(New York, NY ” February 12, 2007) ” Lindsay Hocker of Milan, Ill., is the recipient of the Annual Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) Junior Education Award. Hocker received the award for her achievement in grades, volunteer work with dogs and writing. Hocker’s name was announced by the sponsors of this year’s award, Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists and 24-Hour Emergency Care, at the DWAA Annual Banquet at the Affinia Manhattan Hotel, New York, N.Y., on Sunday, February 11, 2007.
“I feel honored and really surprised to win this award. The fact that it combines my two greatest passions, my love for animals and writing, makes it very special to me. The award money will make attending college next year much easier for me financially. It’s a great honor,” said Hocker.
Hocker began her love affair with shelter pets from visits to an area shelter with her grandmother. Now a sophomore at the University of Iowa, she double-majors in Journalism and Religious Studies. Despite her busy school schedule, Hocker juggles volunteer work at four animal shelters, two in Iowa and two in the Quad City area. No task is too small for her if it means caring for the animals.
“Ever since I can remember, my grandma and I would occasionally go to the Quad City Animal Welfare Center to look at the animals and leave a small donation. When I was 15, my grandma and I completed volunteer orientation and training, and I really loved spending time with animals and seeing them get adopted. I loved seeing all the animals, and wanted to help them find homes,” said Hocker.
The sponsor of this year’s award, Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists and 24-Hour Emergency Care, is involved in many New York City community initiatives to educate the pet-owning public about responsible pet ownership and the specialty services available for pets. The hospital is also a sponsor of the American Cancer Society’s DogsWalk Against Cancer, and works with the Mayor’s Alliance For Animals at their pet adoption festivals throughout New York City. FAVS also volunteered at the American Kennel Club’s Responsible Dog Ownership Day this past year.
“Lindsay is an exceptionally talented young adult. She embodies our philosophy of giving back to the pet community. Our involvement with DWAA and our commitment in co-sponsoring this scholarship is another way in which we have looked to involve ourselves. Co-sponsoring this junior scholarship supports and fosters a young professional writer’s efforts to provide education and awareness to the pet-owning public. We are pleased to have this opportunity to applaud and reward her efforts,” said Sheri Berger, DVM, DACVO, medical director of Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists.
As a volunteer, Hocker is director of community education for SPEAK of Iowa City, Iowa, where she plans and executes educational activities regarding responsible pet ownership. At Witty Kitties of Swishteer, Iowa, she cleans the special needs cat rooms and socializes the animals. At the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center of Iowa City, Iowa, Hocker socializes animals, interacts with the public and writes for the newsletter. At the Quad Cities Greyhound Adoption center in Maysville, Iowa, she cleans kennels and feeds and medicates the dogs, washes the dishes and does laundry. At Quad City Animal Welfare Center of Milan, Ill., she volunteers for Kind Kids Camp, socializes animals, interacts with the public, designs and produces posters and fliers for pet adoptions, writes for the Web site and newsletter and photographs animals for the Web site.
Hocker has a special connection to the greyhound shelter. While volunteering at the Quad Cities Greyhound Adoption Center, she quickly fell in love with all of the greyhounds because of their gentle natures and fun-loving personalities. She hopes to adopt two retired racing greyhounds and a mixed breed like her beloved family dog Duke. Her dad found Duke in the middle of the street when he was an eight-week-old puppy nine years ago. He’s part collie, husky, shepherd and chow.
In addition to her volunteerism, Hocker also works every other weekend during the school year and as needed at the Quad City Animal Welfare Center where she interacts with the public, assists adopters in selecting pets, cleans cages and assists in the surgical area after surgery, cleaning and holding the animals for shots and blood draws.
“I hope when I graduate, I will be able to work as a humane educator/volunteer coordinator for an animal shelter, and maybe one day run a shelter. I’m also considering writing for a newspaper, or working for an organization like the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago or the ASPCA, or writing for an animal-oriented magazine. Whatever I do, I will use my experiences to teach others, and continue shelter volunteering,” said Hocker.
In addition to the DWAA award, Hocker is the recipient of the Quad City Times Young Journalist Salute to Academics and Achievements Award, the President’s Volunteer Service Award and the Rock Island High School Student Recognition Award. For more information on the shelters where Lindsay volunteers, visit www.qcawc.org, www.qcgreyhoundadoption.org ,www.icanimalcenter.org and www.wittykitties.org/.