SPRINGFIELD — Dakin Humane Society is accepting nominations from the public for its Dakin Humane Awards until July 31. Nominees should be people who go out of their way to care for animals in need, people who volunteer to help animals, or people and/or animals who have provided significant public service or shown courage in a crisis.
Finalists in each of the award categories will be picked from among the nominees and notified of their selection in August. The award ceremony will be livestreamed at a later date in the fall, and one winner in each of the categories will be announced. There are five awards to be bestowed. They are:
• Frances M. Wells Award, given to an individual recognized for notable contributions to the health and welfare of animals;
• Youth Award, honoring a hero, age 16 or younger, whose extraordinary care and compassion makes a difference in the life of an animal, and makes the world a kinder and gentler place;
• Champion Award, given to a public servant who makes life better for tens of thousands of animals and people in their community, and recognizing their dedication and compassion on behalf of animals and people in need;
• Richard and Nathalie Woodbury Philanthropy Award, paying homage to an individual who displays a remarkable sense of stewardship in sharing time, talent, and financial resources to improve the lives of animals and people who love them; and
• Animal Hero Award, recognizing an exceptional animal and handler (when applicable) whose valor and extraordinary devotion to people proved life-saving in disastrous or challenging heath circumstances.
“Originally, we had planned to present the 2020 Humane Awards in May,” said Stacey Price, Dakin’s director of Development and Marketing. “Then the COVID-19 pandemic made that gathering impossible, so we are planning a livestream awards ceremony sometime this fall, which will be announced soon. We are extending our nomination period, and with so many acts of kindness being offered among people these days, we are hoping some folks will nominate someone whose good deeds have helped an animal, as well as the people who love that animal.
“For example,” she continued, “it could be someone who cared for a pet while that pet’s person was hospitalized with the virus. Maybe someone organized a fundraiser to help a person keep their pet when faced with sudden unemployment. There are many people who have volunteered at animal shelters, so their dedication could lead to a nomination for them as well. We hope people will nominate someone they know who deserves recognition.”
Nominations are being accepted online only at bit.ly/2NOcgps. Mail-in nominations will not be accepted. Nominees should be residents of Central or Western Mass. or Northern Connecticut.