Nima Morady cares deeply about the welfare of animals.
The fourth year Atlantic Veterinary College student was recently recognized with a Compassionate Care Scholarship of $3,000.
The awards from the Humane Society Veterinary Association go to students who show dedication and commitment to animal welfare, rights or protection issues.
"How people treat their animals is kind of a reflection of who they are," Morady said.
"So some of the things that animals are going through is because of us, if not most of it. It can be through someone destroying their habitats or someone not necessarily knowing how to take care of the hamster they just brought home ... I think it's important for us to know more about it because the more we know, the more we can do."
One of Morady's passions has been improving the lives of the teaching beagles at the college.
Morady said students use the beagles for things such as physical exams. And AVC is reducing the number of beagles living at the school, which Morady supports.
"I would just rather see our school not have to have these animals," he said.
"But I will say that the school and the students do a great job at making sure these animals have a great experience while they're here … and hopefully long-term we don't have beagles anymore."
Morady adopted one of the beagles himself, whose name is Herschel. He says students who are part of the animal enrichment club — of which he was president — spend as much time as they can with the dogs.
Beagles getting lots of love
"They just love being cuddled and stuff like that … A lot of students spend a lot of their free time working with the beagles."
Morady is from Montreal and even before he started studying at AVC, he was thinking about helping improve animals' lives.
He spent time in Ghana with Veterinarians Without Borders, working on small scale farms with animals such as goats, dogs and fowl.
Morady competed in the American Veterinary Medical Association's animal welfare contest twice as part of the college's Animal Welfare Club.
He also created a series of lunch lectures at AVC called Animal Welfare Across Species. Specialists from different fields at the college such as dairy, fish and equine gave talks to groups of 20 to 30 students.
Continuing animal welfare work in the future
When he graduates, Morady plans to work in general practice for a time and continue his work with animal shelters and other animal welfare groups. Long term, he's thinking about specializing in neurology and neurosurgery.
Morady knows when it comes to animal suffering and euthanasia, the emotional toll on veterinarians can be extreme.
"There's something called compassion fatigue. So you get that through being in these emotional situations all the time. And veterinarians do have a high suicide rate … When you think about what the animal's been through, that is very difficult because some animals don't have the best care that they could have had," he said.
"So you do want to do the best you can, and you want to make sure that you can tell the owners the ways they can improve or you can find ways around teaching the public on how to do better."
As for what people can do to keep their pets healthy and happy, Morady suggests not waiting too long to reach out for help.
"Waiting too long might cause you to not be able to get help when you need it versus being proactive. So working with your regular veterinarian for preventative care, especially in ticks and de-worming," said Morady.
He also suggested doing research about what to feed your animals to make sure it's safe for them, and consider donating to the Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre.