2012 Pet Hero Award Winner - Dolce and Dr. Cynthia Otto

Amazing Pet of the Year


Each and every pet owner believes his or her animal deserves the “Amazing Pet Award” and the Board of Directors of the Pet Philanthropy Circle agree; however, only one pet per year can win. The challenge of selecting a single animal for this award required the direction of many pet advocates who helped screen numerous candidates.  They came up with a real winner, Dolce, leaving the challenge of ever finding a future “Amazing Pet” that is accomplished as this one. Dolce is the "spokes-dog" for the University of Pennsylvania, Vet School.   In association with the Vet Pets Visitation Program, Dolce has spent 8 years with had over 150 visits to the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House and numerous other visits to libraries, summer camps, local conferences and events.  In addition to Dolce’s civic responsibilities, he competes in agility and fly-ball and entertains his fans as a Champion Trick Dog. In addition to his 150 bag of tricks, he has many attributes we feel deserve recognition.


This year’s “Amazing Pet” winner was a rescue puppy dying from the parvovirus.  Many dogs with parvo are euthanized as the disease is highly contagious and many owners are not willing or able to extend the resources to save these precious lives. We hope we can use this example to demonstrate the importance of giving all rescue pets a chance and find homes for them.


On March 13th, 2012, Dolce’s human Mother, Dr. Cindy Otto, was honored by the US troops for contributions made in training military service dogs. She received an American flag that had been flown over Afghanistan by US servicemen in appreciation of the part these animals served in saving human lives.


The fact that she works with military working dogs as a consultant for the Canine Tactical Combat Casualty Care Committee is only one of her many accomplishments. Doctor Otto is trained and certified as a veterinarian specializing in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care. She attended the Ohio State University where she received a Bachelors of Animal Science and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. She is currently a tenured associate professor of Critical Care at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia, PA. At the University of Pennsylvania since 1991, she works in the Ryan Veterinary Hospital Emergency Service, teaches veterinary students and performs research. Dr. Otto has also been involved with search and rescue dogs and disaster medicine as a member of the Pennsylvania Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1 between 1994 and 2010 (including deployments to Hurricane Floyd and 9/11), and the Veterinary Medical Assistance Team-2 since 1999 (deploying to Hurricane Katrina).


She is the founding director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center. She served as the co-chair of Finding One Another’s Tribute to the Search and Rescue Dogs of 9/11. She has been monitoring the health and behavior of Urban Search and Rescue canines since October of 2001, through an AKC-CHF funded grant (now in its third renewal).  She has established the AKC-CAR Detection Dog DNA bank. She is active in educating search dog handlers and members of the working dog community in canine care. She was named Pennsylvania’s 2002 “Veterinarian of the Year” and received an Alumni Recognition Award in 2006 and the OSU Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2008 from the Ohio State University.


Among Dolce’s other talents, he paints and plays the piano.  Both Dolce and Dr. Otto will be performing at PetFest.  Dr. Otto has agreed to be a guest speaker.  When asked if a piano needed for Dolce, Dr. Otto replied, “Dolce brings his own piano!” Top dog? No doubt!


WOW!  Just imagine what  an amazing dog can do with an owner that loves and trains him.

Both Dolce and Dr. Otto are an inspiration to all of us.





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