This year’s Dog’s Best Friend Award, presented by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, is going to Dr. Cindy Otto. Dr. Otto’s been instrumental in working at ground zero following the 9-11 terrorist attacks, and is also the founder of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center (WDC).
Dr. Otto is just the sixth person to win the award, and has secured a $5,000 donation for her working dog center. The center was opened in 2012 after Dr. Otto spent a lot of time working with the search and rescue dogs involved in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. The WDC is considered the nation’s premier research, training and educational facility that is dedicated to providing the best of the best when it comes to detection dogs intended to be used for public health and safety.
The dogs that are trained at the WDC can end up learning a vast number of skills in detection. They learn how to detect diabetes, ovarian cancer, narcotics detection, explosives detection, law enforcement training and urban search and rescue to name just a few. Dr. Otto and some of the dogs training at the facility will be on hand Saturday, November 19th at 11:45am for a featured performance.
Dr. Otto has been involved with detection dogs for a while now, and it wasn’t just during 9-11 where she and her specially trained K9 heroes have leant a helping paw. They were also on hand to help out in 1999 when hurricane Floyd struck, and in 2005 for hurricane Katrina.
“It is an honor to receive this award, but it is really the other way around,” said Dr. Otto. “I feel like I have been privileged to have been befriended by amazing dogs throughout my life! I have connected with dogs for as long as I can remember and they have all impacted me in one way or another. The search and rescue dogs have worked their way into my heart and my soul.”
“It is their inspiration that motivated me to learn to train my own dog and to dedicate my career to working dogs. Every day I am able to advance the research, training and care needed to ensure that all working dog heroes have the best opportunity to partner with us to save lives.”
“As a Past Trustee of the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Veterinary Medicine, I am very much aware of Dr. Otto’s dedication, devotion and leadership at the Working Dog Center,” said Wayne Ferguson, KCP President. “The Kennel Club of Philadelphia is very honored to present the 6th Annual Dogs’ Best Friend Award to Dr. Otto.