Cast your vote for the 2018 Small Pet Select Rescue Heroes!

October 22 through November 19, you get to choose the most compelling stories, the most outstanding examples of rescue excellence.


Anyone can vote!


You can vote once per day in each category.


  • Individual Person - a single volunteer helping any small animal species, 3 winners*
  • Rescue Organization - an organization helping any small animal species, 3 winners**


Thanksgiving Day (November 22, 2018), we'll make the big anouncement. We'll list the winners for all 4 categories.


Each of the winners gets $3500!* ** (Six total winners for a total of $21,000 to help rescues!)

*The individuals who win choose a registered 501(c)3 to receive their prize. No funds will be disbursed to individuals, only to registered 501(c)3 organizations. Winnings can be designated for organizations for which the winner does not volunteer directly. If the winner is not a volunteer at a registered non-profit with 501(c)3 status, the prize money can be designated for any small animal rescue anywhere in the US that does have legal non-profit status.

**Organizations who win must be 501(c)3 organizations or direct their winnings to another small animal rescue in the US who is a registered non-profit. No funds will be disbursed to organizations without a 501(c)3 status.


(vote at bottom of page using form - these bios and pics are just info, not a way to case your vote):

Alyssa's nominators said: "She e...

Alyssa O'Toole

Alyssa's nominators said: "She educated the public on the proper care of rabbits and rescues countless rabbits every year. She typically rescues abused, neglected, and/or sick rabbits. She has been involved in at least one hoarding rescue of several rabbits this past year. " And, in Alyssa's own words: "I am truly honored being chosen as one of 10 individual finalists, although I feel uncomfortable receiving such recognition because none of what I have accomplished have I done alone. I have always been drawn to animals in need and derive great reward helping them. I feel co-founding Rabbit Wranglers in 2010 is the most important way I have made a difference. Over the past eight years, we have offered specialized services to over 850 rabbits in need. Rabbit Wranglers would not exist without my business partner, Suaz Forsythe. Together, we have a lifetime commitment to the rabbits in our care. We build positive relationships with adopters and provide various services to the rabbit community including boarding, medical respite, grooming and consultations. We do not euthanize rabbits with chronic health or behavior issues, or those residing with us too long. In fact, working with these types of rabbits is our specialty. Our doors are always open and rabbits stay as long as they need us. Giving the neediest rabbits a chance is at the heart of what “rescue” means to me and is what makes Rabbit Wranglers a very special place. Our generous donors enable us to devote resources to the unique needs of each rabbit in our care and to provide outreach to the community. Along with 95 volunteers, two dedicated veterinarians, and multiple rescue organizations, we make the most of the opportunity they have given us and work tirelessly to rehabilitate and find our rabbits loving homes."
Barb's nominators said: "Barb is...

Barb Kelley

Barb's nominators said: "Barb is an inspiration in rescue but also in human kindness. Her therapy rabbits visit hospice patients, senior citizens and disabled children every week. She teaches courses in Agility, guides Hoppy Hour and helps adopters with rabbit care issues." And, in Barb's own words: "Rescue means being there for the weakest and most in need. Volunteering with Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society has opened my world. Every day I have a positive effect on the lives of rabbits and the people who love them. Every day I work with an amazing group of dedicated volunteers. Through education we improve many lives . Companion rabbits now routinely live indoors as family members, are spay/ neutered improving behavior and preventing unwanted litters, and enjoying healthy diets. The rabbits in our care frequently come from difficult situations both locally and nationwide. Many require time and love to heal both mentally and physically. To date in 2018 31 fosters have shared my home. I assess them for health and behavior and help prepare them for adoption. Our adoption process gives families the opportunity to choose the perfect rabbit for them. Our Bunny Basics class provides them with the information and tools to be successful. I founded and run a project called Hoppy Hour. This is social time for rabbits and their families. The 100 - 150 rabbits play freely with supervision. The families socialize or find answers to rabbit care questions - diet and weight, litter box training, health concerns, aggressive behavior, bonding, grooming, or family interactions. I have 13 registered therapy rabbits who are visiting at Children's Hospital, nursing homes, hospice, and programs for people with disabilities.. These special rabbits, many who came from bad beginnings , bring smiles to so many who have little joy in their lives."
Carolyn's nominators said: "Caro...

