The Power of Love

Posted by: Kathy Powelson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


Tomorrow we say good bye to Sir Hamilton and there will be a big empty space in our home. Hamilton is the perfect example of the power of love. When he came to us as a palliative foster from Countryside Kennels last August, he was old and had a massive tumour on his side and the veterinarian did not expect he would live past October. We wanted to make his last couple of months’ full love and safety. And so, we all loved him with all our might. My husband and daughter, even our three dogs and cat seemed to understand that it was their duty to respect and protect him.

And the months passed. His tumour disappeared and he would spend most of his days on our heated kitchen floor.

Hamilton never pooped in the litter box and as the months passed, he stopped using the litter box all together. We would follow him around with pee pads, paper towels and disinfectant for we loved this old man. And he loved us. This I am sure of. He would come and sit by us on the couch and tap us on the shoulder for pets. And as each day passed that he was still with us, I believe it was a testimony for his gratitude for the love he received. Our bed, our daughter’s bed, the couch, the climbing post and the window sill. He spent periods of time in each room, ensuring that he didn’t miss out on anything.

And as the end draws near, and my heart feels with sorrow I hope he feels our gratitude. For there is nothing more rewarding than giving a homeless animal, not only a home, but a family. For giving an old cat a couch to rest his tired bones on. There is nothing more gratifying than sharing silent sleepy moments with a magnificent creature such as Hamilton, and there is nothing that can compare to knowing that his last moments were filled with the love of seven beating hearts.

Rest in peace Hamilton. Thank you for making your way into our home. I am very grateful for the time we had together. You will never be forgotten.

Kathy, Jules, Maya, Cinnibar, Skippy, Chili & Henry

Major Gifts Officer

Posted by: Kathy Powelson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


Paws for Hope Animal Foundation

Paws for Hope Animal Foundation (Paws for Hope) is passionate about animals and their ongoing care and protection. We have a vision for our province where every pet will be cared for and have a home. Each member of our teams believes in the potential to transform our animal welfare system to create a truly protective animal welfare system for pets in BC.

Major Gifts Officer

A newly created position, the Major Gifts Leader will oversee the development and implementation of a major gifts and planned giving program designed to increase individual, corporate, and community philanthropic support for Paws for Hope. Reporting to the Executive Director of our small, rapidly growing, and virtual organization, this position has a high level of autonomy to create and roll-out a strategy designed specifically for this organization. The ability to work independently and yet with a high level of accountability, is a hallmark of this position.

Key Responsibilities:

• Develop a major gifts strategy to target major individual, corporate, and community prospects that have the ability to make significant investments in the organization, through donations, sponsorships, in-kind contributions, third-party fundraising strategies, or planned giving vehicles
• Instigate and build meaningful relationships with a portfolio of prospects who have the ability to make a significant impact ($5000 or more) on animal welfare in BC and actively solicit these prospects
• Develop funding proposals to secure major contributions
• Develop and support a volunteer support team, including board members, who can identify prospects and support the solicitation process
• Develop a donor recognition program to honour donors for their support
• Steward current and past donors, maintaining their involvement and interest in the organization
• Develop and maintain communication networks and tools with stakeholders including donors, allied organizations, community leaders, volunteers, funders, and people of influence to provide regular updates and increase public awareness
• Support key Paws for Hope events that provide opportunities for cultivating, recognizing or stewarding donors
• Develop an annual program plan and evaluate results each year to help guide priorities for future years
• In partnership with the Executive Director, deliver presentations and attend events to build the organization’s profile and provide links to potential donors
• Prospect research
• Lead the development of collateral and online resources that support the major gifts program
• Manage donor database, records, and correspondence with all donors and prospects in the portfolio
• Create internal communication and reporting systems to maintain accountability in a virtual office environment

• 5 years of experience in a major gifts and fund development role, preferably in a small to mid-size organization(s)
• Demonstrated leadership skills and a record of completing assignments.
• Passionate about animal welfare and strong commitment to our vision for better animal welfare in BC
• Demonstrated success building relationships, developing cultivation and solicitation strategies, and securing individual and corporate gifts of $5,000 or more
• Proactive and self-sufficient, with the ability to work independently, from home with minimal supervision
• Strong planning and reporting skills
• Knowledge of planned giving including estate planning, trusts and estate, and tax laws
• Effective written and verbal communication skills
• Proficiency with donor databases, website platforms, and MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint
• Committed to effective donor stewardship practices to help ensure long-term support
• Willing to travel within the lower Mainland and occasionally in the province.

