2016 Waggy Awards by The Tailwagger’s Foundation honor STS Founder Graham Bloem

February 24, 2016

The evening of February 21st, 2016 was one to remember for Shelter to Soldier™ Founder, Graham Bloem. The Tailwagger’s Foundation honored Graham’s work with Shelter to Soldier™ with the 2016 Waggy Award. Presenting the award was Mitch O’Farrell, councilman proudly representing the constituents of the 13th Council District in the City of Los Angeles. The Tailwaggers Foundation provides funding to qualified 501c non-profit organizations who provide life-saving treatments to sick and injured animals. Most animal rescue organizations spend between 40 and 50 percent of their budgets to medically treat sick and injured animals. Rescue organizations simply do not have the budget to treat all the animals that come through their doors. In many cases, bringing an injured dog or cat back to a state of health can mean the difference between being adopted and euthanasia. The Tailwaggers Foundation is built to assist the rescue organizations in their efforts to  help more animals get healthy and find Forever Homes.

The 2016 Waggy Awards ceremony was hosted by HGTV stars Clive Pearse and Lisa LaPorta who kept the audience rolling in laughter. Other award winners include Jane Velez-Mitchell and Matt Dabaneh. Jane is an award-winning television anchor (CNN, HLN), author (iWant, Addict Nation, Exposed: The Secret Life of Jodi Arias), and online journalist (janeUnchained.com). On television and outside of it, Jane dedicates her time and resources to various charitable and humane causes. She is well known for her animal rights advocacy and is a vegan and an environmentalist. In July 2009, Farm Animal Rights Movement awarded Jane the Celebrity Animal Activist Award. While working at Celebrity Justice, her reporting on animal cruelty earned that show Genesis Awards from the Humane Society of the United States. She earned additional Genesis Awards for her show Issues in 2010. PETA awarded her their “Movers and Shakers Award” in 2012. Her award was presented by friend, prolific TV producer and TMZ founder, Harvey Levin.

Matt Dabaneh was elected to the State Assembly in 2013. He represents Greater Los Angeles’s 45th District, which includes Calabasas, Encino, and Sherman Oaks (among others). Matt authored the Research Animal Adoption Bill (AB 147) in 2015. The bill, signed into law in October, requires that California research laboratories receiving tax-payer funding offer healthy dogs and cats — no longer needed for research purposes—to non-profit animal rescue organizations. Said Matt: “California — a leader in animal welfare legislation — has passed a common-sense and compassionate law to ensure that research animals are given a second chance at life. No longer will it be acceptable to euthanize adoptable dogs and cats.” His presenter was LA comedian and host of Two Girls One Pup, a pet-friendly comedy experience designated by L.A. Weekly as one of the “10 Best New Stand-Up Shows in L.A,” Monique Madrid.

Linda Blair, actress in “The Exorcist”, author of “Going Vegan,” and Founder of the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation, was also a presenter at the awards ceremony.

Perhaps the most rewarding part of the evening was meeting all of the wonderful people involved with The Tailwagger’s Foundation, and the animal activists from the Los Angeles and Southern California regions. Shelter to Soldier™ would like to express a heartfelt thank you to all of the sponsors of the evening who made The Waggy Awards the success that it was and to all of the animal activists doing incredible work for our friends with no voice. We feel so proud to have been recognized next to individuals who are changing the way society views animal rights and welfare, and who are truly making a difference in the world.






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