The Fido Bursary – Strengthening Veterinary Care in Cape Breton

By Ryan Toomey

Cape Breton needs more veterinary care and we aren’t the only ones who think so! The SPCA has responded to the lack of accessible veterinary care across the province by founding the Nova Scotia SPCA College of Animal Welfare to provide high-quality education and help fill the workforce.

One generous SPCA supporter wanted to take it a step further by specifically helping their home, Cape Breton Island. We worked with the donor to develop a plan to bring more animal welfare professionals to the island in the form of the $5,000 Fido Bursary. The Fido Bursary is awarded to a student enrolled in any program at the Nova Scotia SPCA College of Animal Welfare and gives preference to those looking to bring their skills, post-graduation, to Cape Breton Island and those who may have financial barriers to success in their education.

The first Fido Bursary has been awarded to a loyal Cape Bretoner and future Veterinary Assistant, Bailee Sampson.

“I was born in Halifax and spent the first 5 years of my life living in East Hants,” Bailee explained. “My family then made the move to Cape Breton, where I still live (except during the week when I am in Halifax for school!). Most of my family has always been tied to Cape Breton. A lot of my family has owned businesses in and around St. Peter’s and established their life there. It is the place that has shaped me into the person I am today and I am forever grateful.”

When asked about how the Fido Bursary impacted her life and education, here is what Bailee had to say. “It provided me with financial assistance so I can continue my education without worry. This bursary allows me to focus more on my education and less on the financial stress of being a student. While being a student is stressful, all of that student debt follows you into the work field. This bursary will not only support me in getting better education which will allow me to thrive in a work environment, but it will also cause less financial stress when I am working after graduation. Student loans are expensive, and every little bit of extra support helps.”

Because of the generosity of Cape Bretoners, Bailee has been given the opportunity to thrive in an exciting career that will help fill the gap in Cape Breton’s animal welfare industry.

Bailee certainly doesn’t shy away from expressing just how grateful she is for the philanthropists that prioritize impact through education opportunities. “I would like to say how grateful and thankful I am for the donor to the Fido Bursary. The kindness they must have to donate funding for a bursary to the Nova Scotia SPCA College of Animal Welfare will never go unnoticed. I am deeply appreciative to have been the selected recipient and for the support given by the donor. You have inspired me to help students one day and give back to the community when I am able.”

“Bursaries help with education more than anyone knows,” Bailee continued. “Sometimes they’re the only reason students can get a post-secondary education. School is so expensive which can be very stressful and burdening on an individual. Any little bit of support helps. To donors who are considering creating an award, I would just like to let you know that no matter how big or small, everything little thing is appreciated. Our future is brighter because of people like you!”

We couldn’t have said it better, Bailee! You can have a lasting impact on the animal welfare industry too by supporting education opportunities at the Nova Scotia SPCA College of Animal Welfare.

“My experience at the Nova Scotia SPCA College of Animal Welfare has been amazing so far,” Bailee beamed. “It really is such a unique education experience. Our instructors are the best! They truly care about how we learn and make sure we get one-on-one opportunities so that the schooling fits everyone’s needs. My favorite aspect is the hands-on experience we get. Being so close to the Dartmouth SPCA shelter, we take in animals, allowing them new experiences and to get socialized. While doing so, us students are also getting the exposure to all different species while learning handling, husbandry, grooming, and behavior. Some species we’ve had in the classroom so far are bunnies, kittens, rats, guinea pigs, snakes, and of course, our favorite furry assistant, Audrey, who is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, owned by one of our instructors. With their excellent class instruction and the hands-on opportunities, I truly feel as though we are getting the best education which is going to allow us to flourish as Veterinary Assistants!”

Are you looking for a thrilling career of helping companion animals? Maybe your looking to have a lasting impact on the animal welfare industry? If so, reach out to us here to chat more about the Nova Scotia SPCA College of Animal Welfare.


Ryan Toomey

Ryan is a Development Officer with the Nova Scotia SPCA and proud adoptive fur-papa to Jake and Sam. He is determined to ensure homeless pets get the help they deserve.