Carolyn Philpott

Carolyn's nominators said: "Carolyn rallies! She's committed to growing our volunteers and income as we face growing veterinary costs & shrinking supporters. A tireless organizer, fundraiser & volunteer; 2nd in energy only to our shelter manager, she "does it all for the buns." And, in Carolyn's own words: "Rescue means giving an animal a second chance at a great life; a chance to finally reveal its unique personality to someone who will take the time to understand it. It means supporting new forever-homes as they welcome shy, timid family members like rabbits into their lives. It’s seeing the transition of a hyper, destructive dog to a relaxed and balanced companion, because he’s finally been provided an environment to burn off energy. Rescue is difficult but rewarding work. If known at all, the stories and situations that our rabbits come in with can be horrible. It's so gratifying when one of the special-needs bunnies is adopted, or a long-term resident rests its head on it's new-found human. The best part for me is when there is another empty pen and a new name added to the adoption board. In rescue, we are never sad when one of our favorites is no longer there, we are ecstatic because they found their forever-home."
Danielle's nominators said: "Dan...

Danielle Stanley

Danielle's nominators said: "Danielle has been instrumental in helping 20 rescues take in over $12K through The Travelin' Rat's events this year so far. She updates the website with rescue information and resources. She also notifies rescues when resources are available to them." And, in Danielle's own words: "I have been a rat fanatic since I was in high school. Once I found out that there are rescues that take in rats, I began helping them through fundraising. I was a founding board member of Any Rat Rescue in Phoenix, AZ. After moving back to the East Coast, I connected with rat fans in the Baltimore, MD area, where we formed The Travelin' Rat. We originally went to animal events throughout the Mid-Atlantic to fundraise, then we began doing so online. We started both a Rescue of the Month and an Emergency Rescue Fund program and doled out money for holidays each year. We recently gave up our 501(c)(3) status and are more effective in helping this way. We also help rescues by promoting them and any of their events or fundraisers and help spread the word when they need help. There are 20 rescues registered with us this year that we focus on helping. Rescuing is a big part of my life. Besides many, many rescue rats, I was finally able to rescue my dog 10 years ago. We attend local rescue events whenever we can. Besides through TTR, I support rescues by donating money, supplies, and items for auctions, plus I have helped with several rescue transports. The biggest way I help rescues is behind the scenes. I wish I could adopt or foster more, but, since I cannot, I put my energy into helping rescues with fundraising and sharing their information."
Deana's nominators said: "Deana ...

Deana Esculano

Deana's nominators said: "Deana took charge in a surprising rescue effort when we were informed by a local shelter that 14 pet rats had been dumped outdoors. She worked tirelessly through dark, damp, bugs,and grimy conditions to set and check traps over the course of 2 weeks." And, in Deana's own words: "People ask why we rescue rats. The truth is, they are extremely intelligent, loving, clean, cute, and make great pets. They don’t deserve to be treated poorly just because they are rats. Recently I was active in a rescue of 14 domestic rats that were released outside by a lake. My fiance and I got the call from another rescue worker and rushed to the location. Arriving at the scene we saw them hiding in the woods, in the dirty marsh water, shivering, and cowering in fear. I broke down into tears. We crawled through thick brush, thorns, and trash to capture these babies. I got poison ivy as well as hundreds of bug bites. The first weekend we were at the scene for 10+ hours a day. Myself and another volunteer lead this rescue for over a month. We went three times a day to check and reset traps. I didn’t want to continue. I was emotionally and physically drained, stressed, and angry. But, I had to continue for them. I quarantined the captured rats at my house where six stayed, and six were transferred to other fosters. We were able to capture 12 of 14 before deciding to end the rescue. These rats are still afraid, but eager for attention and love. They’re surprisingly trusting. All 12 are now neutered / spayed, and are being rehabilitated for forever homes. A vote for me is a vote for MRR!"
Dr. Megan Schommer's nominators ...

