Dr. Patricia Canchola, staff veterinarian at Pueblo Animal Services (PAS), was named the 2017 American Humane Hero Veterinarian at the Hero Dog Awards Gala, a special award ceremony held September 16 at Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles. Following the review of nearly 200 nominations from animal lovers across the country, a blue-ribbon judging panel of veterinary professionals and animal care experts selected 10 of the country’s top veterinarians and veterinary technicians and asked the public to make the final choice. After receiving tens of thousands of public votes, Dr. Canchola was declared the winner.
Dr. Patti, as she is known in our community, has worked as a shelter veterinarian for Pueblo Animal Services since 2009. She is the only veterinarian on staff and performs between 3,500 and 4,500 spay and neuter surgeries every year. In addition, she performs about 200 other surgeries, treating animals that have trauma-related injuries, masses, broken bones and other needs. She is responsible for the care of approximately 5,000 animals at the shelter every year and cares for all with compassion, sensitivity and professionalism.
“Dr. Patti Canchola is a caring and brilliant veterinarian,” said Janet Keeney, who has adopted three dogs from PAS, all of whom needed advanced care from Dr. Canchola. “She has saved so many lives. Our dogs loved Dr. Patti and were always so happy to see her. The little sweeties that we have adopted from PAS have brought us tons and tons of joy!”
Last year, Dr. Canchola took it upon herself to take veterinary forensics courses to be better trained when examining abused, neglected and mistreated animals that are part of criminal investigations. She regularly testifies in animal cruelty criminal trials as the voice for the animal victims.
On top of her busy and difficult job, Dr. Canchola operates her own nonprofit pet food bank, helping hundreds of families every year to feed their pets. As if that were not enough, she also runs an independent, low-cost pet health clinic several Saturdays a month, offering affordable vaccines, preventative health care and treatment of common illnesses and minor injuries. Low-income pet owners are able to better care for their pets thanks to her Amazin' Amos Pet Food Pantry and her St. Martin’s Well Pet Clinic.
“To us, all vets and vet techs are heroes and this is why we want to honor the best of the best in their fields,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane president and CEO. “Dr. Canchola is a tremendous animal welfare advocate and we are so proud to learn of her laudable accomplishments aiding the animals in need in her community and beyond. And our thanks go out to our friends at Zoetis for sponsoring this special national campaign because we know how committed they are to recognizing the achievements of the veterinary community.”
The American Humane Hero Dog Awards are presented by the Lois Pope LIFE Foundation and will be broadcast nationally on Hallmark Channel on October 26 at 8:00 p.m./7:00 p.m. Central.