Hours & Compensation

Contract position for 20-25 hours a week, with potential to extend hours after 6 months. $40,000 – 50,000 / year


To apply, send resume and cover letter to Kathy Powelson
Deadline 4pm August 15, 2018

Supporting the Marginalized
in Our Communities

Posted by: Kathy Powelson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


by Shawn Llewellyn, DVM

It is a busy start to the morning at McLaren House in downtown Vancouver, as the schedule for appointments with veterinarians is fully booked and a fit-in list has already been started. The staff at McLaren Housing Society has organized appointments for pets of both residents and homeless guardians to be seen today. The team of volunteers for the no-cost animal health clinic includes veterinarians, registered veterinary technicians, and assistants, along with students from Douglas College’s veterinary technology and psychiatric nursing programs.

Over the course of the clinic, veterinary professionals will examine and vaccinate pets as well as educate guardians on their pets’ health and wellness. Deworming, pet food, supplies, grooming services, and free spay/neuter referrals will be provided, and minor medical conditions treated. Any complex conditions identified requiring a more thorough workup are referred to neighbouring veterinary clinics where they will receive the further care they need.

In this morning’s clinic, Teddy, a five-year-old Chihuahua cross, was brought to the clinic by his guardian, Jeremy. Jeremy recently adopted him from a friend he came to know during his time living on the streets. Teddy’s original guardian was unable to keep him when he moved into community housing that was not pet friendly. Luckily, he trusted Jeremy, and Jeremy was able—and more than willing—to adopt Teddy.

Jeremy was concerned that Teddy seemed to be taking longer to eat than usual. On Teddy’s examination, it was determined he had stage four periodontal disease and would require multiple extractions. Teddy was referred for further workup including blood work in preparation for dental surgery. Jeremy was grateful for the support he was given to get his closest friend and companion healthy and happy again. In the end, Teddy had ten teeth extracted, but will be healthier because of it. Jeremy was educated on the importance of oral care and has committed to working on maintaining Teddy’s dental health through regular teeth brushing.

Animal health clinics for the marginalized began on the notion that providing care to the pets of those in need supports not only the animals but also the more marginalized in our society. Strengthening the bond between animal and human guardian fosters a connection that runs deep and builds on the support network people have in their community.

Pets of the homeless and those most vulnerable provide necessary companionship and a structure to daily life that has proven to be life-altering in numerous instances. From the stories we are told as we build relationships with people and their pets, we learn of the lives that have been saved because of a pet coming into the care of a previous drug user or someone who was contemplating suicide. The human–animal bond is known to enhance psychological and emotional well-being and, in many circumstances, can be critical to people seeking further community supports and ultimately gaining a foothold back to some form of stability in society.

Some people may believe that pets of the homeless are not well cared for; however, this is a misconception. The volunteers at the numerous clinics throughout the province can attest to the care and well-being provided by these pet guardians. Data shows that homeless pet guardians have significantly higher mean scores on attachment to their pets compared to the population as a whole, and that their pet is important for their mental and physical health . One barrier to pet ownership that is often raised is housing. Many homeless pet guardians choose to remain on the streets due to inadequate housing options that allow pets. They choose their pet, often their sole companion, over affordable housing or a shelter environment. More pet-friendly housing options are becoming available, but there is still a lack. The site of today’s clinic, McLaren House, is one of those pet-friendly affordable housing organizations. McLaren Housing Society believe in the human–animal bond, as staff have witnessed time and again how a pet can help combat isolation, depression, and other mental health issues.

