PetSmart Charities® Makes Investment in the Future Leaders of Shelter Medicine
PetSmart Charities describes itself as an organization committed to finding lifelong, loving homes for all pets by supporting programs and thought leadership that bring people and pets together. They find forever homes and families for more than 500,000 shelter pets each year.
The success and effectiveness of animal shelters and shelter veterinarians is a vital means to PetSmart Charities’ achieving its goals. Unfortunately, attracting top veterinarians to practice shelter or community medicine can be challenging.
According to a recent PetSmart Charities-funded survey, one of the top reasons veterinarians who do not work in shelter medicine would not recommend a career in the field is lack of mentorship.
To confront this issue, PetSmart Charities is donating more than half a million dollars in total to 21 of North America’s premier veterinary colleges and universities to fund new scholarships, research grants and student ambassadorships. The investment provides an opportunity for veterinary students at schools like Colorado State University, Louisiana State University and the University of Georgia to receive mentoring, career development and an opportunity to raise awareness of the impact of the human-animal bond and the importance of shelter medicine.
“Historically, there’s been a bit of a stigma within the veterinary community about working in a shelter environment or low-cost clinic due to perceptions of poor work-life balance, limited advancement opportunities and inadequate compensation,” says Dr. Amanda Landis-Hanna, veterinarian and senior manager of PetSmart Charities’ veterinary outreach program. “These are all misconceptions as these experiences can be truly rewarding for a veterinarian. Through this investment, we hope to disprove this stigma and encourage veterinary students to consider jump-starting their career in a shelter or low-cost clinic.”
Each institution will receive funding for up to four scholarships of $1,000 each to be awarded to one or more veterinary students with an interest in studying the human-animal bond or shelter medicine. Partner schools will also receive $5,000 earmarked to support a student-led research project, complete with an additional $1,000 travel grant to present their findings at a prominent animal welfare conference.
To help raise on-campus awareness about the scholarships and research grants made possible by PetSmart Charities, each university can recruit an on-campus student ambassador. The ambassador will represent PetSmart Charities’ mission on campus by engaging fellow students, faculty and the community in events like adoption fairs and pet food drives. Each ambassador will receive an honorarium of $750 per semester and will have access to funds they can use to host events or produce marketing materials to inform and engage their fellow students in attending upcoming events or applying for the new funding opportunities available at their college or university.
To learn more about PetSmart Charities, please visit PetSmartCharities.org