American Hero Veterinarian Winner

Dr. Annette M. Sysel

Vero Beach, Florida

Dr. Annette Sysel has worked tirelessly as the elected President of the Bauer Research Foundation, dedicated to strengthening the relationship between people and pets. She has worked full time (without taking any salary) to answer more than 2,500 emails from owners whose pets have cancer, directing them to board-certified veterinary oncologists and specialty clinics and identifying possible clinical trials tailored to each inquiry.

Dr. Sysel has made a significant impact in fostering the human-animal bond by educating and working with pet owners to navigate the unknown and fearful process of treating pet cancers.

In addition, Dr. Sysel has been awarded numerous research grants and has conducted and published several studies to identify a novel cancer biomarker in both canine and feline cancer to aid in diagnosis, treatment decisions, and monitoring of disease. The results of her study evaluating biomarkers in feline and canine cancers was recently published in Oncotarget (ranked in the top 6% of cancer journals). Dr. Sysel is currently working to develop a serum test to help distinguish between cancer and inflammation, which will benefit pets by possibly minimizing or eliminating invasive diagnostic procedures.

Dr. Sysel has passionately dedicated her career and her life to her profession and to the health and support of pets and the people that care for them. In short, because of Dr. Sysel’s excellence in clinical practice and research and most importantly her generosity as a resource to pet owners, Dr. Sysel exemplifies the American Hero Veterinarian and is worthy of this honor.

American Hero Veterinary Technician Winner

Julie Carlson

Phoenix, Arizona

In 2008, Julie Carlson met a homeless veteran who was living in his car with his German Shepherd. He saved every penny he was given so he could take his dog to the veterinarian for regular exams and arthritis medications. Julie realized that there were many others like this man and decided to start Vets for Vets’ Pets, an organization of volunteers representing over a dozen Valley hospitals, clinics, and schools.

Julie works with her partner, Dr. Connie Anderson of Animal House Veterinary Hospital, to solicit donations and sponsorships all year long. Each February, the Arizona StandDown fills the Coliseum with homeless and at-risk veterans. Julie organizes her volunteers and makes sure everything runs smoothly while at the same time meeting government leaders and policymakers. She trains, organizes, and runs a group of over 100 volunteers to provide pet boarding, foster care resources, spay/neuter surgeries, vaccines, wound care, grooming, and more. Pet supplies including food, collars, leashes, toys, bowls, and beds are given away at the StandDown; the 2015 event saw the disbursement of over three tons of pet food.

Julie personifies what it means to be an American: she gives freely of herself and uses her skills and knowledge to help others lift themselves up so that they may someday do the same for someone else in need. I hope you can see how deserving she is of this honor.