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Girl Scout earns gold helping pets

  • Tabitha Nugent safely holds a happy dog during her time at VSA Riverside Veterinary Hospital. She is determined to make the world a better place for animals. Courtesy

  • Tabitha Nugent, seated, organized a pet drive and painted the mural shown for the Pope Memorial SPACE as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award project. With her is the receptionist at the SPCA. Younger Girl Scouts helped her decorate the donation boxes placed in area schools. —Courtesy

Published: 10/21/2021 4:36:26 PM

Having a passion for animals and making the world a better place for them has led Gold Award Girl Scout Tabitha Nugent to pursue a career as a veterinarian and educate others about how they can help protect animals. She has organized donations for pet shelters, created a mural and brochure for the Pope Memorial SPCA in Concord, created an educational website, and committed over 135 hours to working with animals at VCA Riverside Veterinary Hospital. She earned the highest honor possible for a high school Girl Scout for her work, the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Nugent, 19, of Penacook, said she wanted to make an impact in animals’ lives.

“Since I was young, I’ve always loved animals,” she said. “I’ve been vegetarian since 5 or 6. Animals don’t have a voice. We need to advocate for them.”

Nugent’s dedication to her passion resulted in many projects. She organized a pet donation drive which younger Girl Scouts assisted in, painted a mural that many people now take photos in front of at the Pope Memorial SPCA, created an informational brochure for the SPCA, built a website for her high school to explain her work, and committed to a job shadowing program that allowed her to experience the life of a veterinarian.

“She did a wonderful job executing her project and completing it in a timely and professional manner,” said her project advisor, Shannon Camara, director of outreach for the SPCA. “The brochure has been shared with new pet families who have adopted to help educate them as they begin their first steps in owning a pet.”

As Nugent worked on her project, she gained many skills, including leadership, commitment, follow-through, and real-life practice of caring for animals, like nail trims, laser treatments, dental treatments, and handling medical equipment.

“Handling death, which happened a lot,” was part of the job shadowing. “I learned to work as a team, professionalism, talking with clients and employees, time management,” and more.

Now a lifetime member of Girl Scouts, Nugent began as a Girl Scout Brownie in second grade. The COVID-19 pandemic put off a Girl Scout trip to the Azores in her final year, which she is looking forward to in the coming year. She also traveled with Girl Scouts to Hawaii, England, Ireland, and New York. She enjoyed camping and participating in Girl Scout jamborees. The Girl Scout Cookie program enabled her activities, as she sold over 1,000 packages to pay for her trip to Hawaii.

Nugent graduated from Merrimack Valley High School this past spring, where she was a three-season varsity athlete, played flute and piccolo in the marching band and jazz band, sang soprano in vocal ensemble, all while earning a 3.98 GPA. She is now a freshman at the University of New Hampshire studying biomedical science with plans to go on to a full four-year veterinary education. She looking forward to working with dogs, cats, and other small animals, possibly as a surgeon.

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