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A Dog Changed My Life Scholarship

Funded by
1 winner$500
Application Deadline
Aug 15, 2022
Winners Announced
Sep 15, 2022
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior, undergraduate, or graduate student
US citizen or permanent legal resident
Has been impacted by a dog

Owning a dog is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have, bringing years of joy and happiness to individuals and families around the world.

Their unconditional love, companionship, and support can truly make a difference in your life. All pets can bring happiness to the lives of their owners, but dogs make especially great companions. 38.4% of households in the US have at least one dog, making dogs the most popular pet. 

This scholarship aims to honor our incredible furry friends and their loving owners by awarding one student $500 to put towards their education.

Any high school senior, undergraduate, or graduate student who’s a US citizen or permanent legal resident and has been impacted by a dog may apply.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published April 22, 2022
Essay Topic

How has a dog changed your life?

100–1000 words

Winning Application

Madeleine Sullivan
University of GeorgiaAcworth, GA
As someone who has always carried a deep passion for animals, I can’t picture a life where I’m not surrounded by my furry best friends. When coming to college, I was devastated that I’d be leaving my family dog, Wendy, at home. Who was going to give me cuddles and slobbery kisses after a hard O-chem exam? Soon after my first week at school, I noticed dogs wearing bright yellow vests walking around campus and wagging their tails; they were in-training guide dogs! Immediately, I knew this was something I had to be involved in. Missing my family dog led me to learn more about the Guide Dog Foundation and to start raising my first guide dog in-training: Sam. Raising Sam has changed my life for the better. Although part of the reason I joined the organization was to be around dogs, the biggest reason was that I wanted to make a difference through my love of animals. By raising Sam and by joining the Guide Dog Foundation I’ve realized that as an activist, it’s my responsibility to use my platform to increase the visibility of all communities, not just the LGBTQ+ community as a queer woman. Sam has made me a better ally. One way I’ve become a better advocate for the disability community is through using “identity first” language, meaning that ‘blind person’ or ‘disabled person’ is used rather than ‘person with a disability.’ I choose to use this language to advocate for disabled people, rather than use words that make able-bodied people more comfortable. Raising Sam has made me a better advocate for all communities, even within the puppy raising community itself. Training Sam has inspired me to speak out against the lack of diversity in puppy raisers. Puppy raising needs more queer, and POC raisers. Not all disabled people are straight and white. By having more diverse raisers, future handlers can feel more confident in their dogs by having people that represent them training and loving their future service dog. Not only has Sam made me more passionate about speaking out, but he’s also impacted my future plans. When Sam leaves me to start the next steps in his guide dog training, I plan on raising another future guide dog. I love the puppy raising community and the impact it has. Saying goodbye to Sam and welcoming a new puppy will be hard, but it’s all worth it knowing that one day Sam will be helping someone gain their independence. I want to continue his legacy and raise another future guide dog while I attend veterinary school. After I become a veterinarian and work full time, that will unfortunately be the end of my puppy raising days, but that doesn’t mean I want to stop my involvement with guide dog organizations. As a practicing veterinarian, I hope to work at a hospital that partners with an organization that raises and trains future service dogs, so I can continue to care and treat puppies in training. I may not be able to raise a puppy, but I will still have the capacity to volunteer my time to make sure the puppies in training receive the best, fear-free medical care possible. Not only has Sam had these huge, impactful changes on my life, but he’s also helped me develop new personal skills. The most important skill he’s helped to teach me is patience. Training a puppy is hard. It’s taken many sleepless nights and many moments where I needed to take a step back and reevaluate the situation at hand. I’ve learned that through patience and determination, anything is possible. If I wasn’t patient and willing to work with Sam everyday, he wouldn’t be mastering all of his obedience skills like ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘down’, and ‘come.’ This patience and determination that Sam has built in me is something I will continue to carry and improve on as I finish raising him and my next puppy. These skills will continue to help me my entire life, especially as I pursue veterinary medicine, a field where I'll have to master patience and determination to make sure I treat every patient correctly. There is currently a Sam shaped paw print on my heart and I’m positive that his impact on my life and my attitudes will never waver. Raising a puppy is never easy, but the sleepless nights, endless amounts of patience, and the hours of work make it all worth it. Not only has Sam changed my life by becoming my best friend– he’s always there to give me kisses after a stressful day at school– but as a working dog, he continues to surprise me and make me proud during his journey of becoming a guide dog.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Aug 15, 2022. Winners will be announced on Sep 15, 2022.

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