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Top Pet People Of 2011 (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 12/22/11 12:22 PM ET Updated: 12/22/11 12:22 PM ET just released their second annual "Top 25 Pet People of the Year" list, and both celebrities (you may be surprised!) and everyday animal heroes have been recognized.

The top spot went to David Frei, who is known for co-hosting the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Wendy Toth, Editor of, said in a press release, "We are honored to recognize David Frei this year, and to highlight the amazing contributions his organization has made to the pet community and beyond." She added, "He joins a stellar group of people -- both celebrity and lesser-known advocates -- to prove a little love can go a long way."

If you're considering gifting a puppy this holiday season, or buying one for your family, check out these tips on how to do it responsibly.

Also, consider being a hero for an animal and visit or the ASPCA website to learn more about adopting a pet in need of a home.

List and captions courtesy of To view the rest of the 25 Pet People of 2011 list, visit

10. Dr. Walter F. Burghardt Jr.
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Dogs suffering the effects of war now have a dedicated place to recover.

Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, this year opened a $15-million veterinary hospital--for canines injured physically or mentally in combat.

Dr. Walter F. Burghardt Jr. is chief of behavioral medicine at the Daniel E. Holland Military Working Dog Hospital. He has a particular interest in dogs suffering from a canine form of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Dogs are regularly used in wartime to detect improvised explosive devices; to track Taliban fighters and bomb makers in Afghanistan; and to accompany elite secret mission teams.

Dr. Burghardt's reach in caring for dogs suffering from PTSD is wide. He does most of his consultations via phone, email or Skype. He also trains veterinarians on how to identify PTSD in canines.

Most of these dogs, he told the New York Times, were involved in some kind of violence. "If you want to put doggy thoughts into their heads," he said, "the dog is thinking: when I see this kind of individual, things go boom, and I'm distressed."

The dogs, he says, are upset by warfare in the same way that humans are, and this can lead to long-lasting scars.

Treatments for dogs include "desensitization" (gradually exposing them to their triggers) and medication.

For more on the best of 2011, visit


Filed by James Gerken  |