2018 Texas Animal Hall of Fame Inductees!

In 1984, the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation (TVMF) created the Texas Animal Hall of Fame to share the joy of the human-animal bond by recognizing exceptional animals. Through the Texas Animal Hall of Fame, TVMF strives to honor the outstanding contributions our animal companions make to human lives, to heighten public awareness of the human-animal bond and to allow animal lovers to share in celebrating their pets’ accomplishments by serving as nominators. Nominations are sought in three categories: hero, companion and professional. TMVF is proud to celebrate animals that give back within their home communities as we announce the 2018 Texas Animal Hall of Fame inductees.

The 2018 Texas Animal Hall of Fame inductee for the companion category, which recognizes an animal that has provided a special benefit to its community or human companions, is Amber.

Amber was an incredible companion and heroine through her lifetime of achievements and contributions to science. Amber was abandoned and soon found herself at the Gulf Coast Humane Society in Corpus Christi. She was soon rescued by Dr. and Mrs. Gaylord Hoyt and quickly became Dr. Hoyt’s running companion. Amber also served as a mascot for the Gulf Coast Humane Society as the Hoyts were so grateful to have found her that they felt it their mission to give back themselves and to encourage others to do the same.

Over the years, Dr. Hoyt and Amber ran more than 1,000 miles per year, but at the age of six, Amber started showing signs of arthritis in her hip. The Hoyts decided to provide Amber with a total hip replacement, which was provided by Dr. William Liska. Amber recovered quickly and ran more than 8,000 miles on her new hip during the remaining nine and half more years of her life.

Amber passed away on May 16, 2011, due to multi-organ failure at age 15. However, her contributions to society were not over as the Hoyts donated Amber’s hip to science. Research was performed on the hip replacement at The Ohio State University and at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom using electron microscopy and laser profilometry for the first time ever on a dog to evaluate durability of canine hip replacement implants after long-term usage in the body. The findings confirmed that the implants are extremely durable. This was reported for the first time on September 25-28, 2017, at the World Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Amber’s life as a companion is beyond words as she meant so much to so many people. Her contributions to science are immense, showing the amazing durability of hip replacements in dogs.

Amber was nominated by TVMA member Dr. William Liska of Global Veterinary Specialists in Sugar Land, Texas.

The 2018 Texas Animal Hall of Fame inductee for the hero category, which recognizes an animal that has performed an incredible act of bravery or saved a human life, is a 74-pound Doberman Pinscher, Sascha.

Early one morning, Glenn and Thelma Sterling’s dishwasher short-circuited and started a kitchen fire that sent deadly smoke throughout their home. Sascha sprang into action and woke the couple from their slumber, and they then were able to escape out their bedroom window without injury. The couple watched as firefighters doused the flames before the flames were able to spread throughout the home. Their kitchen was left full of soot and standing water, but they were alive thanks to Sascha.

“It was a horrific thing,” Thelma said. “Sascha is our lifesaver.”

“She knew what she was doing,” Glenn said. “She came over and licked me in the face. She licked me and licked me until I got up. When I woke up, it was pitch black. I turned on the light by the bed, and there was white smoke almost all the way down to the bed. I woke up my wife, and all three of us went right out the bedroom window.”

Sascha joined the family in 2011 just after the Sterlings retired.

“She’s our baby,” Thelma said. “We take her swimming. She’s a member of the family, our protector and savior.”

Sascha was nominated by TVMA member Dr. Tillman A. Richey of Groves Veterinary Clinic in Groves, Texas.