2012 Pet Hero Award Winner - Jill Rappaport
Pet Humanitarian of the Year
Jill Rappaport was always known for her stellar work on the red carpet, interviewing every A-LIST star and covering all of the entertainment award shows. She was NBC Today Show's "star reporter" in every sense of the word and for 16 years she was the 'go to' gal for "All Things Entertainment!" But in 2007 her life and career changed forever when her beloved dog Jack got bone cancer, had his leg amputated and underwent chemotherapy. While chronicling his recovery on Today, the response was so overwhelming for her beautiful 11 year old German Shepherd that she realized animal issues were her true calling. Sheasked her boss at NBC to change her beat to cover "All Things Animals!"
So after 16 years of being the entertainment correspondent, her title was changed to "Animal Advocate". She jokes, "I went from the red carpet to the wee-wee pad and I couldn't be happier!"
In her popular, award-winning "Bow To Wow" series, shelter dogs get a makeover and a second chance at life and a loving home, with a 100% adoption success record to date. Through her work, she has helped to save hundreds of horses that were severely abused. She also keeps TODAY viewers informed about the latest health trends for pets.
Jill Rappaport is also the bestselling author of "People We Know, Horses they Love," and has written three other books, including "Jack & Jill: The Miracle Dog with a Happy Tail To Tell," about her dog Jack and "500 Cats".
In addition to the Pet Philanthropy Circle’s Pet Humanitarian Award, Jill has received numerous others. She is the first recipient of the "Voice for the Animals Award" for her work on and off the screen from the Humane Society of the United States, presented by Matt Lauer. The Humane Society also awarded her the Genesis Award twice, which is the preeminent award of the animal world. She also received the coveted MSPCA-Angell Animal Hall of Fame Award in Boston and the New York City Parks Citizen award from the Mounted Auxiliary unit. She was also honored for Outstanding Community Service from the LI Veterinary Medical Association and received the coveted 2012 Global Pet Expo Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contributions to the Pet Industry Award. Jill was also named the ASPCA Good Will Equine Welfare Ambassador in 2011 and ended that year with the honor of ringing the NYSE Opening Bell for animal welfare and adoption.
Jill’s commitment to rescue never stops; she just introduced her Rescued Me Collection, a line of neon leashes/collars, horse halters and lead lines promoting rescue and adoption. The clever sayings include "Opt to Adopt", "I'm a Heart Melter from a Shelter", "Smitten With My Rescue Kitten" and "A Shelter Cat is Where It’s At". Rappaport insisted the collection be made in the USA with a portion of the proceeds benefiting animal cancer and shelters. She accomplished another first, while promoting the line on HSN, Jill persuaded the producers to allow her to bring along a dozen cats and dogs to be used as the models for her collection. Another success - all were adopted.
Later this summer Jill will launch her equestrian jewelry line called Hannah’s Heart, named after her cherishedlate mare. Jill designed the line exclusively with London Jewelers and will benefit the ASPCA. In between her shows at NBC and public service engagements, Jill spends time on her western horse ranch in Water Mill. She refers to her 5 rescue dogs and 7 horses as her "fur angels", but she also deserves the recognition of being an animal angel herself. Thank you, Jill, for your commitment to animal wellbeing.
Pet Hero Awards