationships with adopters, the veterinarian whom she entrusts to care for the rabbits, and most importantly, the individual rabbits that have made a home permanently in her heart. She works to educate the public about the needs of rabbits, including proper nutrition, health care, and environmental enrichment and emphasizes the uniqueness of each rabbit. Over the years, she has placed over 300 rabbits. Genna was nominated by Dr. David Horn of the Veterinary Care Center in Hamilton Township.

Petey: This small dog with a big personality gives new meaning to the phrase “working like a dog.” As a prominent member of the staff at The Law Offices of Lynda L. Hinkle, Petey devotes himself to comforting the clients whose hardships have brought them into the office. Petey was nominated by Lynda Hinkle and Dr. Carolyn Self of Collingswood Veterinary Hospital in Collingswood.

Christine Seminerio: During Hurricane Sandy, an unprecedented event, Christine Seminerio established a temporary evacuation shelter and touched the lives of the families and animals that needed help most. Through her genuine compassion and care, she showed unwavering loyalty to those who had no where to turn after they were displaced by the devastating storm. Leaving her own family behind to assist where she was needed, Christine spent four weeks at the shelter, providing medical care for the animals and connecting their owners with the resources necessary to rebuild their lives. Seminerio was nominated by Drs. Anthony DeCarlo and Thomas Trotter of Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in Tinton Falls.

The luncheon honoring this year’s inductees will begin at noon at the Hamilton Park Conference Center in Florham Park. The event is open to the public and ticket information is available on the Hall of Fame website:

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