Canine Physical Therapy Enthusiast

Q&A with second-year D.V.M. student Holden Sakala
 an individual with a dark mustache and beard crouches with a black dog
Holden Sakala enjoys some time at Nahant (Mass.) Beach with 2-year-old mixed-breed Crew. Photo: Kati Maselli

Where are you from?

I grew up in Northern Colorado in the city of Fort Collins, a bastion for breweries, beasts, and mountain blooms. Old Town Square in Fort Collins served as the inspiration for Disneyland’s Main Street USA. 

What academic degrees have you earned?

I received my B.A. in integrative physiology from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2015 and a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 2019. Shortly thereafter I achieved my certification in canine physical therapy.

What attracted you to Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine?

The opportunity to explore multiple tracks of veterinary medicine throughout both the didactic and clinical phases were major factors in choosing Tufts for my veterinary education, but – as an advocate of academia and teaching – the real kicker for me was Cummings School’s exceptional dedication to educational outreach via its Tufts at Tech and myriad K-12 STEM programs.

What have you been involved in and who has helped and mentored you?

Since arriving at Cummings School, with the help of my fellow members of V26 class council, we’ve established a monthly V26 community newsletter that spotlights the many diverse stories behind the 100-plus faces of the V26 Class, as well as the numerous creative endeavors and passion projects they engage in outside of veterinary medicine. 

Additionally, I’ve lent my everlasting love for anatomy education to both the Cummings School after-school Gap Junction program designed for middle schoolers interested in pursuing veterinary medicine, as well as the Comparative Anatomy Exchange held between the vet school and various clinical doctorate programs within the Tufts University School of Medicine. I thank Drs. [Sandra] Ayres, [V93] and [Phyllis] Mann for continuing to stimulate that enthusiasm.

What do you hope to pursue after graduating?

I don’t foresee my passion for teaching flaming out. There’s nothing more rewarding than cultivating excitement for and confidence in learning. Outside of academia, though, I see myself pursuing a specialty, ideally something surgical. However, I also enjoy championing physical therapy for animals. It’s a service that is egregiously under-utilized and regretfully inaccessible in the vast expanse of veterinary medicine. So, I’m not sure yet.

Educating Tomorrow’s Veterinarians

The only veterinary school in New England, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine prepares DVM graduates for entry level practice in any of the major domestic species, through a curriculum designed to nurture individuals who will become leaders in developing the science, technology, and ethics that will shape the veterinary profession in the future and to foster lifelong learners.

Learn more


DVM Program