Research shows that animal companions help street involved youth cope with loneliness and improve their sense of well-being through unconditional love. It also shows how pets motivate positive change, such as decreasing drug and alcohol use. While pet guardianship provides many liabilities, companion animals offer both physical and psychological benefits that youth otherwise have difficulty attaining.

Veterinarians can build upon the bond that exists between pet and guardian. Opportunities for veterinarians include volunteering for an animal health clinic or running one in the community, partnering with an organization to provide support to those in need, donating supplies or preventive medications such as parasite control, fundraising for a community program, support and/or sharing stories of the work being done through social media networks. Many BC organizations and programs support the homeless and marginalized, including The Canadian Animal Assistance Team, Charlie’s Food Bank, Paws for Hope Animal Foundation, Vets for Pets Victoria, and One Health Clinic.

Pets serve as a meaningful source of constant companionship and support for the homeless and marginalized. This companionship has thwarted the worst effects of depression and helps those contemplating suicide regain an element of mental well-being and purpose. In line with that, veterinarians can, and do, play a leading role in the support and recognition of this influential human–animal relationship. Veterinary professionals help promote the health and well-being of both the animals and people involved, further strengthening an everlasting bond.

This article originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of West Coast Veterinarian Magazine, the quarterly publication of the CVMA-SBCV Chapter.

Helping People, Helping Pets

Posted by: Kathy Powelson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News



The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviours that are essential to the health and well-being of both. This includes, but is not limited to, emotional, psychological and physical interactions of people, animals and the environment.

In some circumstances, a pet is the only constant and comforting companion an individual has in their life. Pets can have a very positive impact on an individual’s emotional well-being, so much so, that they will choose this companionship over accessing much-needed services and/or housing. Caring for their pets maintains a sense of purpose and attachment while the exchange of affection and compassion can soften even the most difficult and vulnerable of circumstances. Understandably, the loss of a beloved pet at any time, but especially during times of crisis, can exacerbate feelings of hopelessness, depression and anxiety.

More and more, social services and animal welfare professionals are recognizing that they cannot help people without helping their pets—and they cannot help pets in a sustainable way if they are not helping their people as well.

• Anti-violence organizations and women’s shelters are now engaging in conversations about how they can better support women with pets who are in violent relationships. These women will often not seek shelter as they will not leave their pets behind in violent or abusive situations.
• Lack of affordable and pet-friendly housing is resulting in a constantly increasing number of families being forced to decide between their pets and a place to live—regardless of their financial means.
• Many British Columbians live paycheque to paycheque and a sickness, accident or other unexpected life event may make it temporarily difficult for an individual or family to provide for their much-loved pet.

There is a myriad of ways someone’s life can quickly unravel, and if this person also has pets, getting the supports they need to get them back on their feet, while still keeping and caring for their pet, is incredibly difficult, if not impossible.

Currently, the service community tends to be divided into those focused on helping pets (animal welfare) and those focused on helping people (social services)—and the vast majority of this work is done separately. Both social service and animal welfare organizations operate with limited resources, and many are only able to respond to the immediate and pressing needs of their clients—neither have the financial or human resources to create an additional layer of service.

Meeting the need to support homeless and low income families with financial aid for veterinary care is currently unmanageable.


When someone is no longer able to care for their pet, the burden for the well-being of this animal is placed on the animal welfare community which include volunteer-run rescues, donor-funded BC SPCA shelters and municipal government-run shelters supported by taxpayers. Despite the significant needs of companion animals and the important role they play in people’s lives, there is no government funding to support animal welfare and rescue organizations in B.C.

The reluctance of many shelters to take in animals with medical and/or behavioural issues places an enormous strain on the volunteer-run rescue community dependent on donor support.


Communities in the north, and other remote regions in the province, are often not equipped to address the needs of owned pets in their community because of lack of veterinary services and little to no presence of animal welfare or rescue organizations. In addition, many communities across the province have large numbers of feral community cats and free roaming dogs. This lack of animal welfare services and inability to manage free-roaming companion animals can affect the overall health status of communities when populations of unhealthy animals are present.

