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Iowa Animal Hall of Fame
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Iowa Animal Hall of Fame

Let’s Hear the A-Paws!

Three remarkable dogs named to 2014 IVMA Animal Hall of Fame


The IVMA and Merck Animal Health named three wonderful dogs as the recipients of the 2014 Animal Hall of Fame awards for their bravery, companionship and professional contributions to people and the community.  Fifty-two animals from across Iowa have been inducted into the Animal Hall of Fame since its inception 17 years ago, including dogs, cats and horses.  The awards were given in three categories, Companion, Hero and Professional.


The nominating veterinarians were honored at the 2014 Annual Meeting on September 18th in Ames. The winning animals and their owners will be honored at an awards ceremony to be held on April 25, 2015 at the Animal Rescue League’s Raise Your Paw Auction.


The 2014 Animal Hall of Fame winners are:

Companion Animal Hall of Fame Recipient

Winner: Cha Cha, Beagle
Owner: Cassandra & Thomas Miller
Nominating Veterinarian:  Dr. Jen Mathis, Family Pet Veterinary Center, West Des Moines 

Cassandra & Thomas adopted Cha-Cha after she had spent 10 years as a breeder to litters of adorable puppies.  She was a little overweight and just needed to a family to love her.


The Miller’s adult son Samuel lives with them after numerous brain surgeries for the removal of several brain tumors.  Although he lives in chronic severe pain, Samuel took Cha Cha under his wing and the two became inseparable.


One day, Cha Cha was uncharacteristically barking franticly persuading Mrs. Miller to follow her to Samuel’s room where she found him having a grand mal seizure.  After days in the hospital, under the care of a neurologist, Samuel gradually returned to his regular self.


The Millers will forever be grateful to Cha Cha for not only saving Samuel’s life, but for her constant love and the companionship she has given to Samuel and the entire Miller family.

Hero Animal Hall of Fame Recipient

Winner: Chloe, Maltese
Owner: Mary Page
Nominating Veterinarian: Dr. Jeff Cornick, Pioneer Animal Hospital, Mason City

In Mid-December 2013 on a frigid 5 degree morning, Chloe woke up Mary at 4:30 in the morning, barking franticly. Mary let Chloe outside and when the little dog came back in, she went straight to a side door that rarely gets used and continued to bark and pace around in circles.  When Mary looked outside she could see something suspicious in the neighbor’s driveway. Thinking it was nothing but an oil spot she didn’t think much of it until she looked closer and saw what looked like legs moving. Mary woke her grandson and they went outside to find her elderly neighbor, Larry Morris on the ground.  He had been leaving to go to dialysis when he slipped in the snow and couldn’t get up.


Larry and his family are forever grateful for a little white ball of fur that was looking out for him on that cold winter day.

Professional Animal Hall of Fame Recipient

Winner: Tucker, Bichon Frise 
Owner: Beth Weiser
Nominating Veterinarian: Dr. Rachel Allbaugh, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Ames

Tucker started his unofficial work as a therapy dog with Weiser‘s 84 year old neighbor, Miss Lillian, who loved to have Tucker visit.  After watching Tucker interact with Miss Lillian, Beth decided to certify him as a Therapy Dog. In not quite one year, he went from being known as a destructive dog in his first home to becoming a working, certified Therapy Dog.


Tucker and Beth now work regularly at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames.  They work in the Acute Rehab floor but also visit patients on other floors if a doctor has written an order for a Therapy Dog. Tucker has provided joy, comfort and love to many patients, including several as they have waited for an ambulance to take them to Hospice.  He has brought tears to loved one’s eyes as Tucker’s visit brings a patient to speak for the first time in weeks. In the Adolescent Behavior Unit, unresponsive kids warm up to Tucker and become engaged as they teach Tucker tricks.


Besides their work at the hospital, Tucker and Beth can be seen regularly around the Ames community. Tucker has been called out to the Hospice House, specifically when a patient that got to know him at Mary Greeley goes into Hospice Care.  The pair makes monthly visits to the assisted living and memory care units of Green Hills Retirement Center and Windsor Manor Assisted Living.  They also assist with beginning obedience classes and puppy classes at the Cyclone Country Kennel Club.


In January of 2012, Tucker underwent cataract surgery on both eyes at ISU Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center. Tucker missed about a month of therapy work while his eyes were healing, but he and Beth now have a story to share with the patients they visit, that their favorite therapy dog was once a patient too.

The Iowa Animal Hall of Fame, which is co-sponsored by Merck Animal Health, awards animals for their bravery, companionship and professional contributions to people and the community. More than 45 animals, including dogs, cats and horses, from across Iowa have been inducted into the Iowa Animal Hall of Fame since its inception 16 years ago. The winners are chosen by a panel of three members.



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