The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies has established several awards to honor those who have made a difference in animal welfare. Recipients of the awards are recognized at the VFHS annual conference and honor the achievements of the prior year.

There is someone out there who deserves to be recognized and we want to give them the recognition they deserve!  The award categories are listed below.  We depend upon you to tell us about the great work your colleagues are doing.  You may download the award nomination form here to submit your nominees for consideration, or send your information via email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  The deadline to Cast Your Ballot is March 1, 2018.

CONGRATULATIONS to our 2017 Award Winners! Read about them here



The Advocacy Award is presented to a person or organization who has made significant improvements in animal welfare on a policy level.  This award recognizes those who influence and instigate changes within a private organization, to local ordinances, or to state or national legislation.


This award was established in honor of Sandy Lerner, a philanthropist and animal welfare advocate who generously supported the goals and objectives of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies through funding from the Bosack & Kruger Foundation that she and her husband established.  This award is presented to an Active Member that has made a significant contribution to reducing unplanned births of companion animals through spay/neuter services and resources within the community.


Former VFHS President Elizabeth Sills established the Bravo Award in 1992.  Liz became Vice President of the Federation in 1973 and a year later filled a vacated position becoming President.  She held that position until 1989 and was able to accomplish many things.  This award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated a commitment of outstanding service to promote animal welfare, who has been instrumental in making an impact within an animal welfare organization, and who is a reflection of the values and standards set by the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies.


The Companion Award was established to honor an animal that has made a tremendous contribution to human lives, and who exemplifies the strength and value of the human/animal bond.  This award is presented to an animal who has provided a benefit to its human companion or community through saving, preserving, or improving human life.


This award was named in memory of Pearl Twyne, who founded the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies in 1959.  This annual award is presented to an Active Member organization that has demonstrated strong leadership qualities and whose accomplishments reflect the VFHS Strategic Plan's goal of reducing the euthanasia of healthy and treatable dogs and cats.


The Humanitarian Award was named in memory of Jim Godwin, who was a driving force for new and expanded legislation in animal welfare.  He saved thousands of animals from the hands of cruelty and contributed tremendously to the advancement of animal welfare.  This award is presented to an animal control officer who has made a significant positive impact on the image of the animal control profession within his or her community, established positive relationships within his or her community, and demonstrated overall excellence in the performance of his or her job.


The Longevity Award is presented to an individual or organization that has shown dedicated service to animal welfare for more than a decade.  The recipient’s contributions may be in working for policy change, sheltering, reducing euthanasia, or any other efforts which exhibit exemplary dedication to improving the lives of companion animals over a significant amount of time.  


This award is presented to an individual who has devoted significant time and effort to improving the lives of companion animals through volunteer work in his or her community.  The recipient of this award exemplifies the value of compassion, and is tirelessly devoted to those animals living in unfortunate circumstances, whether they are in a shelter, on the streets, or in unfortunate private ownership situations.


The TNR Hero award offers special recognition to those who work tirelessly to serve community cats.  This award is given to a person or organization that has devoted extensive time and resources to promoting participation in trap-neuter-return efforts in the Commonwealth.


The Veterinary Partnership Award was established to recognize a veterinarian who gives time and services to promote animal welfare in partnership with an agency that provides direct care to animals.  This award is presented to a veterinarian who donates services and support to a local animal care and control, animal shelter or rescue group.