If you haven't seen it already, The American Dog magazine has launched the Humanitarian Awards - if you haven't voted already, you have until December 5, 2010 - and you can vote every day until then. There are some names you'll no doubt recognize like Best Friends Animal Society, Nathan Winograd, Rescue Ink and Shorty Rossie, as well as some you might not know - Tamira Thayne & Dawn Ashby of Dogs Deserve Better, Pinups for PitBulls, Surf Dog Ricochet and Sarge the Elderbull.
Even though I read and write about this stuff pretty much every day, I was still amazed by the number of people (and dogs) involved in helping dogs and the number of dogs helping people too. The categories range from general rescue groups, special interest groups (ending puppy mills or unchaining dogs), "spokesdogs" therapy dogs and service dog organizations. One concern close to my heart is also one of the largest categories: "Voice for Saving the Pit Bulls".
(One name that is missing is Mimi Ausland, the founder of FreeKibble.com, although their sponsor Halopets is listed. If you haven't signed up for your daily FreeKibble reminder do - two simple questions a day - learn a bit and donate a bit for free.)
While it's not clear if the winners are going to receive a huge cash prize for their cause-of-choice, the publicity, discussion and awareness raised is great too. In a way, the Humanitarian Awares are another "awareness event", which are as important for the education the public as they are for placing pets or raising money.
So please do vote every day and get to know some of the individuals and groups you don't see on TV or read about in the headlines. Share some of the links on Twitter or Facebook and email a few friends or better yet your government representatives a few interesting articles. Sign up for a blog or two. Make a small donation.
Working together we can improve the lot of dogs everywhere.