Dr Megan Schommer

Dr. Megan Schommer's nominators said: "Dr Schommer provides medical and surgical care to pocket pets in the rescue year round, but this summer she performed an amputation on a hedgehog with a badly injured leg. She became his foster, ensuring his health, safe recovery and a second chance." And, in Dr. Schommer's own words: "Hello, and thank you for this opportunity! I love working with Minnesota Pocket Pet Rescue because it gives me the opportunity to provide the same high level of veterinary care on exotic companion mammals that we provide to dogs and cats. So often, veterinary care for our littlest patients is neglected due to a lack of funds, lack of confidence on the veterinarian’s part when working with pocket pets, or failure to recognize when veterinary attention is necessary. The volunteers with MN PPR make it possible for me to provide routine preventative care as well as intervene with more advanced procedures like amputations. I’m so grateful for all their dedication to these animals! -Megan Schommer, DVM Lake Harriet Veterinary"
Jennifer's nominators said: "Jen...

Jennifer Smith

Jennifer's nominators said: "Jennifer developed an organization - Bunny Besties - that uses animal-assisted interventions to provide reading opportunities to homeless children, mental health support to college students, and companionship to elderly people in nursing homes." And, in Jennifer's own words: "My name is Jennifer Smith and in 2014 I started Bunny Besties with my son Gunnar. Together we worked side by side bringing Bunny love to those in need in our community. Bunny Besties became a nonprofit in April 2017. Our mission is for rabbits to provide comfort and support through Animal Assisted Interactions. We began with our first rescued bunny Piper and soon had our first program at the University of Minnesota and at People Serving People Homeless Shelter. As we needed more rabbits we began to rescue bunnies that needed a home and second chance. I personally have taken 14 rabbits into my home to adopt. Turning rescued rabbits into registered therapy animals and volunteering to help others is my great love. My passion became contagious and others began to volunteer with us. Soon we had a Bunny Bestie Brigade of Volunteers. Those friends that joined then rescued rabbits and turned them into Bunny Besties too. Before we knew it we were 30 plus volunteers strong and had rescued 33 rabbits among us giving them homes and an enriching life. We are now serving those in need all over the Twin Cities. Last year we won the Gold Presidential Service Award, had 8 individual volunteers get an award too. We have dedicated volunteers and have not only rescued rabbits but changed the way so many see bunnies in an agricultural state like Minnesota. I am so proud of our mission and all we accomplish. Bunnies deserve the best. Bunny Besties!"
Kathy's nominator's said: "This ...

Kathy Finelli

Kathy's nominator's said: "This 70 year old woman is the heart and soul of the rescue, tirelessly bringing rabbits into the rescue, bringing them to the vet, back and forth as needed from the vet, gets the hay, litter, food hours of calls answering questions and more!" And, in Kathy's own words: "
Lejla's nominators said: "Lejla ...

Lejla Hadzimuratovic

Lejla's nominators said: "Lejla is the founder of Bunny World Foundation. Her drive to save as many rabbits as possible is amazing when you consider she has a full time job along with organizing adoptions. There is always a bunny in need and Lejla will try hard to help them." And, in Lejla's own words: "
Natalie's nominators said: "Nata...

Natalie Darmohraj

Natalie's nominators said: "Natalie Darmohraj, together with Abbie Loewenstein, has created an energetic and dynamic Yoga with Bunnies series of events for House Rabbit Network in Billerica, MA. These events have raised welfare awareness in addition to over $6,000 for HRN." And in Natalie's own words: "Rescue gives a chance to animals who have been failed by people somewhere along the way. My work is specifically with rabbits, helping bring them to safety, getting the care they need so they can find their forever families. Over the past year, I have been teaching and helping organize Yoga with Bunnies events for House Rabbit Network, a non-profit that helps abandoned rabbits in New England. We bring shelter bunnies to our yoga classes, giving them an opportunity for socialization, helping them get adopted. These are great opportunities for advocacy as well, helping people who have not interacted with rabbits before to see how wonderful they can be. All the money raised goes directly to shelter buns for medical and other care. The most rewarding part of rescue for me is seeing buns who have been abandoned or mistreated get the care they need, find a family who will love them, blossom and grow into happy, healthy members of the family."


