Luncheon to be held on March 6, 2011

Hillsborough, NJ - The New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association (NJVMA) will be inducting Samson, an eleven year-old Shetland pony along with two other outstanding animals and two exceptional organizations into the 16th Animal Hall of Fame. The induction luncheon will be held at the Hamilton Park Conference Center in Florham Park, NJ on March 6, 2011.

Samson, the “Kissing Pony,” has really established a name for himself in New Jersey. Straight out of a field just five years ago, with no training, Samson has been able to captivate the hearts of residents at numerous nursing homes across the state.  Five months out of the year, Samson visits nursing homes, where his presence provides a degree of comfort to the elderly, who are confined to indoor environments. What makes Samson even more special is his expression of unconditional love--- as kisses are granted at any time upon request.

Joining Samson on the list of inductees are Kanga, a six year-old Chihuahua; Tilly, a four year-old English Bulldog; the cats of Tabby’s Place, a cat sanctuary in Ringoes, NJ; and the greyhounds of the Greyhound Friends of New Jersey Prison Program.

“This year’s winners exemplify the uniqueness of the human-animal bond. They truly are real examples of what people can do for animals and what animals can do for people,” explained Dr. Peter Falk, Chair of the Animal Hall of Fame Committee.

Following are more details about this year’s winners:

Kanga- A six year-old Chihuahua, born with no front legs, is an inspiration to people of all ages. Kanga visits hospitals, schools, and participates in fundraisers for worthy causes. Despite her disability, she is full of life and her positive spirit lightens up classrooms where kids see her as an inspiration. Kanga is a reminder to those around her that anything is possible.

Tilly- A four year-old English bulldog has managed to alter common misconceptions about bulldogs due to her unusual relaxed and harmless demeanor around children at the Monmouth County Medical Center. Tilly is a frequent visitor of the Valerie Fund Center for Children with Cancer and Blood Disorders. Tilly is not only a positive distraction but a playmate for children, as young as two, who are undergoing serious cancer treatments and are confined to a hospital environment.

Tabby’s Place- Tabby’s Place is a cat sanctuary located in Ringoes, NJ that serves as an adoption center, hospital, and a hospice for cats.  Tabby’s Place currently houses 90 rescued cats, many of which have endured unpleasant experiences. Over 800 cats have been adopted since the facility was established. The 100 volunteers at Tabby’s play an active role in socializing the cats and helping them build trust and bond with humans.The cats are true companions and have touched the lives of the volunteers in a number of ways.

Greyhound Friends of New Jersey Prison Program- Established in 2002, the Greyhound Friends of New Jersey Prison Program provides both rehabilitative benefits for incarcerated youth and needed socialization and obedience training for rescued greyhounds. The program takes place at the Mountainview Youth Correctional Facility in Annandale, NJ and couples 11 greyhounds with 22 inmates assigned to train, socialize and care for them. The intent of the program mirrors the strength of the human-animal bond in that the greyhounds become companions of these troubled young men and in return, they receive the care and support that they deserve.

The Animal Hall of Fame was established by New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association to publicly celebrate the human-animal bond. Over 80 animals, including dogs, cats, horses, and birds have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Visit the Animal Hall of Fame page at for more details including video footage of past award winners.