Sochi Dogs and Summer Blockbusters

Robin Ganzert on Pet Life Radio

Robin sits down with hockey star and U.S. Olympian David Backes and his wife Kelly as they discuss what it was like to bring home two stray dogs from the Sochi Olympics. Later, Dr. Kwane Stewart, the Chief Veterinary Officer for the No Animals Were Harmed ® program drops by to discuss how his team helped monitor the safety of the animal stars in this summer’s biggest blockbusters.


David Backes

David Backes is a professional hockey player and captain of the St. Louis Blues. A second round selection (62nd overall), Backes has played over 500 games for the Blues in eight seasons of action. David appeared in the 2010 Winter Olympics with Team USA earning a Silver Medal. After being named to the NHL All-Star Game in 2011, Backes was named the 20th Captain in St Louis Blues history in the off-season. David and his wife Kelly are the founders of Athletes for Animals and first got their start volunteering to walk dogs with Blue Earth Nicollet County Humane Society (BENCHS) while they both attended college at Minnesota State University, Mankato. In 2007 their passion and vision began to grow for the future of animal welfare, when they settled in St. Louis and began to work closely with Five Acres Animal Shelter (Formerly St. Charles Humane Society). They have helped out several organizations in St. Louis and in their home state of Minnesota in a variety of ways; from volunteering and cleaning kennels, fostering dogs, serving as board members, appearing at fundraisers, speaking publically and educating the public about important matters related to animal welfare. When David received his pilots license in January 2011, he realized they could further their impact nationwide and have helped on several rescue flights, safely transporting adoptable animals. They are excited about the future of Athletes for Animals and the impact this organization will make for companion pets everywhere!


Kwane Stewart, DVM

Renowned veterinarian, Dr. Kwane Stewart joins American Humane Association as Chief Medical Officer and senior leader for Humane Hollywood, and our flagship program No Animals Were Harmed®. He brings visionary leadership, impressive medical credentials and extensive animal welfare experience to his role which will provide American Humane Association and over 2,000 productions annually with exemplary medical expertise and expert guidance.

A graduate of Colorado State University, a prominent veterinary school where he earned his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1997, Dr. Stewart has been a practicing veterinarian for 15 years. At the age of 26 he moved to San Diego to begin his career in small animal medicine with an emphasis on emergency care. After perfecting his skills as an associate in several areas in Southern California, he was promoted to Chief Medical Officer for Vetco Hospitals Inc. He spent five successful years with Vetco where he provided oversight and leadership for over 40 vaccination clinics and six hospitals. In addition, he assisted in restructuring the company, handling negotiations and training personnel.

After five successful years with the company his career took an unexpected turn. While visiting an animal shelter in Northern California in 2007 he learned they had been without a vet for nearly three years. He knew that he would be able to bring his indomitable compassion, professional proficiency and expert qualifications to the job and was quickly appointed County Veterinarian for Stanislaus County in Modesto, California.

For the past five years, Dr. Stewart has overseen the care of thousands of animals in an area suffering from massive pet overpopulation, and thanks to his leadership numerous reforms and programs have been implemented resulting in substantial improvement in animal care. Passionate about the human-animal bond and improving the lives of animals, Dr. Kwane Stewart brings expert medical leadership to American Humane Association and the No Animals Were Harmed® program.