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2020 HERO Awards

February 29 @ 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm

17th Annual HERO Awards

The 17th Annual HERO Awards

Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 5:30 pm
Omni Montelucia Resort & Spa
Alhambra Ballroom

Tickets & Tables On Sale Now

Event Schedule:

5:30 PM: Silent Auction/Cocktail Hour- Open Bar until 6:45

7:00 PM: 3 Course Dinner (Vegan Option Available)

8:00 PM: HERO Awards Program- Information about The Arizona Pet Project, your life-saving impact, and inspiring videos detailing the stories of our 6 HERO honorees.

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.

You’re invited!

Take a life-saving leap with us for the 17th Annual HERO Awards- a magical evening celebrating animal and human heroes alike all in the name of improving (and saving) the lives of both people and pets in our community.

If you’ve ever loved a pet, you know the comfort, joy, and healing they provide. We believe those benefits should be available to all. Your support helps our community’s most vulnerable residents – including veterans, the elderly, domestic violence victims, and the homeless – with basic care for them and their beloved pets.

Our revolutionary programs have impacted nearly 140,000 pets and the people who need them most. With your help, we will save even more. Join us to make the 17th year our best yet!

The evening begins with a red-carpet welcome where you will be greeted by adoptable puppies and dogs from our partner organizations, Maricopa County Animal Care & Control and Almost There Foster Care.

Kick-off the night by snapping a few professional photos upon your arrival at our step and repeat station.

Move into the foyer to browse the incredible silent auction with a complimentary cocktail.

Don’t miss our Vodka & Vino pull to take home a bottle and try your luck in our designer purse raffle. Then, head to our photo booth for some commemorative pictures with your pack of favorite people!

At 7:00 PM, our guests will move into the beautiful ballroom for a delicious 3 course meal followed by a truly inspiring program where you will learn more about The Arizona Pet Project’s work and the impact of your support. The program includes six videos detailing the incredible stories of this year’s 2020 HERO Award honorees. Learn more about our heroes in the section below!

For additional information on this year’s event, and to purchase tickets or tables to join the celebration, please click here.

Purchase Tickets

Meet The 17th Annual HERO Awards Honorees

Human Hero: Emilee Spear, Rusty’s Angels Sanctuary 

It takes courage to fulfill your true calling in life and this year’s 2020 Human HERO is no stranger to daring greatly to save lives. While Emilee Spear has worked tirelessly in the animal welfare industry for years, it wasn’t until she crossed paths with an extra special senior pup named Rusty that everything changed. After Rusty passed, Emilee was inspired to continue saving seniors in need in his memory and so Rusty’s Angels was born!

Since then, Emilee has done so much to bring awareness to what an honor it is to love a senior through their final days. For those who cannot be adopted, the dogs who come to Rusty’s live out their remaining time in the comfort and beauty of the sanctuary. Purchase your tickets for the 17th Annual HERO Awards to join us in celebrating Emilee and her inspiring compassion!

Service to the Community: Cora, Gilbert Police Department

Everyday, first responders put their lives on the line to keep us safe. They truly are heroes, but sometimes even the bravest among us need a hero of their own. In just three short months, a stray dog wandering the streets of Phoenix became just that- a hero.

Officer Morales of the Gilbert Police Department set out to create a new program to support his fellow law enforcement officers but quickly knew something was missing. He contacted trainer and behavior specialist, Sheila Iyengar, in hopes of finding the perfect rescue dog to add to the program and they soon found her at Friends for Life Animal Rescue in Gilbert.

Cora began her training and Cora passed her certifications with flying colors, and just three months after being found on the street became Gilbert Police Department’s first-ever therapy dog. Through this innovative program, Cora makes an incredible difference in the lives of the officers and staff she supports, empowering them to show up for each of us and our community. Please join us on February 29th to learn more about Cora’s inspiring impact and celebrate her as our 2020 Service to the Community honoree!

Loyal Companion: Mo the Screaming Staffy

Mowgli, Mo for short, changed his mom’s life forever when he walked up to her as a stray in 2017.

