Lawrenceville woman named best in her field at the ninth annual American Humane Hero Dog Awards |

Lawrenceville woman named best in her field at the ninth annual American Humane Hero Dog Awards |

A pit bull who had been shot in the head and bloodhound suffering from breast cancer were destined for death, until they put into the arms of an angel, literally.

Angel Martin, who has worked as a nurse at Russell Ridge Animal Hospital and for its C.A.R.E. Fund (Companion Animal Rescue & Emergency Fund) in Lawrenceville for nearly a decade, was part of the surgery team that saved the lives of both dogs. The canines have since been adopted by families in Canada.

“No one would operate on them,” Martin, who lives in Braselton with her fiancé, Lance Callihan, said. “But we did.”

For her efforts, Martin was recently named 2019’s Veterinary Nurse by American Humane, who honored Martin after a nationwide search and tens of thousands of public votes online. She received her award at the Hero Dog Awards gala at the Beverly Hilton in California last month. Dr. Terry Morris from Durham, N.C., was named the American Hero Veterinarian at the ninth annual award ceremony presented by animal health company Zoetis Petcare.

“It was a pretty big deal and when I found out I was up through the award with four other technicians, I never expected to win,” Martin, 34, said. “But I really promoted the award and people started voting for me and when I found out I won, it was such a huge honor. I was shocked that so many people voted for me.”

Martin’s work to help remove the tumors and mend the other dog’s severe bullet wounds, which included a fracture jaw, saved the dogs.

“To us, veterinarians and veterinary nurses are heroes and we want to recognize the best of the best,” Dr. Robin Ganzert, the American Humane president and CEO, said in a statement. “Dr. Morris and Ms. Martin are remarkable animal welfare advocates and we are proud to spotlight their work in aiding the animals living in their communities and beyond. Special thanks go to our friends at Zoetis for sponsoring this national campaign because we know how committed they are to recognizing the achievements of the veterinary community.”

Martin said her team’s work show that they are professionals with an education and background and aren’t just running “some doggy daycare.”

C.A.R.E. takes undesirable companion animal and makes them suitable for adoption by providing emergency services. The nonprofit has saved more than 400 animals since its founding in 2004.

“The toughest part of my job is to deal with the social aspect is that people don’t realize that veterinary technicians are true medical professionals,” Martin said.

Dr. Tara Bidgood, the executive director of veterinary professional services for Zoetis Petcare, said Martin’s work – and the effort of others in her field – shouldn’t go unnoticed.

“Veterinary professionals are the heroes who dedicate their lives to making a difference in both animals’ and their owners’ lives through their outstanding veterinary care and we are honored to show our support through sponsoring these awards,” she said in a statement. “Dr. Morris and Angel have provided life-saving services to many animals and their inspiring work continues to strengthen the powerful human-animal bond between pets and the families who love them.”

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