Animal welfare professionals recognize that a focus solely on the animal in need in these circumstances keeps the severely underfunded rescue organizations constantly in crisis mode without any capacity to create more sustainable proactive solutions.


A deep and life-enhancing bond between many pets and their human guardians exists regardless of economic or health status. When pet guardians live within either temporary or permanent vulnerable circumstances of low income or homelessness, pets can suffer from lack of adequate healthcare. When individuals choose to forego social services, including healthcare and housing, because of their bond with their pets, those individuals may suffer increased health and safety risks. Clearly, the challenge lies in how to best serve people with pets as a unit, in order to avoid breaking their bond.


The solution to the growing problem associated with people and their pets is to create an integrated service program that brings the social services and animal welfare sectors together—and Paws for Hope Animal Foundation is uniquely qualified to lead the way. Our Animal Welfare Advisory Network of BC (AWANBC) is bringing animal welfare organizations in B.C. together to address issues impacting communities across the province. We currently have strong relationships across the social services sector, including the Federation of Community Social Services BC (a member-based organization representing over 140 social service agencies in B.C.).

Paws for Hope aims address this gap by creating a program that can:
• respond to supporting the needs of pets whose people are in crisis;
• reduce barriers to access for service for people with pets;
• provide animal care training and support to social service staff;
• provide options to increase the likelihood pets can stay with their people and out of the shelter/rescue system.

To begin, we will need to meet with social service agencies across the province to identify what supports and services already exist, and what services are needed to support their clients with pets. These service needs may include:
• Emergency compassionate care
• Funding support for veterinary care
• Education regarding responsible pet guardianship
• Training for shelter staff on basis of animal care
• Behaviour consultations / training support
• Housing

We will also work with our animal welfare partners to identify the supports and services that are required and/or need to be enhanced.

There is a lot of work to be done, and you can join us in this exciting endeavour by making a one time or monthly donation.

The Top Three Reasons Why NOT To Gift a Pet for Christmas

Posted by: Kathy Powelson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


Our Vice-President Breanna and Lucy have an important message to share with you this holiday season on why gifting pets at Christmas is a bad idea.


The holidays are a busy time of year. We are often coming and going, more often than usual, from our homes to festive celebrations, shopping etc. When bringing a new pet into your home it is important for them to have your attention so that you and your new family member can create a trustworthy bond. This can be a very stressful time for pets, and an extra busy household that is full of excitement can make the transition process very difficult. If you are adopting a young animal the training required can be very time consuming and some animals require lots of exercise. Training should start immediately, not after the holidays are over. Most of us don’t have a spare moment during the holiday season, making if very difficult to find the time to train. The best way to alleviate the stress and fear a pet may have coming into your home is be home as often as you can, keep a consistent schedule and maintain a calm environment.


Gifting someone a pet for a present is just a bad idea. Choosing the right pet is a very personal decision and not one to be made by someone other than the new adoptive parent/family. Picking the right pet personality to suit you/your families is something for you and only you to do. Pets are not products, they are living creatures, like us, and they should NEVER be sold in a retail setting and purchased as presents. Even if adopting from a local shelter or rescue, gifting a pet gives the wrong impression, especially to children, that this new pet is a toy. You want your children to understand the responsibilities of caring for an animal and for your new pet to not end up being ignored after the novelty wears off.
Hold off bringing a pet home from a shelter and head on down to your best friend’s chocolatier and by them a box instead! Or give them a gift certificate for a pet adoption after the holidays are over.


Deciding to expand your family to include a pet is also committing to taking on the financial responsibility that comes along with them, much of which is unforeseen. This may not be fully thought through if you decide on a whim to adopt during the holidays as you are swept up in the magical time of year and decide to help a pet in need and bring home an animal from your local shelter. Purchasing or adopting an animal is a costly decision, from food, litter, regular and emergency veterinary care (like when your Pitbull Lucy gets pneumonia from eating goose poop!). And let’s not forget the pets who will require walkers, daycare and will need somewhere like a boarding kennel or pet sitter when you take your annual vacation or frequent business trips. Please fully consider all of the responsibilities that go along with having a pet any time of the year.


