1997 Winners
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NJ Veterinary Medical Association
390 Amwell Road, Suite 402
Hillsborough, NJ 08844
Phone:  908-281-0918
Fax:  908-450-1286

Awarded to Chelsea, a five-year-old domestic shorthair cat. Adopted from a shelter and unnaturally shy, Chelsea had never meowed until the night her Lyn fell asleep after a busy holiday gathering and forgot to extinguish her dining room table candles. Chelsea felt the fire brewing on the table and leapt onto Lyn, meowing at the top of her lungs. Chelsea's voice awakened Lyn in time to douse the flames and save everyone from harm.

Owner - Lyn Nelson
Veterinarian - Dr. Marguerite Hoey

Companion Category
Awarded to Ginger, a 10-year old English Setter. Ginger is the constant companion of Joan Boucher, who is severely crippled by cerebral palsy. Ginger is with Joan 24 hours a day and will help her get up from the floor when she is not able to manage as well as retrieve items for her. In addition to providing physical assistance, Ginger gives Joan a healthy attitude and complete devotion, demonstrating the true meaning of "companion."

Owner - Joan Boucher
Veterinarian - Dr. Sandra Fargher

Awarded to Midnight, a six-year-old Labrador. Midnight is a vital part of the Mercer County Prosecutors Office's narcotic team. His handler, Sgt. Al Paglione, credits Midnight for participation in over 700 searches, resulting in the seizure of more than $190,000 in controlled dangerous substances, as well as $288,000 of seized US currency.

Owner - Al Paglione
Veterinarian - Dr. Mary Moon


Awarded to Topaz, a three-year-old Golden Retriever. Topaz and her owner Alice Crans, perform therapeutic visits for frail, infirm, and bed-ridden long-term care residents. Topaz also visits psychiatric patients and has begun visits with preschoolers who are taught proper, gently behavior with animals. One patient with whom Topaz visits said her tensions disappear and tranquility moves in when Topaz arrives.

Owner - Alice Crans
Veterinarian - Dr. Beth Hunton

 Special Recognition
Presented to Michael, a thirteen-year-old collie, who was born blind and deaf. Despite these severe disabilities, he has greatly enriched the life of his owner, Ruth Hankins, through his extraordinary warm and loving disposition. Michael not only learned his way around the house, but he learned the art of play, knew how to bark, and showed his "maternal"side as he helped clean a new litter of kittens. Ruth said Michael is more than a companion, he is her teacher and champion.

Owner - Ruth Hankins
Veterinarians - Dr. Joyce Koch and Dr. Carolyn Self

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