There is nothing like the love of a pet. It calms us when we need comfort. Energizes us when our world seems to have ground to a halt. It warms us during the coldest winters and carries us through the darkest days. It’s an unconditional love built on trust, loyalty, and devotion. It’s this love that makes our life better.
For 12 years, a beautiful German Shepherd named Bodj shared that love with her family. She was a social butterfly and always on duty to care for her loved ones. When Bodj’s owner was diagnosed with ALS, she went above and beyond to comfort him. Her family watched with concern as Bodj aged and became ill. Inevitably, they reached the point of saying good-bye. It was devastating and the pain of losing her cut very deep. She had left huge paw prints on their hearts.
The family could not let Bodj’s life go unacknowledged. They looked for a meaningful way to honour Bodj and her caring spirit yet be of practical use. Inspired by her love and loyalty, they started a scholarship in her memory. Through the Nova Scotia SPCA, the family wanted to help those pursuing higher education who choose to make animal care their work. Each year, a dedicated student will be awarded $500 towards their animal welfare education. They knew that Bodj would approve.
To celebrate the launch of Bodj’s scholarship, the family decided to increase the education fund for 2021 to $1500. After receiving many amazing applications, Kaitlin Coles was selected. Kaitlin is pursuing a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree at the Atlantic Veterinary College, UPEI.
You may recall seeing the picture of Kaitlin with her 12-year-old dog, Sam, in August when she received the scholarship. Kaitlin shared “The scholarship in Bodj’s memory was a story I connect with on a very deep and personal level. This past Christmas, I had to say goodbye to Sam, so I know that feeling of loss and pain all too well. But I also look back and remember the warmth from the unconditional love he gave and the precious memories we made. I truly realize why Bodj’s family wanted her memory and importance to live on. This story touched my heart so immensely and made me emotional, especially because now I can empathize with Bodj’s family.”
Kaitlin followed her heart in pursuing a career as a veterinarian. She related “Ever since I was a young girl, I have always been obsessed with animals. I’ve always been an advocate for their welfare and safety because they don’t have a voice of their own. My passion and deep love for every animal is what inspired me to become a veterinarian – a job where I not only get to spend every day with animals but one where I get to have a direct impact on their health and welfare. I love meeting new people and having deep and important conversations; the relationships and connections you form with animals and their owners is what I need for my heart to be satisfied long-term.”
The DVM program is definitely challenging, but Kaitlin’s studies are going very well. “I love education and learning, and in the program, I get to learn about things I am truly passionate about. It’s all so interesting,” she said.
Vet school is expensive and Bodj’s scholarship has been very beneficial to Kaitlin in paying for her tuition. She noted “Many people can’t attend university because they’re financially restricted. Bodj’s scholarship is such a big help not only for me, but for people who receive it in the future!”
Inspired by Bodj’s scholarship, Kaitlin is already paying love forward. “I currently work at the PEI Humane Society as a dog trainer and am fostering a sweet little beagle and loving it! I always believe in kindness and Bodj’s scholarship encourages me to pay it forward even more.”
Kaitlin encourages others to pursue a career in animal welfare. “Helping animals fills you with so much love and joy. There’s nothing like feeling the love and appreciation from an animal you’ve helped.”
To find out more about the Bodj von Grunfeld® Scholarship, click here. Applications are officially open! Stay tuned for May’s e-newsletter when we share some fascinating information about Bodj’s remarkable life.
Interested in a career in the animal welfare world? Check out our new Veterinary Assistant and Veterinary Technician programs at the Nova Scotia SPCA College of Animal Welfare. Click here.