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2019 HERO Awards

March 9 @ 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm

2019 HERO Thank You

The 16th Annual HERO Awards

Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 5:30 pm
Omni Montelucia Resort & Spa
Alhambra Ballroom

He·ro -noun

  1. a person pet who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
  2. accomplishes an act which is deemed extraordinary
  3. one who shows great bravery.

450 fellow philanthropists came together on March 9th for the 16th Annual HERO Awards- one of the most inspiring fundraising events in the Valley. Together, we celebrated animal and human heroes alike with captivating stories of survival, companionship, and acts of heroism – all in the name of saving pets.

Thank you to all our sponsors, guests and volunteers for making our 16th Annual HERO Awards such a successful event helping to raise $223,000.00 to support families and save pets! Because of you, an additional 2,600 pets throughout Arizona can receive the care and treatment they need. We appreciate your generous support and commitment to saving pet lives.

Be sure to check out photos from the event, courtesy of Bruce Haseley Photography.



If you download images for personal use, please consider making a donation.
Please contact us for approval on photos distribution.


Congratulations to the 2019 HERO Award Winners!

Penelope the Pig

Service to the Community – Penelope Pig

Adopted at 6 weeks old by a family whose son has Autism, this patient pig was not phased by the loud and busy environment. Her temperament made her a perfect therapy pet and she soon began volunteering through local organization Pawsitive Friendships. Penelope provides support to children with special needs in schools and clinics. She really is some pig and even gives kisses! Join us to celebrate Penelope the therapy pig, a true hero to countless children and families in our community, at the 16th Annual Hero Awards.

Sgt Max

Loyal Companion – Sgt. Max

Sgt. Max and his dad Jerry, a two-tour combat veteran, are truly a who rescued whom story. They share an incredibly strong bond – one that has changed Jerry’s life for the better by greatly reducing his PTSD symptoms. Before Max, Jerry explained he felt unable to escape when nightmares began. Barks and licks from Max now keep difficult nights to a minimum, securing his place as our 2019 Loyal Companion winner!

Tarzan and Deputy Gulikers

Animal Hero- Tarzan

Tarzan, a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois, has already proven himself a true hero several times over as a K9 officer alongside his handler Deputy Charlie Gulikers with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. From taking down suspects to surviving a dog attack and going on to win the Tough Dog Competition against 68 other teams, this brave pup is nothing short of resilient. We are thrilled to celebrate a dog who ensures we all live in a much safer city, as our 2019 Animal Hero! Please join us in honoring Tarzan, a dog who puts his life on the line to serve and protect our community, at the 16th Annual HERO Awards!

Charlie Chaplin

Animal Survivor- Charlie Chaplin

Found in downtown Phoenix, emaciated and alone in a dark alleyway, Charlie Chaplin’s fate took a positive turn when he met Melissa Pruitt, owner of La Gattarra Cat Lounge & Boutique. He was believed to be suffering from kidney disease with an undetermined amount of time remaining but he would live out his days comfortably at the cat lounge. Melissa soon realized what a special cat Charlie is. Charlie loves like it’s his job and has positively impacted countless lounge guests with his signature hug and soothing purrs. The love he gave and received gave him new life, but 18 months after being rescued his health rapidly declined. A series of test revealed what treatment was needed and Charlie’s friends at La Gattara quickly raised the funds to save this incredible cat. For beating the odds of infection, illness, and life on the streets, we honor  Charlie Chaplin as our 2019 Animal Survivor.

Bane and Officer Howard

Over the Rainbow Bridge- K9 Bane

K9 Bane and his handler Officer Howard of the Phoenix Police Department were paired in January of 2017. Their instant connection helped them build a strong bond and excel in their training as they prepared to patrol the streets of Phoenix. Bane loved his job and apprehended numerous suspects while aiding in the arrest of countless others to keep our community safe. After a year on the job, on April 17, 2018, Bane and Officer Howard were called out to help a surveillance unit tracking a stolen vehicle in a case that quickly escalated to a dangerous high-speed chase. When the suspect fled on foot and hid in a nearby home, Bane was sent in to do the job he knew and loved. Tragically, he passed away in the line of duty that day, assisting police in the arrest of the suspect and protecting his fellow officers. Bane is a true hero in every sense of the word and we honor him as our 2019 Over the Rainbow Bridge Hero honoree.

Cheryl and Roger Naumann

Human Heroes

Cheryl and Roger Naumann’s dedication to bettering the lives of pets has spanned decades, cities, and missions, proving their deep commitment to ending pet homelessness. In 2001, Cheryl became President and CEO of the Arizona Humane Society. She led the organization for 5 years and went on to serve as Vice Chair of the Board of the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators, Chairman of the Board of Friends of Animal Care and Control (now known as The Arizona Pet Project), served on the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control Animal Care Task Force and was a member of the Arizona State Council of the Humane Society of the United States.

Roger became the project manager for Second Chance Center for Animals in Flagstaff. He facilitated the construction of the beautiful 20,000 square foot facility which included a veterinary clinic and a rescue and adoption center from the ground up. He also served as interim director 3 times during his 6-year tenure with the organization.

Together, they opened Second Home Pet Resort in 2008 and recently celebrated their ten year business anniversary!

In 2017, Cheryl founded Humane Animal Rescue and Trapping Team (aka, HARTT). HARTT is committed to helping to bring to safety dogs who cannot easily be handled or captured through ordinary means. Cheryl and Roger have loyally served our animal welfare community for nearly 20 years and have positively impacted thousands of lives. Their unwavering commitment to pets and the people who love them is second to none and we are thrilled to honor them as our 2019 Human Heroes!

Become a life-saving sponsor for the 16th Annual HERO Awards!

Your sponsorship saves pets and supports families.

We invite you to join The Arizona Pet Project, and over 450 fellow business and community leaders, for the 16th Annual HERO Awards.

Thanks to supporters like you, The Arizona Pet Project has been able to provide free spay and neuter surgeries to over 120,000 animals in need and offer shelter intervention support to 1,000 pets and their families. These services are the most cost-effective ways to keep pets in their homes and out of shelters. Together, we have provided life-saving services to over 130,000 dogs and cats since 2009 — and with your help, we will save even more!

The 2019 HERO Awards would not be possible without the support of some special people and organizations:

Lindsay Benjamin – HERO Chair

Lindsay Benjamin – Event Chair

Lindsay is on the Board of Directors for People Saving Pets, a non-profit which provides financial funding for organizations aimed at decreasing the number of euthanized animals in shelters and supporting legislation to help protect animals nation-wide. She practices family law and currently serves Of Counsel at the Tyler Allen Law Firm in Phoenix, Arizona. Lindsay is an Arizona native and lives with her husband, two children and eight rescue animals.

Thank You to Our
Presenting Sponsor:


Thank You to Our
Pack Leader Sponsors:

Thank You to Our
Tail Wagger Sponsors:

American Nutrition

Thank You to Our
Top Dog Sponsors:

Silicon Valley Bank

Thank You to Our
Pet Partner Sponsors:

Perrigo Animal Health
Pethealth a Fairfax Company
Tyler Allen Law Firm
The Wright Family Foundation


March 9
5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Event Category:
Event Tags:
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Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia
4949 E Lincoln Dr
Scottsdale, AZ 85253
(480) 627-3200


The Arizona Pet Project