The American Pet Products Association and Pet Industry Distributors Association named “Today" show correspondent and animal advocate, Jill Rappaport, as the 2012 recipient of Global Pet Expo’s annual “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contributions to the Pet Industry Award.”

Rappaport will personally accept the award on Thursday, March 1, at Global Pet Expo, in Orlando, Florida, USA, during a reception sponsored by Nestle Purina. The award recognizes individuals in the media who have the power to influence millions of people and use this to positively promote the joys and benefits of responsible pet ownership.

Rappaport has been on “Today” for 20 years. She served as the entertainment correspondent for the first 17 years, but when her dog Jack got bone cancer, she began chronicling Jack's illness on the show, and she says she realized that animal welfare issues were her calling. In her "Bow To Wow" series, shelter dogs get a makeover and a second chance at

life, and she also informs “Today” viewers informed about the latest health trends for pets.

“We truly believe that this award was crafted especially for someone just like Ms. Rappaport and that her promotion of responsible pet ownership is directly inline with APPA’s mission,” said Bob Vetere, president of APPA. “Her dedication to improving the lives of pets and helping resolve animal welfare issues is evident and we could not be more thrilled to honor her with this year’s award.”