Feeling confident someone was looking for such a good boy, she took him to the shelter. Kristin couldn’t forget Mo and his endearing smile so after his mandatory stray hold, she showed up to the shelter to make him officially hers! But 2017 still had a few hard knocks for Kristin, and a couple of months later she was laid off from her job and soon lost her apartment. However, Mo wouldn’t let his mom give up and after three months she landed her dream job. She credits him with keeping her afloat during such a difficult chapter.

For reminding us the impact pets have on our lives, we honor Mo as our 2020 Loyal Companion honoree!

Over the Rainbow Bridge: Lulu, of Lulu’s Fund

Lulu came into Sandy and Tim Day’s life 15 years ago, but they could have never predicted how much she would impact their lives! 

They soon became involved in the rescue community where they learned of the pet overpopulation and homeless crisis.This newfound knowledge, coupled with their unconditional love and commitment to providing the best for Lulu, the Day’s felt compelled to help.

In 2012, Lulu’s Fund was born. Over 30 nonprofits (including The Arizona Pet Project!) have received critical funding and support and countless lives, organizations, and communities have been forever changed, all thanks to Lulu!

Lulu’s time on Earth came to a close in June of 2019, but her legacy lives on through the pets that benefit from Lulu’s Fund. On behalf of the lives she has (and continues) to save, please join us to honor Lulu as our 2020 Over the Rainbow Bridge honoree.

Animal Survivor: Chance, of Fearless Kitty Rescue

Fearless Kitty Rescue received an urgent alert about an orange cat who had been surrendered to Pinal County Animal Care and Control. When they saw the photos showing the condition he was in, they knew they had to help.

No one could have prepared them for the three month long road ahead struggling to stabilize, diagnose and treat the cat they lovingly named Chance. However, Chance’s rescuers and team of veterinarians did not give up- and neither did he.

After a roller coaster road to recovery- Chance was diagnosed and treated for a rare auto-immune related skin condition. When he was finally well enough to undergo a dental procedure, his world dramatically changed again when he met the animal hospital manager, Becca. He wrapped her in a big cat hug forever sealing his fate! Becca adopted Chance, now known as Butters, and he is now enjoying the wonderful second chance at life he so deserves!

For reminding us the power of teamwork, perseverance, and hope, we honor Chance as our 2020 Animal Survivor honoree.

Animal Hero: Josh the Doodle

With his flowing golden locks, contagious smile, and determined, albeit wobbly, gait, Josh the Doodle stands out in a crowd!

Josh suffers from Cerebellar Hypoplasia, a neurological disorder affecting his movement. Despite the challenges his severe condition present, Josh the Doodle is the embodiment of joy, gratitude and showing up big in the world.

When Kimberly and Andrew, Josh’s parents, saw how people responded when meeting Josh or seeing him on social media, they realized the impact he has and they made the decision to use his influence to promote inclusiveness and kindness. They started the Be Like Josh Foundation and began visiting kids in schools. From general assemblies to small class visits, Josh’s warm personality gives kids first-hand experience with another being who has different abilities.

Josh helps kids become more open and accepting, and encourages them to spread the word. For reminding us all to be open, grateful, and welcoming to both animals and humans of all capabilities, Josh the Doodle is our 2020 Animal HERO!

Become a life-saving sponsor for the 17th Annual HERO Awards!

Your sponsorship saves pets and supports families.

As pet-lovers, we recognize our furry companions and the love and friendship they so generously give all year long. On Leap Day, February 29, 2020, there’s an extra day to celebrate and save lives! We invite you to leap into action with us, and 450 fellow business and community leaders, to end pet homelessness and euthanasia as a 17th Annual HERO Awards sponsor.

Thanks to supporters like you, The Arizona Pet Project has been able to provide free spay and neuter surgeries to over 130,000 animals in need and offer support to 3,500 families to keep their pets out in homes of shelters.

With your help this year, we will save even more!

View HERO sponsorship opportunities.

HERO Sponsorship Packet

The 2020 HERO Awards would not be possible without the support of some special people and organizations:

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
Wylie Coyote
People Saving Pets

Thank You to Our
Pet Partner Sponsors:



February 29
5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Event Category:
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The Arizona Pet Project


Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia
4949 E Lincoln Dr
Scottsdale, AZ 85253
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(480) 627-3200