Spotlight On Harrison Stephens Inspirational Feature Award

February 6, 2020
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The Dog Writers Association of America is proud to shine the spotlight on our many special awards sponsors. It is because of these special sponsors that writers are awarded over $14,000 in monies.

This year, the banquet is being held on Sunday, February 9, 2020, and we are sold out!

It’s time to shine the dog writer’s spotlight on the Harrison Stephens Inspiration Feature award.

Named in honor of Harrison Stephens, a newspaper editor who wrote thought-provoking features marked by journalistic integrity and humor until his death just before his 100th birthday. This award is for a feature article that highlights the human-canine bond and leaves the reader with a smile. Potential topics include working dogs (or a lazy dog with a winning personality), or dog-centric nonprofits that promote positive outcomes for pets and people. The award is sponsored by Sally and Tom Reeder and consists of a $300 grant.

Harrison Stephens
Harrison Stephens with Sally and Tom Reeder’s dog, Nico

The finalists who are eligible to win this award include:

“Paws of War: Dogs Who Help Military Veterans With PTSD” by Jillian Blume

“She Said Yes to the Dress…and The Dog” by Mary Schwager

“The Healing Power of Faith: A Very Special Therapy Dog Helps One Child At A Time” by Kristin Avery

Tell us about Harrison Stephens.

Harrison Stephens was a newspaper reporter, editor and columnist. He was also my father. I know firsthand that he had a lot of affection for animals of all kinds. We had cats in our home, and a mixed-breed dog named Trixie. (She was not aptly named, since the only trick she mastered was sitting in the middle of the living room floor and vigorously scratching herself.)

Dad was an avid sailor, and that led to a compassionate encounter with a pelican. The bird was hiding under a dock, and Dad realized it had gotten entangled in fishing line. He and a couple of his sailing friends coaxed the pelican out; my dad gently held its beak while the other guys snipped the line and carefully unwound it.

When the men were finally able to release it, the pelican flexed his wings, and then took a brief test flight to make sure everything still worked. He glanced back at the men as if to say, “thanks”, and then flew away — good as new.

That isn’t a dog story, of course, but I think it illustrates the kind of story that amuses us and inspires us: The kind of story that is being told by members of the DWAA every day.

What do you have in the works for 2020?

What my husband Tom and I have in the works for 2020 is a visit to Secaucus, New Jersey, to attend the DWAA banquet with our daughter, Jen Reeder!

Follow along and watch the awards live on Sunday, February 9, 2020, on the DWAA’s Facebook page. Awards should be going live by 9 pm ET.

Special thanks to Sally and Tom Reeder for supporting DWAA and its members.