By tamaraAs a teenager, I often turned to my cats for comfort and advice. Although they never spoke to me in the human sense, they did provide a patient ear when I needed to vent. My two favorite friends, Sebastian and Casper, were always there when I needed some warmth and unconditional love. Later, I welcomed my faithful companion Reba, an Akita, to the family. She was a fierce guardian, but shared my disdain for thunderstorms, which would send her shivering under my bed covers. I have so many wonderful memories from each of my furry friends, and although they are no longer on this Earth, they will forever hold a place in my heart. For many of us, pets are special members of our family. We look past their bad manners, such as chewing up our favorite pair of shoes or drinking out of the toilet bowl, and embrace their carefree spirit. They comfort us when we are hurting, make us laugh when we are sad, and even protect us from others who would do us harm; those who count animals among their friends are truly blessed. Many people may not realize that our furry friends also provide another benefit, too – free money for college. Here are just a few of the scholarships that are offered to those who count Fluffy, Fido and Mr. Ed among their best friends. 1. Junior Showmanship Scholarship Program Any U.S. student, who will be attending college during the 2013-2014 school year and has participated in American Kennel Club (AKC) events, may be eligible for this award. The number of awards and amounts varies. Deadline: February 15, 2013. 2. Herpetological Society Educational Scholarship For those who prefer cold-blooded friends, and plan to major in herpetology, this scholarship is perfect. Applicants must be members of the Jacksonville Herpetological Society and have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. One $250 scholarship will be provided. Deadline: March 3, 2013. 3. Nicole White & Christopher Vose Scholarship The Maine Morgan Horse Club provides two (2) $1,000 scholarships to members who are 22 years or younger at the time of application. Applicants do not have to be residents of Maine to join the organization. Deadline: May 6, 2013. 4. MMHC Adult Scholarship Adults, who have been members of the Maine Morgan Horse Club for a minimum of two years, may apply for this scholarship. One $500 award will be provided. Deadline: May 6, 2013. 5. Campbell Family Scholarship The Banfield Charitable Trust provides 40 scholarships, ranging from $500 to $5,000 annually, to U.S. undergraduate students pursuing a degree in a pet-related field. Applicants must have a grade point average of 2.75 or higher. Deadline: June 30, 2013. For those who plan to build on their love of animals by pursuing a career as a veterinarian, be sure to check out the many resources available, such as loan forgiveness programs and scholarships. Many states and organizations offer funding opportunities, such as the loan/scholarship program provided by the Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid. Looking for more scholarships for animal lovers or for those pursuing careers in the animal industry? See what’s available by registering for a free account with ScholarshipExperts.com today.