October 15, 2002


 'Evangelist' for human-animal bond receives Bustad award at Tufts Animal EXPO

Posted Oct. 1, 2002 

Dr. Marty Becker and company    Dr. Marty Becker and companyDr. Marty Becker and company

Dr. Marty Becker—veterinarian, author, educator, and media personality—has been named the recipient of the 2002 Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award.

Named for the late Dr. Leo K. Bustad, former president of the Delta Society and dean of the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, the award is one of veterinary medicine's highest honors, recognizing the outstanding work of veterinarians in protecting and promoting the human-animal bond.

The AVMA, Delta Society, and Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc. co-sponsor the Bustad award, which was presented to Dr. Becker Sept. 12 at the Tufts Animal EXPO 2002 in Boston.

Dr. Becker has promoted the strength and healing power of the human-animal bond through his frequent lectures; books, including the best-selling "Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul"; and syndicated weekly newspaper column, "The Bond."

The award is especially meaningful to Dr. Becker, as he studied under Dr. Bustad at Washington State, from which Dr. Becker graduated in 1980. Largely because the teaching of Dr. Bustad, Dr. Becker became an early and passionate believer in the power of the bond between animals and people.

Dr. Becker has traveled to six continents, spoken at every veterinary school in the United States, and lectured at the Smithsonian Institution to communicate his message about the importance of the human-animal bond.

"Dr. Marty Becker has made outstanding contributions for more than 20 years to improve the lives of companion animals and families through his actions, his speaking, his writing, and his passion to share knowledge about how animals influence our health, our well-being, and enrich our lives in that wonderful relationship between companion animals and people," said Dr. R. K. Anderson, director of the Center to Study Human Animal Relationships and Environments at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Becker's work to promote the human-animal bond spans many forums. In addition to lecturing around the world, he is a popular media personality as well. He appears as a regular veterinary contributor to ABC-TV's "Good Morning America," and in segments for Walt Disney Television's "Petsburgh U.S.A.," in addition to other leading newspaper, magazine, and television programs.

As co-author of the 1999 "Chicken Soup for the Cat & Dog Lover's Soul," and the fastest-selling pet book in history, "Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul," Dr. Becker has reached millions more with his message about the richness that pets add to human lives.

In his first practice, in Twin Falls, Idaho, Dr. Becker volunteered at the local animal shelter. When he first came to the shelter, it was rescuing 25 dogs a year. Now with Dr. Becker's help, almost 700 animals are finding new homes every year.

Saving unwanted animals became a passion to Dr. Becker, and a practice he opened in Salt Lake City became one of the first in the nation to offer an adoption center to help unwanted animals find homes. He continues to help them by regularly donating time, supplies, and money to local shelters and supporting animal adoption programs.

Dr. Becker has been involved in animal-assisted activities and has worked to assist the Delta Society in promotion of their programs, as well as programs providing service dogs for sight- and mobility-impaired persons. He is the co-founder and vice president of the Association for Veterinary Communicators, which helps veterinarians speak to the media. Dr. Becker also is the practice leadership editor for Veterinary Economics.

"Sharing your life fully with a pet is life enhancing for both parties," Dr. Becker said. "I value my role in celebrating, protecting, nurturing, and sharing that special relationship we call 'The Bond'; being an evangelist for its magical properties."