Iowa Animal Hall of Fame

2019 Nominations are now being accepted

How to nominate

Nomination Form for Iowa Animal Hall of Fame
Type written description of why the animal is being nominated and a picture of the nominated animal.
Deadline is August 1, 2019

1. Complete the application on-line.

2. You may wish to explain: How the animal exhibited special abilities when it made a difference

    • How the animal demonstrated unselfish and/or courageous accomplishments
    • Examples of the animal's affection, loyalty and companionship
    • Heroic actions
    • Ways in which the animal provided healthful benefits, confidence or opportunities for exercise, socialization or laughter.

3. Please email 1-3 high quality pictures of the animal to the IVMA office

REMEMBER: Only IVMA member veterinarians may nominate. Veterinarians may not nominate their own animals. To become an IVMA member, go to the Membership area of this web site or call the office at 515/965-9237 or 800/369-9564.

Three remarkable animals were named to the 2018 IVMA Animal Hall of Fame
The IVMA and Merck Animal Health named three wonderful animals as the recipients of the 2018 Animal Hall of Fame awards for their bravery, companionship and professional contributions to people and the community.  Sixty-four animals from across Iowa have been inducted into the Animal Hall of Fame since its inception 21 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 2018 Annual Meeting in September in Ames. The winning animals and their owners will be honored at an awards ceremony held on April 2, 2019 at the Animal Rescue League’s Raise Your Paw Auction.

This year's 2018 Animal Hall of Fame winners include:  Vader, a 6-year-old German Shepherd K9 who works for the Cass County Sherriff’s office. Amber, a 10 year old Retriever Mix belonging to Larry Vojcihoski of Yarmouth in Southeast Iowa. Aubry, a Red Angus Cow who belongs to Connor Haggerty of Corning.

Companion Animal Hall of Fame Recipient

Winner: Aubry
Owner: Connor Haggerty
Nominating Veterinarians:  Drs. Scott and Ryan Shuey of Southern Hills Veterinary Services in Corning

Connor’s family purchased Aubrey, who had been raised as a bottle calf, as a 4H bucket calf project for Connor who has autism.  From the very beginning, Connor and Aubry bonded and became very close.  Although Connor is very apprehensive about other cattle in the herd, Aubry’s gentle manner allowed Connor to gain the confidence to be around cattle.  “It is very rare to see an animal so patient and kind with humans as Aubry.  She always moves slow around Connor and she’s patient as he leads her,” said Dr. Scott Shuey.  Connor showed Aubry at the Adams County Fair the next year as a bred heifer and for the following two years a cow-calf pair, even winning Reserve Champion Cow-Calf pair. That first bucket calf 4H project has allowed Connor to grow his own cattle herd. He now has 4 head of cattle, all descended from Aubry. The skills Connor learned by showing and caring for Aubry have improved his life in other ways. His schoolwork and cognitive skills improved and he became more involved at school. “Through Aubry, Connor has grown from a quiet, reserved individual who lacked self-confidence and social skills to a young farmer who is very proud of his cow herd and looks forward to making more friendships daily,” said Dr. Ryan Shuey. Connor’s mom, Missy is proud of how confident around cattle Connor has become. “Aubry lets Connor get close to her new calves, something other cows in the herd don’t always do.  Aubry has also helped Connor be more aware of his surroundings, something kids with autism have a hard time with.  He’s learned to be more responsible for himself as well as for something else,” she said.

Hero Animal Hall of Fame Recipient

Winner: Vader
Owner: Cass County Sherriff's Office
Nominating Veterinarian: Dr. Kate Hoffman of Atlantic Animal Health Center

Vader is a dual purpose K9 - trained in criminal apprehension, handler protection, narcotics, evidence recovery, and tracking. Vader has proven to be a vital member of the Cass County Sherriff’s Department and has been successfully utilized in several surrounding counties, by multiple law enforcement agencies in both patrol and narcotics deployments. Vader has won multiple awards from the Heart of America Police Dog Association for his tracking abilities, including “Patrol Case of the Year” on two occasions. Within the past year Vader has demonstrated courage and loyalty in several significant vehicular pursuits.  Including one heroic pursuit of a suspect where K9 Vader was stabbed in the mouth. Vader courageously held the suspect until the he was taken into custody by deputies. A second significant deployment involved Vader tracking a suspect through over a 1 mile section of a cornfield and located the subject laying in the field.  After a short break, Vader searched several hundred yards of the field for evidence and located several pieces of evidence, including a stolen handgun.

Professional Animal Hall of Fame Recipient

Winner: Amber
Owner: Mr. Larry Vojcihoski of Yarmouth
Nominating Veterinarian: Dr. Diane Noll of LeClair

Amber was nominated for her dedication in two separate careers.  Her first career began as she was adopted to serve as the resident dog for the Memory Care section of the Senior Star at Elmore Place in Davenport, Iowa.   Amber was a calm presence providing companionship to the residents and their visitors. She was especially vigilant when a resident would be declining in health.  If the resident’s door was closed, she would often lay by the door for hours on end, obviously sensing the need to stay at her post. After 6 years of being on duty at the center, Amber moved on to her second career, serving as an ADA Medical Service Dog for Larry Vojcihoski of Yarmouth, Iowa.  Badly injured in a vehicle roll-over accident while serving in the US military in Germany, Larry now has Amber as his constant companion helping to calm him when he gets anxious from his PTSD. Amber also lets Larry know when his blood sugar has dropped.  Larry loves Amber’s devotion.   “She’s used to giving comfort to people who are lonely and confused, and that’s pretty much me every other day,” he said.