American Hero Veterinarian Winner

Dr. David Chico

Albany, NY

David Chico, VMD, MPH, exemplifies the American Hero Veterinarian through his commitment to the betterment of the health and well-being of animals and through his fostering of the human-animal bond in his community, nationally and internationally. He improves the lives of all those he touches, human and animal alike.

Dr. Chico approached PAWS (a program that assists low-income, HIV+ pet parents by assisting with vet care) proposing a free quarterly Pet Wellness Clinic that he would staff. His idea allows those with a compromised immune system to enjoy safely the love of their pet. The stigma around HIV is still strong and many HIV+ folks are alone. As we say, “Imagine having a life-threatening illness; now imagine going through it alone.” Ten years later, these clinics continue and have grown. He answers emergency calls at all hours and makes house calls for those too ill to come to the clinic. Dr. Chico also volunteers with Animals Lebanon in Beirut (an NGO that works to improve animal welfare in Lebanon). He joins the staff providing life-saving care to severely abused and neglected animals. He adopted Habib, a disabled dog from Lebanon.

Dr. Chico also has worked tirelessly on animal cruelty cases through his employment with New York State Agriculture and Markets as well as with the ASPCA and on disaster relief with International Fund for Animal Welfare. He has deployed on several large dog fighting and neglect cases and participated in disaster relief after many hurricanes. And these are only a few examples of his service!

American Hero Veterinary Nurse Winner

Tammy Boland

Oceanport, NJ

Tammy Boland has saved hundreds of our canine companions over the last 11+ years, through her non-profit Pick Your Paw Animal Rescue. Tammy’s journey with rescuing dogs began by adopting Ella, a 9-year-old German Shepherd, who was soon to be euthanized. Tammy networks with some of the busiest shelters in the NJ-NY-PA area, where she pulls the most at-risk dogs: seniors, those with medical needs and pit bulls. Tammy has seen how a dog who has been abused, neglected or left behind will forgive and trust again. And, with her work as a vet tech, she knows how a dog in physical or emotional pain can be treated and helped. This is what keeps her going, this is her mission. She has helped fighting and bait dogs find a new lease on life. She has arranged for emergency surgeries. She has helped dogs recover from chronic medical issues. She has provided a safe haven through her foster home network. Her fellow vet techs and staff are also invested in the dogs she brings into the animal hospital where she has worked for 19 years, often fostering “Tammy’s dogs.” She recently rescued the “5 Minions” – pit bulls saved from fighting – to see them play on grass for the first time. She remembers when her son Evan was a 1st grader and he convinced his classmates to ask their parents to adopt a pit bull. Tammy plans to continue to guide the next generation of animal lovers and advocates. Although Tammy asks for no recognition, her rescue organization is truly the “little rescue group that can.”