SCHAUMBURG—The American Veterinary Medical Association has named Amanda Arrington, founder and director of the Pets for Life program of the Humane Society of the United States, the winner of the 2018 AVMA Humane Award. The award is given annually to a non-veterinarian to recognize achievement in advancing the welfare of animals through leadership, public service, education, research and product development, and advocacy.
“I am deeply honored that the work of Pets for Life is being recognized by the AVMA. No one should ever be denied the opportunity to experience the benefits and joy that comes from the human-animal bond, and receiving this award helps to further spread that message,” says Arrington.
Arrington began developing the Humane Society of the United States Pets for Life program in 2010 to raise awareness and address the needs of pets in poverty, based on the idea that all community members love their pets, and that all pets deserve access to veterinary care. Through the Pets for Life program, the HSUS and other organizations that have adopted the model address the inequity and lack of access to pet resources people experience in underserved communities through community outreach and pet owner support services.
Through strategic physical door-to-door outreach, establishing a consistent on-going community presence and support, and providing a comprehensive follow-up process for every pet met, Pets for Life provides support to keep pets healthy and in the loving homes they already have. To date, in two core cities (Los Angeles and Philadelphia), and in 34 mentorship markets, the program has provided essential veterinary services to 155,000 pets who otherwise would likely not have received them.
The program was recently the subject of a University of Denver research study, “Race and ethnicity are not primary determinants in utilizing veterinary services in underserved communities in the United States” published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science (Sept. 29, 2017). In addition, the work was featured in the Development Law & Policy journal (Fall 2017), published by American University College of Law—“Serving Pets in Poverty: A New Frontier for the Animal Welfare Movement.” (PDF)
Dr. Michael J. Topper, president of the AVMA, presented the award to Arrington at the 2018 AVMA Convention in Denver on July 13. For more information on the AVMA’s Veterinary Excellence Awards program, visit https://www.avma.org/ProfessionalDevelopment/Awards/.