Nominations for the 2019 Animal Star Awards in Portsmouth are open now – here’s how to put forward an amazing animal or person you know

FROM their unrivalled companionship to the assistance they provide people with unique needs – animals play a massive part in the lives of many.

Thursday, 28th February 2019, 7:32 am
Updated Thursday, 28th February 2019, 8:35 am
Mary Burgess, founder of the Animal Star Awards, with her dogs Romana, a Romanian crossbreed and Gracie-Lou a Shihtzu. Picture: Sarah Standing (190219-1450)

Now one Emsworth dog owner is embarking on a mission to celebrate the contributions of creatures across our area with an awards ceremony like no other. 

Mary Burgess’ second Animal Star Awards will see prizes dished out across 14 categories in a bid to recognise the two-way relationship between us and our furry friends. 

And as preparations for the spectacular on Saturday, October 19 at The Portsmouth Marriott Hotel get under way, nominations are open now and hundreds have poured in already. 

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Mary Burgess, founder of the Animal Star Awards, with her dogs Romana, a Romanian crossbreed and Gracie-Lou a Shihtzu. Picture: Sarah Standing (190219-1450)

‘These awards are to give recognition to animals and humans alike for the extraordinary things they do for one another,' said Mary, 53 from Emsworth. 

‘I feel running them will not only educate the younger generation, but also raise awareness of animals close to extinction.

‘People can enter their assistance animals, their rescue animals and we even have a Young Animal Hero of the Year category for 2019.’

Proceeds for the awards will go to charities dedicated to protecting animals large and small – including Rushton Dog Rescue, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Save the Asian Elephants. 

As a horse rider and the owner of two beloved dogs – a Shih Tzu and a Romanian crossbreed – Mary knows just how enriching a life spent alongside animals can be. 

Now she wants to see people of all ages flock to her awards to fly the flag for all those who work tirelessly with and for them. 

‘Animals make such good companions for people who are on their own, for children and for people with mental health issues,' she said. 

‘Having a pet improves your life and if you bring an animal into your family it becomes a member. 

‘And that’s another aspect of the awards – it’s raising awareness of the love and companionship animals give to people.’

The full list of categories for the Animal Star Awards are as follows: 

- Assistance Animal of the Year

- Young Animal Hero (someone under 18 for their work with or for animals)

- Veterinary Surgeon of the Year

- UK Animal Charity of the Year: Rehoming Centre

- Best Pets Welcome Holiday Company or Venue, UK

- Animal Hero of the Year (someone over 18)

- Animal Education Award – for  UK-based educational department or veterinary school/college/veterinary practice with in-house learning facilities or CPD

- Veterinary Nurse of the Year

- Best Dog-Related Business: ie dog boarder, dog walking or grooming

- Best Pet-Related Business or Online Store, UK

- Best Animal-Related TV Show/Animal Publication, UK

- Best Pet Blog/Blogger, UK

- Best Vegan Product/Website/Publication/Event

- Lifetime Achievement (a person that has dedicated their live to animals)


To better understand these categories and the awards themselves, members of the public are invited to attend a free launch event – with an opportunity to network with a glass of bubbles in-hand – at The Portsmouth Marriott Hotel at 7pm on Wednesday, March 20. 

To join the guestlist, visit Additionally, go to to learn more, nominate an animal or a person for the Animal Star Awards.