The newly established program will recognize individuals who dedicate themselves to supporting the health and well-being of companion animals, whether through their everyday work or volunteer efforts.
In commemoration of the heroes' efforts, HomeAgain will make a $10,000 donation in the name of the HomeAgain Hero of the Year award winner, as well as donations in the name of each of the four finalists to Petfinder Foundation, Winn Feline Foundation, Assistance Dogs International or Morris Animal Foundation.
"Given the focus of our business, we feel it's important to recognize and honor individuals who make significant contributions to help ensure the welfare of animals," said Gary MacPhee, director and general manager of HomeAgain.
"We are proud to establish an award that will spotlight the commitment, compassion and positive impact of those who have made the well-being of animals a priority, and look forward to sharing their stories and triumphs with others."
An esteemed panel of judges, ranging from a real-life hero to respected animal experts will choose the finalists who they feel best exemplify the qualities of the Hero of the Year. The judges are:
- Steve Dale, voice of Steve Dale's Pet World
- Captain "Sully" Sullenberger, the pilot who successfully performed the emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River, and his wife, Lorrie, who is an avid animal lover and volunteer with 25 years dedicated to animal organizations
- Dr. Jane Brunt, DVM, CATalyst Council Executive Director and American Association of Feline Practitioners past president
- Brian Kilcommons, celebrity dog trainer and spokesperson for animal behavior
- Betsy Saul, founder of Petfinder.com
Nominations may be submitted online at HomeAgainHeroes.com between May 15 and July 31. All required nomination information and program details are available on the site.
HomeAgain and its panel of judges will review all nomination submissions and identify five finalists, which will be featured on the website. The winner will be selected through public voting via the site.
To submit a nomination, you must be 18 years or older. For all official rules, visit HomeAgainHeroes.com.