Dr. Jody Sandler, founder of autism service dog program, receives AVMA Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has named Dr. Jody Sandler recipient of its 2016 AVMA Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award. Sandler, who received the award during the 2017 AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference in Chicago, was recognized for his outstanding work in preserving and protecting human-animal relationships.

“Dr. Sandler was a long-time director of veterinary services for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. In that role, Dr. Sandler expanded their mission to training service dogs for autistic children by creating the program, Heeling Autism,” said Dr. Tom Meyer, AVMA president. “As a result of the overwhelming demand for service dogs for children with autism, Dr. Sandler founded BluePath Service Dogs this year.”

Dr. Sandler has long been a champion of the human/animal bond and its’ amazing healing properties. He was at Sandy Hook Elementary School with service dogs immediately after the tragedy, using the human-animal bond to help the community begin to heal. Dr. Sandler has hosted externships for more than 50 veterinary students from veterinary colleges around the country. In addition, he has co-authored numerous papers with researchers from Cornell University and the San Diego Zoo.

Sandler received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1988. He worked at Sachem Animal Hospital in Holbrook, New York before becoming Director of Veterinary Services for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. For 26 years, he was responsible for the health and well-being of over 11,000 dogs from the school.