Remember Me Thursday® Pet Hero Award

The Remember Me Thursday® Pet Hero Award honors a rescue pet who has done an incredible thing. Established in 2018, the award has so far recognized five amazing four-legged heroes.

Honorees receive an engraved commemorative award and a year’s supply of pet food generously donated by Blue Buffalo.

2023 Pet Hero – Plato 

A California dog named Plato helped rescue over 66 missing pets in the last seven years. Plato was a 10-year-old Shiba Inu blend who turned his love of playing hide and seek into a lifesaving skill. He first met his owner, Michael Fradin, at a construction site. That’s where a car pulled up near the job site, and the driver threw Plato out of the car. Fradin rushed over, scooped up Plato, and took him home with him.

“He didn’t play ball, but he did love to track. And he wanted to find that puppy,” Fradin said, ““It was his favorite thing to do.”

Ultimately, Plato developed health issues after searching for lost pets in the CZU Fire Complex and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Plato passed on July 26th, 2023, but his legacy remains as a rescue pet hero.


2022 Pet Hero – Eva

As pet parents across the world understand, our pets become part of our family, and as such, we will go great lengths to keep them protected. What we have also found to be true is that, in moments of need, our pets would do the same for us. That was the case for Erin Wilson, a Northern California woman whose 2-year-old dog Eva came to her defense during a rare mountain lion attack.

On May 16, Erin and Eva, both lovers of the great outdoors, had stopped at a picnic area before exploring a trail along the Trinity River when out of a bush a mountain lion emerged and swiped at 24-year-old Erin. In that shocking and dire moment Erin screamed, and without hesitation, Eva came running to protect her and tackled the mountain lion. A tussle ensued as Erin ran to seek help from a driver passing by. Together, they distracted the lion with rocks until Eva was released from the mountain lion’s forceful grasp.

Sharing her story with Helen Woodward Animal Center, Erin credits Eva with saving her life. The beloved Eva succumbed to her injuries in June, but her courage and loyalty will never be forgotten. Exemplary of the human-animal bond, the Center is proud to present Erin with the 2022 Pet Hero Award in honor of Eva at the Thursday, Sept. 22nd Remember Me Thursday® Ceremony.


2021 Rescue Pet Hero – Osa

Adopted as a puppy from Helen Woodward Animal Center, Osa has filled with love the home of Jean and Don Houts. Earlier this year, she added new meaning to her title of rescue dog when she jumped into action to save not only the home of her owners but potentially their lives. It was the middle of a night when a quick-spreading fire had started on the outdoor grill close to the Houts’ bedroom. Osa sprinted into the bedroom, which she typically stays out of, and began barking non-stop and running toward the patio door. She quick actions alerted Don of the dangerous situation. He was able to spring out of bed and put the fire out himself.

While the fire cause significant damage to the home, the Houts’ say they’re eternally grateful for their four-legged companion. They say without her early alert, the fire would have continued to spread to the rest of their home and could have threatened their lives.

Osa’s brave and loyal actions are credited for saving her family and their home and that is why she is the 2021 Remember Me Thursday Rescue Pet Hero.


2020 Rescue Pet Heroes – Sandy and Denver

Sandy’s Story: Earlier this year, on a hot July day in Glendale, Calif. Gwen Johnson, 88, stepped out onto her front porch and fell. Out of sight from the street, Gwen had no idea how long she would lay on the ground unable to get up. Nearly an hour later, Glendale Waste Management employee Kirk White arrived at Johnson’s home on his usual route for waste pickup.  Surveillance video from Johnson’s home shows Sandy springing into action to get White’s attention. Sandy’s heroic move earned him the title of 2020 Remember Me Thursday Rescue Pet Hero.

Denver’s Story: Denver and his littermates arrived by van transport to Helen Woodward Animal Center from Louisiana receiving a second-chance at a happy life. Denver chose Star, his a deaf and nearly blind sister as his main playmate, the two were rarely apart and when separated, Denver would come running back to love on her let her know he was there.

Inspired by their story, Art and Sheri Armendariz of Encinitas, Calif. welcomed them into their home. Since then, the Armendariz’s say Denver and Star’s bond has only grown.  Always finding their way back to each other, the Armendariz’s believe Denver helps Star live her life to the fullest despite her challenges. “She’s very confident and has no fear,” Art Armendariz explained. “But she always finds her way back to him.”

Denver’s dedication to his sister Star earned him the 2020 Remember Me Thursday Rescue Pet Hero award.


2019 Rescue Pet Hero – Pinky

Despite being very small, the size of Pinky’s heart is extraordinary. In 2019, Pinky and her mom Chris Kremers of San Diego, CA were in a store when five armed robbers  rushed in and held customers at gunpoint. Chris credits Pinky with keeping her calm during the incredibly frightening and traumatic experience. She says Pinky laid down under her and didn’t make a sound. She says Pinky’s Zen-like demeanor gave her the strength to get through the 20 minute standoff. Chris believes Pinky’s presence that day was life-saving and a godsend during that scary situation. She says Pinky has since helped her cope with that violent encounter.


2018 Rescue Pet Hero – Yeti

Yeti is a remarkable pit bull blend adopted by the Lennox family from Verde Valley, Arizona. He struggled to find his forever home, but once he finally did, he gave them the ultimate thanks. Yeti is credited with saving his human brother Fallon from drowning during a family trip to the river. Yeti is said to have jumped into action and gone in after Fallon doing his best to push the young boy to shore. It was a scary experience that the Lennox family is grateful to have had Yeti by their side.