(vote at bottom of page using form - these bios and pics are just info, not a way to case your vote):

Bunny People volunteers are some...

Bunny People

Bunny People volunteers are some of the most caring I've ever met. They never turn away an animal, regardless of its condition, and they do everything in their power to help the animals get better and maintain their health.
Bunny Buddies recently teamed up...

Bunny Buddies

Bunny Buddies recently teamed up with Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in a spay neuter event for rabbits and other small animals to ensure their good health and improve their chances for adoption. BB's also hosts adoptions twice a month. They will go over and beyond helping trap stray rabbits, educating people in rabbits, providing medical care for rabbits, and most importantly finding homes for rabbits.
The Critter Camp cares for 200 u...

The Critter Camp

The Critter Camp cares for 200 unadoptable small pets of 20 different species, they're the only rescue of our kind in the US, they take the animals no one else wants- some have even been thrown away in the trash!
F5RS pays for all the medical ne...


F5RS pays for all the medical needs through donations to pay for all the medical needs from surrender animals. Those bunnies that will have reoccurring medical issues are not adopted out, but get to live thier lives at the rescue.
Flower City Critters' volunteers...

Flower City Critters

Flower City Critters' volunteers are selfless and caring people! They are advocates for the smallest and most vulnerable of pets...some people consider rodents and small animals as disposable. Flower City Critters gives the small and voiceless a fighting chance! This is an extraordinarily small rescue organization who only just got funding to become a 501(c)(3) and who are among the most dedicated, intelligent, and caring people I've ever met!
LAGPR fights tirelessly to take ...

Los Angeles Guinea Pig Rescue

LAGPR fights tirelessly to take care of guinea pigs & other small pets that too often are forgotten about, neglected or simply lack the knowledge on how to take care of these animals. This past year, they took in HUNDREDS of guinea pigs from bad hoarding situations, many of which were pregnant. They are going to need SO much help for years to come!
North Jersey Guinea Pig and Hams...

North Jersey Guinea pig and hamster rescue

North Jersey Guinea Pig and Hamster Rescue took 29 piggies from a kill shelter in New York in order to save their lives. The rescue was full, but it was not a reason not to save the piggies. Foster families helped with some of the piggies and 29 lives plus the babies born got to live!
Red Door Shelter has rescued ove...

Red Door Animal Shelter

Red Door Shelter has rescued over 120 rabbits since Easter that were abused and abandoned outside. All of the rescued rabbits were vetted, most had health issues and/or parasites, and many of them have already found new homes. 2018 has been a pretty rough year for Chicago-area rabbits, since Easter 2018 they've rescued 130 rabbits (It's only the beginning of October). They do AMAZING work.
SCAR created #NotJust4Easter, a ...

Space Coast Animal Rights

SCAR created #NotJust4Easter, a global program that utilizes grassroots activism, social media campaigning, and philanthropy to sway people from purchasing bunnies, ducks, chicks, etc as gifts for Easter. Full details about this global campaign can be found on SCAR’s website. It’s really a big deal! President, Alycia Corpiel, dedicates countless hours to this organization while working on her master's degree. She won a scholarship this year as a "notable knight" for her hard work and dedication, particularly to the #NotJust4Easter campaign.
The Rat Retreat is really the on...

The Rat Retreat

The Rat Retreat is really the only rescue for rats in the entire state of Idaho and they do an great job rescuing rats and facilitating adoptions/fosters throughout the state. They do a lot with limited resources. They also support out of state rescues. They fundraiser to help fund the care and rescue of these little rats. They are amazing to work with and have a wonderful vision for pets. They truly encompass kindness.