ORLANDO, FLA. — The Pet Advocacy Network has awarded six professionals and organizations for their contributions to the pet industry. The association presented the awards during a reception following its annual meeting on March 21 in Orlando.

The awards recognize notable achievements toward promoting pet care, advancing animal health and advocating on behalf of pets’ wellbeing.

“We take pride in recognizing these outstanding leaders and organizations who have made significant contributions to advance the positive impact of the responsible pet care community on pets and pet ownership,” said John Mack, board chair at Pet Advocacy Network and founder and chief executive officer of Reptiles by Mack. “Their dedication to promoting responsible pet care and animal health and wellbeing has made an important impact on the lives of pets and their owners.”

Left to right: Mike Bober, Jim Seidewand and John MackLeft to right: Mike Bober, Jim Seidewand and John Mack | Source: Pet Advocacy Network

The association awarded Jim Seidewand, owner of Pet World, with the Nancy G. Knutson Lifetime Achievement Award for his more than 50 years of service to the Pet Advocacy Network, New York-based pet owners and the pet care community.

Seidewand has served on the association’s board of directors for decades, during which time he chaired its Government Affairs Committee and played a key role in developing best practices for pet retailers. He also helped establish New York’s pet warranty law and its approach to invasive species, as well as represented various pet shops throughout the state, defending their pet sales.

The North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) received the Pet Care Community Leaders of the Year Award from the Pet Advocacy Network. The NAVC recently hosted its 40th annual VMX 2023, which boasted 9,500 first-time attendees and offered more than 1,300 hours of education to support the veterinary care community.

The NAVC also recently launched the Embrace tool that seeks to help animal care professionals learn more about pet health legislation, as well as provide them the opportunity to communicate with lawmakers.

Left to right: Mike Bober, Whitney Miller and John MackLeft to right: Mike Bober, Whitney Miller and John Mack. | Source: Pet Advocacy Network

Whitney Miller, DVM, chief veterinarian at Petco, received the Allan L. Levey Chair’s Award of Excellence for her continued work with the Pet Advocacy Network. Miller worked on the association’s Zoonosis Committee and has been a vocal advocate for veterinary care. She has helped foster close collaboration between the veterinary services space and the pet industry.

Patrick Donston, president of Absolutely Fish, received the Pet Advocacy Network Ambassador of the Year Award for his commitment to promoting the association’s mission. Donston is a member of the Pet Advocacy Network’s Membership Committee and has leveraged his relationships to help the association grow.

Lewis “Buddy” Waskey of the American Federation of Aviculture received the Pet Advocate of the Year Award for his legislative efforts. Waskey leveraged his 40 years of experience in avian breeding and exhibiting to help the association increase its communication and work with the avian breeding community to aid in the advancement of the USDA’s avian regulations. He has also helped the association establish new relationships to address avian regulations and their impacts on breeders, retailers, distributors and manufacturers.

Left to right: Mike Bober, Lewis “Buddy” Waskey and John MackLeft to right: Mike Bober, Lewis “Buddy” Waskey and John Mack. | Source: Pet Advocacy Network

Red Rover, Greater Good and PetSmart Charities received the Power of Pets Award for their “Don’t Forget the Pets” campaign. The collaborative campaign seeks to help human service organizations and animal shelters develop programs to support both humans and pets in need. The campaign offers help with fundraising strategies, human services, animal welfare and building techniques to support survivors of domestic violence and their pets.

“We commend these honorees for their dedication to pets, pet owners and the responsible pet care community,” said Mike Bober, president and chief executive officer of the Pet Advocacy Network. “From helping shape positive legislation to providing education and resources to fostering strategic collaborations, their work serves as inspiration to us all.”

Stay up to date on the latest pet food processing industry headlines on our News page.