Giving an animal the gift of a forever home is a wonderful gift, but if you celebrate the holidays, the best thing you can do is wait until your festivities are over. If you are having a hard time waiting and feel like you want to give to animals this holiday season, consider making a donation/volunteering at the animal charity of your choice or the shelter you anticipate meeting your new pet at in 2018. As a board member for Paws for Hope Animal Foundation, I can personally attest to the personal rewards volunteering brings.

Happy Howlidays to you all, I wish you and yours the very best this season!

Breanna Laubach
Paws for Hope Animal Foundation

PS: Of course, if you would like to help animals most in need during the holidays, you can do so by donating to us!

Volunteer Research Assistant Opportunity

Posted by: Kathy Powelson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


Position Title: Research Assistant, Youth Programs

Term: November 1, 2017 – May 31, 2017 (six months)

Reports to: Executive Director

Position Summary:

To work with the Executive Director to produce a report on youth programming and services related to animal welfare.

Roles & responsibilities

  • Conduct a literature review and collect other program, evaluation and policy information related to animal welfare youth programming and services.
  • Analyze the efficacy and reported outcomes of programs.
  • Produce a final report.
  • Position Requirements

  • Qualitative research experience
  • Academic writing experience
  • Home office
  • Able to work independently and as part of a team
  • Access to academic database is preferred
  • An interest in youth issues and/or animal welfare
  • Please note this is a volunteer opportunity

    Please send cover letter and resume to Kathy Powelson at by 4pm on October 20, 2017.

    Connection & Collaboration : AWANBC Conference

    Posted by: Kathy Powelson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News



    8:30am – 4:00pm

    Fairmont Hotel, 900 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

    Keynote Address: Elizabeth Jensen, Best Friends Society

    Guest Speakers & Workshop:

    Jan Hannah, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Northern Dogs Program

    Why does diversity lead to better decisions?
    Jackie Wepruk, General Manager, National Farm Animal Care Council

    Workshop: Communication Essentials for Animal Welfare Organizations

    Refreshments and lunch included.

    $50 AWANBC members*
    $75 Non-members

    *Member price is available to all AWANBC members in good standing as of October 15.
    To submit your membership application, visit


    Ask Surrey to ban the retail sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits ~ Sign Petition

    Posted by: Kathy Powelson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


    Pets Are Not Products

    Ask Surrey to ban the retail sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits

    On Monday, September 11 we will be presenting before Mayor and Council to ask the City of Surrey to follow the lead of Vancouver, New Westminster, Richmond and over 200 other cities across Canada and the United States and ban the retail sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits.

    We can no longer ignore what we know about breeding mills and backyard breeders, and the devastating suffering this inhumane business practice causes.

    Add your voice and let Mayor and Council know you want to Surrey to stand up for animals. Sign the petition and share.

    [emailpetition id=”2″ width=”500px”]


    Thank you for speaking out for companion animals.

    [signaturelist id=”2″]

    Letter to Nanaimo City Council & Staff

    Posted by: Kathy Powelson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


    Dear Mayor McKay and Council,

    I am writing on behalf of Paws for Hope Animal Foundation to respond to the delegation presentation and subsequent questions of councillors regarding the BC SPCA’s correspondence requesting a ban on the retail sale of cats and dogs on Monday, August 14, 2017.

    Paws for Hope Animal Foundation maintains that the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits is an animal welfare issue, and supports the growing movement across the U.S. and Canada in which cities (currently over 200) have prohibited the sale of these animals, unless they are through a qualified rescue organization.

