PVM Alumna Wins Kentucky Veterinarian of the Year Award for Heart-warming Rescue

Friday, January 28, 2022

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Dr. Bewley kneels down beside Ethan holding up her award plaque
Dr. Emily Bewley (PU DVM 2011) received the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association’s Veterinarian of the Year Award for 2021 in recognition of her efforts to save a dog named Ethan.

Dr. Emily Bewley (PU DVM 2011) of Louisville, Kentucky is one of many Purdue Veterinary Medicine alumni who has taken giant leaps since graduation to make a lasting impact on the world around her, and now she has a new honor to add to her list of accomplishments. Dr. Bewley received the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association’s Veterinarian of the Year Award for 2021 at the association’s annual awards luncheon last fall. The honor recognized Dr. Bewley for her efforts to save the life of a dog named Ethan that had been dumped in the parking lot of the Kentucky Humane Society in Louisville nearly dead from starvation. Tomorrow, Saturday, January 29, marks one year since Ethan arrived in Dr. Bewley’s care.

Dr. Bewley earned her DVM degree at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2011 and now works as a shelter veterinarian for the Kentucky Humane Society. Born and raised in Louisville, Dr. Bewley attended Assumption High School where she participated in a co-op program that provided her the opportunity to spend a few days each week working at a veterinary office. It was during this time that her love for animals blossomed. When it came time to consider going to college, Dr. Bewley knew instantly that she was meant to be at Purdue. Being close to Louisville and known for its academic excellence, Purdue’s veterinary medical program seemed to be tailored to her. After graduation, Dr. Bewley went on to work in veterinary emergency and critical care before finding a position with the Kentucky Humane Society and becoming a shelter veterinarian. It was there that her path crossed with Ethan’s, an abandoned pup in need of help. This encounter would become the most impactful rescue of Dr. Bewley’s life.

Ethan was found in the parking lot at the Kentucky Humane Society that Saturday one year ago severely underweight and dehydrated. For weeks after he was taken in, Ethan suffered from seizures, numerous lesions, and brain damage to his frontal lobe. His health condition was so severe that Dr. Bewley thought he was passing away, until he decided to eat during her second attempt to feed him. “Ethan was the worst case I’ve ever seen. Watching his recovery was kind of magical. It was all due to the strength of his heart and the strength of his character,” said Dr. Bewley. When Ethan was found in the parking lot, he weighed in at 38 pounds, when he should have weighed 80.  He now weighs a healthy 130 pounds and is one loving pup. Ethan is considered a walking miracle due to the extraordinary veterinary care he received.

Ethan also was honored by the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association (KVMA) last fall by being inducted into the KVMA Animal Hall of Fame. His plaque, dedicated to “Ethan Almighty”, reads:

“In recognition of an animal that exemplifies the affection, loyalty and value of the human/animal bond, and dedication while serving an individual and community.”

Ethan smiles at the camera with red and yellow party hats on his ears and party decorations in the background
Tomorrow, January 29, Ethan celebrates his one year “Found Ya” day.

Also honored were Kentucky Humane Society’s Medical Services Supervisor Jacie Claxton, Veterinary Technician Angela Miksell, and Veterinary Assistants Rebecca van Schepen and Dakota Arnold, all who cared for Ethan during his recovery. They were recognized at the same ceremony where Dr. Bewley was presented with the KVMA’s Veterinarian of the Year Award. “It was one of the most humbling experiences of my life,” reflects Dr. Bewley on her recognition. “I seriously was not expecting it. I felt so honored.”

Ethan was adopted by Kentucky Humane Society Facility Director Jeff Calloway and his wife, Dana. He has since acquired quite the following, as he was hired as a beer taster for Busch Beer’s Dog Brew and invited to throw the first pitch at a Louisville Bats game. “The COVID pandemic really made his popularity explode,” said Dr. Bewley. “People were looking for hope – something to hold on to – and they were with him all the way.” Ethan and Dr. Bewley’s story has gone so far as to influence legislation – there is currently a pre-filed bill before the current session of the Kentucky General Assembly known as “Ethan’s Bill,” which, if passed, would create much stronger animal cruelty laws in Kentucky.

Dr. Bewley is now helping foster a new pup, named Travolta, on a journey back to health. The two are inseparable, and Dr. Bewley admits she may end up adopting the foster one day. She provides words of encouragement and advice to anyone looking to pursue a degree in any kind of veterinary practice. “Keep your mind open. I never considered shelter medicine. I thought I would do ER and I was president of the student veterinary medicine emergency club one year. Now, I love shelter medicine. You never know where the world is going to take you.”

Congratulations to Dr. Bewley for her outstanding accomplishment, and happy “Found Ya” day to Ethan! We can’t wait to see the next giant leap your future holds.


Writer(s): Madeline Brod, PVM Communications Intern | pvmnews@purdue.edu

Category: Alumni, Our People

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