PetSmart Charities® Invests in the Future Leaders of Shelter Medicine by Providing Funding to 21 Universities

August 15, 2018

Thanks to a $510,000 Investment from PetSmart Charities, 21 Universities Will Offer New Scholarships, Research Grants and Ambassadorships to Spark Veterinary Students’ Interest in Shelter Medicine

AUG. 15, 2018 – PHOENIX, ARIZ. — Attracting top veterinarians to practice shelter or community medicine can be challenging. That’s why PetSmart Charities, the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, 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. Through this investment, PetSmart Charities hopes to foster career interest in the field of shelter medicine and empower veterinary students to promote and preserve the human-animal bond in local communities.

“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.”

PetSmart Charities has long been committed to supporting the veterinarians of the future while dispelling myths about working within the animal welfare industry through experiential learning.  Since 2015, the nonprofit has granted more than $6 million to leading veterinary colleges and universities to fund programs in the U.S. and Canada that provide students with hands-on experience providing emergency relief or performing vital procedures such as spay/neuter surgeries in local communities.

“At PetSmart Charities, we know that shelter veterinarians play a crucial role, not only in providing care to pets in need within an animal welfare organization, but also in offering quality care to pets in underserved communities where pet parents require access to affordable health and wellness services,” says Dr. Landis-Hanna.

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. 

“By providing holistic funding that supports research, education and student engagement at 21 leading postsecondary institutions, we hope to help the veterinary leaders of tomorrow better understand and appreciate the role veterinarians play in PetSmart Charities’ mission to support and enhance the bond between people and pets,” said Dr. David Haworth, Ph.D., veterinarian and president of PetSmart Charities.

To learn more about PetSmart Charities and PetSmart Charities of Canada, please visit or

PetSmart Charities has partnered with veterinary schools at the following universities:
Colorado State University, Cornell University, Lincoln Memorial University, Louisiana State University, Midwestern University, Mississippi State University, the Ohio State University, Oklahoma State University, Purdue University, Texas A&M University, Tufts University, University of California, Davis, University of Georgia, University of Florida, University of Guelph, University of Missouri, University of Pennsylvania, University of Tennessee and Western University. Discussions are also underway with an additional two universities.


About PetSmart Charities®:
PetSmart Charities, Inc. is committed to finding lifelong, loving homes for all pets by supporting programs and thought leadership that bring people and pets together. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities helps to find forever homes and families for more than 500,000 shelter pets each year.  PetSmart Charities also provides grant funding to nonprofits aligned with its mission under four key areas of support: Preventing Pet Homelessness; Helping Shelter Pets Thrive; Supporting the Bond Between People and Pets; and Providing Emergency Relief and Disaster Support. Each year, millions of generous PetSmart shoppers help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities using the PIN pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart stores.  In turn, PetSmart Charities efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, granting almost $340 million since its inception in 1994. Independent from PetSmart LLC, PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization that has received the Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator, a third-party organization that reports on the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of nonprofits, for the past 15 years in a row – placing it among the top one percent of charities rated by this organization. To learn more visit

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