Honoring heroes has finally gone to the dogs. And the cats. Seven dogs, one cat and one person will be honored Saturday at the Friends of Animal Care and Control’s third annual awards dinner sponsored by PetSmart.
The awards recognize dogs or cats who help people and spread joy along the way.
Roberta Pederson of Phoenix is the first person given an award by the group. She has fostered numerous puppies, funded a shelter and transported pets for free spay and neuters.
"I don’t mind sharing the stage with cats and dogs at all," Pederson said. "My passion since I was little was helping animals."
Maria Brunner, founder of the nonprofit group, came up with the idea of honoring pets.
"I wanted people to know what the animals meant to our group and anyone they come into contact with," Brunner said. "Hurricane Katrina brought to light that dogs and cats suffer, too."
Pet winners are Sophie, a golden Labrador retriever, and Ewee, a Lhasa apso, from Fountain Hills. When they saw their owner suffered a head injury, they worked to get her husband at her side.
Other animals honored from Mesa are golden retriever Bear, who woke his owner who had fallen during a shower, and Miz Diva. Boo, a domestic short-haired cat from Phoenix, was found under a van at 5 weeks old, infested with fleas and in need of eye surgery. Czechoslovakian sable German shepherd Sirahn, a member of the Phoenix Police Department canine unit, and German shepherd Sadie, who works with children who are overcoming a life-threatening disease, are from Phoenix.
Tickets to the dinner are $175.
Hero Awards dinner
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa, 5225 E. Pathfinder Drive, Phoenix
Information: (602) 840-2843 or