Driving through Mound House nearly a year ago, Western Nevada College student Honey Tapley saw something that concerned her. Conspicuously resting on the side of the busy road was a small dog that was struggling to sit up.
After traveling a mile farther, Tapley suspected that the mixed-breed must have been hit by a car. She turned her car around and headed back to investigate.
â€œI wasnâ€™t going to stop because I was going to be late for work,â€ Tapley said.
But she did return to the scene and found two other caring people there as well. Together, they helped transport the injured dog to Lone Mountain Veterinary Hospital in Carson City. As it turned out, the dog had suffered a shattered pelvis and was going to be put to sleep since the owner didnâ€™t have the money for the advised surgery.
Dog Town Canine Rescue stepped in and raised money to pay for the veterinary bills for the dog that community members have affectionately named â€œMurphy the Miracle Dog.â€
After six weeks of personal care by Dog Town volunteer Susanne Gargano, Murphy was cleared for adoption and Tapley volunteered to become the dogâ€™s new owner.
â€œIt was really neat that the whole community rallied around this dog,â€ Tapley said. â€œA lot of people became involved to make sure this little guy made it.â€
Recently, the experience of rescuing Murphy has become more far-reaching than Tapley could have imagined. She wrote about her experience saving Murphyâ€™s life on an application for the Coca-Cola New Century Scholar award.
The WNC sophomore, who is earning her associate degree, recently learned she has been selected as Nevadaâ€™s 2014 Coca-Cola New Century Scholar. Sheâ€™ll receive a $2,000 scholarship and will be recognized at the American Association of College Presidents Convention next month in Washington, D.C.
â€œI was shocked,â€ Tapley said. â€œItâ€™s a big deal to put in so much hard work and see an immediate reward for it. It was pretty amazing and humbling.â€
Tapley will be honored on April 8 at the Phi Theta Kappa Presidents Breakfast during the American Association of Community Collegesâ€™ annual convention. Coincidentally, sheâ€™ll be able to share the moment with her parents, who live only an hour away from the U.S. capital.
â€œMy parents were missionaries, so I was raised all over the world. Those experiences taught me respect for different cultures and the importance of community,â€ Tapley said. â€œThat was a priority and has remained a priority.â€
Tapley was among more than 1,700 applicants nationwide under consideration for the scholarships. Winners include one student from each U.S. state as well as a Canadian and international student. In addition to the grades earned by a student, judges consider leadership, activities and how students extend their education beyond the classroom.
“Honey is an exceptional person and highly deserving of the 2014 Coca-Cola New Century Scholar award,â€ said WNC Counselor Lauren Stevens. â€œArticulating one’s character through an extensive scholarship application requires thoughtfulness and intelligence, which Honey accomplished. It is an honor to have Honey pursue her education at Western Nevada College.â€
Tapley plans to use the scholarship money to pay for certification in herbology at Truckee Meadows Community College.
â€œThe amount of the scholarship is exactly what it costs for yearlong classes at TMCC,â€ Tapley said. â€œI wasnâ€™t sure how I was going to pay for it. Itâ€™s very cool how things have worked out.â€
In the meantime, she is on track to complete her associate degree at WNC in December. Eventually, she plans to earn a bachelorâ€™s degree in environmental science or botany at the University of Nevada, Reno.
As for Murphy, Tapley said there are no signs that the dog was seriously injured.
â€œHeâ€™s amazing. His pelvis was shattered in three places and the bones were never set. He runs and jumps all the time,â€ Tapley said.