A Passion for Compassion

Category: Animal Heroes, Blog, Coalition Corner, Summer 2015 404 0

Introducing the winners of San Diego Humane Society’s Compassion Awards

Each year, San Diego Humane Society recognizes the extraordinary individuals and businesses that have gone the extra mile to ease the suffering of animals in need. Meet the 2015 winners of the Animal Compassion Awards.


“To me, compassion means taking time and energy away from yourself to give it to others in need.” – Officer Patrick Kelley


Coming off a graveyard shift in March 2014, San Diego Police Department SWAT Officer Patrick Kelley received a call that saved a life. Responding to a home in City Heights, he witnessed a shocking sight: a scared puppy, swollen, in pain, missing hair, covered in scabs and swarming flies. Kelley drew closer, bending down to offer the pup his hand for a gentle lick.

“My fiancée says he licked the right hand that day,” reflects Kelley, who left the home but couldn’t leave the image of the dog behind. He reached out to fellow animal lovers on the force, including Sergeant Sharon McFalls, who was instrumental in what happened next. The scared dog was removed from the home and taken to San Diego Humane Society for treatment. Out of curiosity, Kelley checked in on him, and curiosity quickly turned into care for the pit bull/bulldog, who suffered from staph infection and mange. He inquired about fostering the dog when he was healthy enough, and made the commitment to nurture him back to health.

After four months of fostering, the dog, now named Richard, became an official member of the Kelley household. More than a year later, Kelley is amazed at how far Richard has come. “He’s a tough little dog who’s been through a lot,” he says. “The coolest part is seeing him sleep in his bed, knowing where he came from and knowing that now he’s safe.” 


“I’ve always felt that compassion is when you take action for something you’re passionate about—and that’s what the past 12 years have been for me.” – Amy Pat Rigney

IMG_0883AHorses of
Tir Na Nog

Amy Pat Rigney

It all started with an aging quarter horse named Casper. Now, 12 years later, Horses of Tir Na Nog serves as a sanctuary for more than 50 aging horses in San Diego’s East County, where abused, abandoned, and neglected horses live out their lives in peace and tranquility.

Amy Pat Rigney and Vanessa Malone founded Horses of Tir Na Nog in 2003, naming the sanctuary after an Irish myth of a land of youth, where no one ever grew old or sick. “Our intention was to serve the older horse population and provide a place where they get to just be horses,” Rigney says. “Here, it doesn’t matter how old our residents become. They’ll never grow older because the quality of their care will never decline.” horsesoftirnanog.org

Compassion Awards: Pet-Friendly Businesses

Hotel Indigo
Hotel Indigo
Best Pet-Friendly Hotel
Hotel Indigo
In addition to providing a wonderful hotel experience for guests and their pets, including locally sourced products, “Yappy Hours,” doggy bowls, treats, and beds, the Hotel Indigo team extends its compassion for animals through participation in a wide variety of charitable events that raise funds for animal and human welfare. hotelinsd.com
Best Pet Sitter
Dog Walks ’n More, LLC
Retired Marine Vicky Minneti shows the same compassion for animals as she did for her country, dedicating Dog Walks ’n More to going above and beyond to help pet parents in need. A San Diego Humane Society volunteer, Minneti aims to get one dog adopted every hour of her shift. dogwalksnmore.com
Best Dog Wash
South Bark Dog Wash
Compassion is the cornerstone of South Bark Dog Wash’s commitment to helping pets and their people live a healthy and happy life together. Staff focuses on providing kindness and concern for the health and well-being of the animals they serve, and educating customers about products and treatments they offer. southbark.com
Camp Run-A-Mutt
Camp Run-A-Mutt
Best Boarding Kennel
Camp Run-A-Mutt
With seven locations in San Diego County, Camp Run-A-Mutt is a community leader in cage-free boarding and doggie day care, offering indoor and outdoor fun and exercise, 24-hour supervision, full-service grooming, and, most of all, peace of mind that pets are being lovingly cared for when their people are away.  camprunamutt.com
Best Pet-Friendly Restaurant
Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ
With its huge outdoor patio, complete with giant projector screen and plenty of shade from the afternoon sun, Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ is the perfect casual dining spot for barbecue fans and their furry friends—who may even get lucky enough to score a safely cooked beef bone ready for chewing. bullssmokinbbq.com


Best Pet-Friendly Housing
13th and Market
Luxury living for people and their pets is at its prime at 13th and Market in the East Village, where on-site amenities include a fitness center, courtyard pool, rooftop lounge, and pet-walking area for the two pets allowed per apartment. udr.com
Doozydog! Club
Best Groomer
Doozydog! Club
Guided by the mantra, “Make them feel loved!,” Doozydog! Club is committed to providing a safe, healthy, and happy experience where fun is unleashed. With their modern dog grooming approach and state-of-the-art Style Bar, the staff treats dogs the way they want to be treated by surrounding them with good humans. doozydogclub.com
Best Dog Beach
North Beach on Coronado Island
Set far from the crowds near the Hotel Del, Coronado’s clean and friendly Dog Beach offers a wide expanse of sand neighboring North Island Naval Base. Bonus: Beach showers at the entrance allow you to rinse off your sandy pup before getting back in the car. coronado.ca.us


 Best Dog Park
Nate’s Point Dog Park
Located just off the Cabrillo Bridge in Balboa Park, Nate’s Point Dog Park offers a large, fenced-in space, open 24 hours a day for big dogs and little dogs to mix, mingle, and play. npdog.org
Best Pet Boutique
Dedicated to providing the best quality products to improve the health and happiness of dogs and cats, Muttropolis is more than a boutique; it’s a community partner. Staff show their compassion to less-fortunate animals by hosting monthly adoption events, rescuing shelter pets, and donating food, products, and money to local shelters. muttropolis.com


Best Pet–Friendly Restaurant: Patio on Lamont Street,  Slaters 50/50  Best Pet-Friendly Hotel: Hotel Palomar, Luv San Diego Surf, Hotel del Coronado • Best Pet-Friendly Housing: Alvista, Form 15 • Best Groomer: Because We Care, Best in Show Grooming, Dirty Dogs • Best Pet Sitter: Jen Loves Pets, Pridey Girl Petcare • Best Dog Beach: Ocean Beach • Best Dog Park: Fiesta Island • Best Dog Wash: Barkin’ Dales Dog Wash, Howlistic, Dunk’N Dog Wash • Best Boarding Kennel: Doozydog! Club, Holiday Pet Hotel


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