News and Events

First Courageous Heart Awards Presented


Awards Presented to Deserving Animal Advocates at the 2011 Courage in Action Celebration

The 2011 Courage in Action Celebration, which took place on October 28, 2011, was a huge success. With more than 200 guests joining us at the Westin Mission Hills Resort and Spa, in Rancho Mirage California, thirteen deserving animal advocates were presented the Courageous Heart Award for their work in the community over the past year. Entertainer and advisory board member, Barry Manilow, served as the special presenter of the awards and, together with Dr. Lori Kirshner, described each winner’s actions and achievements, along with pictures of them at work. We want to again thank all the recipients, named below, who work selflessly on behalf of animals, and who serve to inspire us all to do all that we can for animals.

The evening also featured a video montage, produced exclusively for this event, which depicted the beauty of all animals and the joy they bring to us, set to the Barry Manilow song, Can’t Smile Without You. This video delighted the supporters and set the tone for a wonderful evening.

The event permitted Vice President, Dr. Peter Spiegel, to provide a little historical perspective on Desert Paws, and the evening concluded with the first public announcement of the new name of the organization, Advancing the Interests of Animals. Also notable was that the delicious four course meal prepared by the talented catering staff contained no animal products, and was heartily enjoyed by even by the dedicated carnivores in attendance. Parting gifts included cute scented soy candles and vegan chocolate bars. Thanks to our major sponsor, the Petco Foundation, plus the Wells Fargo Foundation, Contour Dermatology, Retina Institute of California, Sofonio Plastic Surgery, and Rebecca Diaz’ The Cat Clinic. We look forward to the next Courage in Action Celebration, so look out for the award nomination announcements!

Winners of the 2011 Courageous Heart Award

Volunteer or employee in an organization.
Ann Woods
Yvonne Wall
Community Animal Hero
Lisa Roberts
Sam and Karen Esposito
Linda York
Veterinarian or Animal care employee
Dr. Douglas Kunz
Universal Animal Activist
Tanya Petrovna
Youth Animal Advocate
Teegan Richey
Daniela Rodrigues
Kaitlyn Garrison
Nia Torres
Lifetime Achievement
Jordin Kuecks