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First-year veterinary student Danica Schous of Regina, Sask. Photo: Debra Marshall.

Student trades business for veterinary career

Danica Schous was a business student at the University of Regina and heading toward a job in human resource management when she suddenly realized she was on the wrong career path.

"Once I began volunteering with the animals at the Regina Humane Society and then taking care of my first dog, I realized my heart wasn't 100 per cent in business," said Schous, who always had pets while growing up in Regina, Sask.

Schous went on to complete her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 2012, but she was still determined to pursue veterinary medicine.

"I began taking the prerequisites I'd need for veterinary medicine so I could begin again — this time on the right path to my dream career."

She also began working at Lakewood Animal Hospital where she assisted with canine physical rehabilitation therapy.

"I got the chance to see our patients improve and gain back their quality of life, and I formed so many strong bonds with the animals as well as great relationships with the clients," said Schous, who was accepted at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) in June 2014.

Schous and her classmates were welcomed to the veterinary profession on September 19, during a white coat ceremony in Saskatoon, Sask. All 78 first-year students received personalized white lab coats and stethoscopes from representatives of national and provincial veterinary medical associations during the evening ceremony.

The Class of 2018 joins more than 235 veterinary students who are already enrolled in the four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program at WCVM.

In addition to her full time job and busy volunteer schedule, Schous found time to coach hockey through Hockey Regina. She loved coaching and the opportunity to devote some of her energy to another interest that's been an important part of her life since she began playing hockey competitively in 1993.

"Growing up playing hockey taught me a lot of life skills such as team work, sportsmanship and leadership," Schous said. "As a captain or assistant captain throughout my hockey career, I learned how to lead by example, display a good attitude, take responsibility, handle conflict and show respect, both on and off the ice."

After earning her veterinary degree, Schous plans to start out in a small animal private practice. But she can also see herself specializing in the future, perhaps in canine rehabilitation or some other aspect of small animal medicine.

All of Schous' past experiences have solidified the reasons that she wants to be a veterinarian and help animals live the best lives they can.

"I grew up surrounded by companion animals, and I know the importance of these animals within one's family. I would love to provide the medical care and support to these animals and their families."

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