Last Saturday, March 4, Helen Woodward Animal Center presented Carrie Ann Inaba with the 2017 Helen Woodward Humane Award. The prestigious annual award was presented in front of an invitation-only group of high-level donors at the private home of a dedicated Center supporter.
Although Carrie Ann Inaba is best known for her passion for dance as a judge on the ABC hit, “Dancing with the Stars,” it is her great love for animals that inspired Inaba to found the charitable organization, The Animal Project Foundation, in 2012. The organization provides funding to grassroots animal rescue groups, assisting with emergency rescue and medical costs, fostering and adoption of high-risk animals, and provides access to free spay and neuter services.
Inaba’s dedication to the world of animal welfare touched the Center directly in 2015, when she accepted the role of official spokesperson for Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Remember Me Thursday campaign. Her participation included the creation of a heartfelt public service announcement, encouraging the world to take part by sharing photos of their rescue pets on the fourth Thursday in September. She went even further, personally urging the entire Dancing with the Stars cast and crew to join in by passing out campaign t-shirts, enthusiastically sharing images of her own adopted pets (three dogs and two cats: Peanut, Buddy, Lola, Blizzard and Mimi) and displaying a symbolic candle on the judges table. Her social media posts and tweets single-handedly resulted in thousands of media impressions in a single day for the campaign, increasing awareness and touching the lives of shelter pets waiting for rescue. To date, Remember Me Thursday has championed pet adoption by uniting 180 countries, over 700 animal welfare organizations and over 865 million people on social media. Inaba’s contribution to this success has been significant.
Inaba’s arrival in San Diego a day before the award ceremony reminded Center staff, once again, what a true-animal lover she is. Inaba dedicated her extra day to visiting the Center’s campus, becoming fast friends with a grey orphan cat named Vine, meeting each one of the pets up for adoption, and engaging with the therapy bunnies, horses and llamas.
“I am so honored to receive the Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Humane Award for doing something that brings so much happiness and joy to my life,” Inaba said. “Animals are special creatures, they provide us unconditional love. They are always dependable and they always find a way to bring a smile to us all.”
The Humane Award is presented annually by Helen Woodward Animal Center President Mike Arms to a person or entity that has made a significant positive impact on the animal welfare world – devoting their time, energy and resources to improving the quality of life for orphaned animals. Past recipients include Kristen Bell, Diane Keaton, Betty White, Jackson Galaxy, Tippi Hedren and Linda Blair. This year’s presentation was a special one for Arms who championed the International Remember Me Thursday campaign.
“We were honored to present this award to such a truly outstanding individual,” Arms said. “Carrie Ann Inaba has dedicated so much of herself and her life to these beautiful creatures and he has our enduring respect and unwavering friendship.”
See the touching tribute to Carrie Ann’s work for animals here.