The latest round of the contest brought in 4,499 total votes cast by pet owners across the U.S. through the Pets Best Facebook page.
“We developed this contest to acknowledge exceptional veterinarians around the nation,” said Dr. Jack Stephens, founder of Pets Best. “Dr. Hernandez is one such individual, known for her compassionate care and genuine concern for her clients.”
Dr. Hernandez, who practices at Bellerose Animal Hospital in Bellerose, N.Y. won the contest after receiving 1,566 online votes. She was among hundreds of veterinarians nominated for the seasonal award. The contest’s six other finalists received a significant number of votes.
“I feel honored and privileged to be nominated,” said Dr. Hernandez. “To be able to have an impact in someone’s life to the point that they acknowledge it publicly [means] a great deal to me. It’s uplifting and this allows me to continue this journey of service and the vocation of helping those that can’t talk.”
As this round’s winner, Dr. Hernandez received $1,000 from Pets Best to treat animals in need. Dr. Hernandez and her team at Bellerose Animal Hospital plan to use the $1,000 cash prize to create a fund that will be used to help clients who cannot afford medical treatment for their pets.
Cindy Feuerstein-Kurtz, the pet owner who nominated Dr. Hernandez, also received $200 from Pets Best. To pay it forward, she has opted to donate her $200 prize to the staff at Bellerose Animal Hospital.
“I am ecstatically happy for Dr. Hernandez and Bellerose Animal Hospital,” said Feuerstein-Kurtz. “They all are truly deserving of the honor. Thank you so much for this opportunity and appreciating our heartfelt story.”
Dr. Hernandez sees herself as an advocate for the pets who enter her clinic as patients, an experience she finds highly rewarding.
“I get to positively impact a human life by bringing back to health their furry companions,” she said. “It is a big responsibility to convey what my patients need to their owners.”