    At issue,

  • During his presentation to council, Paws N Jaws owner, Mr. Bender stated that because he found 39 cats being sold on Kijiji, Craigslist and Used Nanaimo that there is not an overabundance of cats needing homes to justify a ban on their retail sale. He estimated that number represents 1 kitten for every 7500 residents of Nanaimo. If Nanaimo’s population is roughly 90,000, 39 kittens is actually 1 for every 2300 residents, and 1 for every 900 residents that would statistically have cats. He failed to include the fact that, on average, only 39% of Canadian households have cats and, more importantly, he failed to mention the hundreds of cats with local and regional rescue organizations, municipal shelters and the BC SPCA that are available for adoption. At the time of writing, Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association alone has 125 cats and kittens available for adoption. He also failed to mention the hundreds of cats and kittens abandoned and left to fend for themselves every year. It is a fact that there is an overabundance of cats in every community in BC.
  • Mr. Bender maintains he does not source his puppies from puppy mills but refuses to provide the identity of the breeders from whom he sources his puppies and kittens. This raises serious concerns about the breeding practices of those who are selling their puppies and kittens to him to sell at a profit in his store. No reputable breeder sells their animal through a pet store. It is neither physically nor economically possible for a breeder to supply the quantities of animals required to sustain his pet sales while raising those animals in conditions that meet their health and behavioural needs. In addition, reputable breeders, whether they are certified or not, screen potential families themselves to ensure their animals are going to the best home possible. They also require that at any time in that animal’s life, if the new family is not able to provide adequate care, the animals are returned to the breeder. Neither of these processes take place when anyone can purchase any pet on the spot in a retail store. The contract signed is meaningless— there is no screening done, nor is there follow up.
  • Councillor Fuller took issue with the BC SPCA’s statement that the Canadian Kennel Club and Cat Fancier Association members are not allowed to sell their pets through a pet store, because according to Councillor Fuller, “not everyone can afford a purebred”. He further shared that his husky cost $800 and not everyone can afford that. It should be noted that puppies at Paws N Jaws are currently being sold for between, $1,000-1,600 — double what Councillor Fuller paid for his purebred husky.
  • Mr. Bender conceded that his animals are left alone overnight, despite the acknowledgement, in his own store’s contract with purchasers, that this is not best for the welfare of the puppies. If the store closes a 6:00pm, and does not open again until 9:30 the next morning, those puppies and kittens are left alone in a small glass box for 15 ½ hours every day. At this developmental age for puppies and kittens, this is cruel and can lead to both health (lack of adequate feeding and not living in sanitary conditions) and behavioural problems (lack of adequate socialization).
  • Mr. Bender contends that puppies make up 40% of sales and if a ban was passed, he would go out of business and have to default on his lease. Given there are hundreds of pet stores across the province that do not sell animals—there clearly exists a proven and profitable business model for Mr. Bender that does not involve the sale of puppies and kittens.
  • I have attached more detailed, information letter on the issue of pet sales in stores.

    The time has come to end this inhumane business practice, exploiting companion animals for profit. The vast majority of Nanaimo residents do not want to see cats, dogs and rabbits sold in pet stores. Nanaimo City Council has an obligation to all residents, not only small business owners.

    Kind Regards,

    Kathy Powelson
    Executive Director

    Tell Nanaimo to prohibit the sale of cats, dogs and rabbits in stores!

    Posted by: Kathy Powelson Tags: There is no tags | Categories: News


    You did it! You wrote letters. You demonstrated. You spoke for the animals that suffer in breeding mills and the City of Vancouver listened.

    On June 28, 2017 Vancouver City Council voted unanimously to ban the retail sale of cats, dogs and rabbits. Vancouver now joins the City of New Westminster (cats, dogs and rabbits) and Richmond (dogs and rabbits), along with over 200 cities across the United States and Canada that are taking a stand against this inhumane business practice.

    And now, we want Nanaimo to ban the retail sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits. Nanaimo is one of the few BC municipalities that has a store that sells cats, dogs and rabbits and we want it to stop!

    Let your voice be heard. On August 14, 2017 Nanaimo City Council will be discussing a motion to ban the retail sale of cats, dogs and rabbits. Now is the time to send a letter to Mayor McKay and Council and let them now you support this motion. You can find an online sample letter here or Word document here.

    Your emails made a difference in Vancouver—it’s time to make a difference in Nanaimo.
    Send an email to all:

    You can also mail your letter to:
    455 Wallace Street
    Nanaimo, BC V9R 5J6

    We worked very hard to get a ban in Vancouver, and we were successfully because of you! Let’s keep fighting!