Helping People & Their Pets

Our Team

Paws for Hope is a small team passionate about animals and their ongoing care and protection. We’re even more passionate about finding a way to make animal welfare more sustainable in B.C. so we’re not stuck heads-down in emergency response mode unable to plan and build for the long term, especially important in a region that receives no government funding and sometimes limited corporate support for these animals.

Kathy Powelson, Executive Director | | 604-396-9297

Kathy is the founder of Paws for Hope Animal Foundation and has spent the majority of her career working to support at-risk youth through front line work, program funding, and community capacity building. Through this work, she recognized the importance of working with individual organizations and communities to build and support capacity to address the unique needs of each community and their young people. As she became involved in animal welfare issues in B.C., she realized that this same approach was needed to address the issues faced by animal welfare and rescue organizations in order to enhance the overall welfare of animals.

Kathy is a published author and holds a Masters degree in Criminology. Her and her husband live in Maple Ridge with their daughter, and dogs, Chili, Skippy and Henry and cats, Cinnibar and Hamilton.

Chris Keane, SpayAid BC Coordinator |

Chris has worked with animals all of his life, and is currently studying to become a veterinarian. Chris believes that everyone should have the same opportunities and believes that the work Paws for Hope Animal Foundation does to support vulnerable populations in caring for their pets, is an important part of fighting against inequality.

Chris lives in Surrey with his two dogs, Ravenclaw and Rue and cat Phoebe.

Board of Directors

Shawn Llewellyn, President |

Shawn has been a Board member with Paws for Hope since its founding year and has been integral in the development and implementation of our veterinary related programs and services. In addition to being Board President, and working with the Foundation’s Executive Director on community engagement and partnership building, he leads our involvement in a collaborative one health initiative for homeless and at-risk youth in Vancouver.

Dr. Llewellyn is a practicing veterinarian and managing partner at Scottsdale Veterinary Hospital in Surrey, B.C., and is a member of the College of Veterinarians of B.C.’s Animal Welfare Committee. Shawn has received the Christofor Award in Animal Welfare, and was the 2016 recipient of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s Humane Award.

Shawn lives in Vancouver with his two cats, Kyla and Casey.

Breanna Laubach, Vice President |

Breanna was born and raised in North Vancouver, BC and has always shared her life with pets. Her life-long love of animals inspired her to become involved with Paws For Hope. With a background in communication, her goals are to bring her resourcefulness and creativity to benefit the growth and longevity of the Foundation. Although Breanna’s main focus is for the welfare of companion animals within British Columbia, her love and support reaches a number of wildlife organizations from Oregon to Australia, where facilities focus on the research and preservation of unique and endangered animals such as koalas and sloths.

She lives with her pit bull mix, Lucy, whom she adopted from a local animal rescue. Breanna also fosters for Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA) and has assisted in finding forever homes for many of their rescues

Anton Abrahams, Treasurer |

Anton is currently the IT Director at Pan American Silver Corp. He received his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from SFU in 2007 and his Master of Business Administration in 2016, also from SFU. He is an avid animal lover in general, but especially so with cats. He has had cats from as far back as he can remember, most of which were rescues. Anton became a Board member with Paws for Hope because he wanted to make a difference in the wellbeing of animals. As well, he believes that his experience in IT and knowledge of business can be extremely useful as Paws for Hope grows.

Anton was born in Russia and spent some time in Japan, but he currently lives in Vancouver with his partner and their Chihuahua Tila and half Siamese Stoli.

Jeanette Hill, Secretary |

Jeanette has a passion for animal welfare and has always had animals in her life. She has volunteered with both mental health and animal rescue organizations in the lower mainland and is very excited to expand her involvement with animal welfare through Paws for Hope. Jeanette is currently a Product Development Manager in the performance management and measurement area with Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) of Canada. One of her main focus areas is on program and curriculum development for business professionals in the not-for-profit and charity sector. She received her business degree from SFU in 2008 and obtained a CPA, CMA designation in 2013.

Jeanette currently lives in North Vancouver with her partner and their dog Cookie.

Lori Mason, Director |

Dogs have always been an important part of Lori’s life and over the years, she has volunteered at shelters as a dog walker, volunteer coordinator, and behavioural specialist. Today she is a certified Master Dog Trainer teaching all levels of obedience and agility and has a passion for helping people with new rescues and dogs with behavioural problems. It was Lori’s vision that began Paws for Hope’s Roxy’s Relief program which she continues to play a vital role within. Lori lives in Vancouver with her two dogs and one foster dog

Melissa Stephens, Director |

Melissa is a veterinarian who is passionate about animal welfare and equal access to veterinary health care for all pet owners. Growing up in Surrey, B.C., Melissa was surrounded by animals and has a deep understanding and respect for the human-animal bond. She pursued a career in veterinary medicine not only because she loves to encourage and help support this bond, but also to act as an advocate for those who do not have a voice.
Melissa believes wholeheartedly in the work that Paws for Hope does – so much so that she decided to pursue a position on the board of directors. She has volunteered at many of Paws for Hope’s clinics for the homeless and low-income earners of Vancouver, and is very excited to continue to offer free vet care at these clinics as well as taking on a more active role in their planning.
Melissa continues to live in Surrey and dote upon her two shelties, Sophie and Charlie.

Rhianydd Bellis, Director |

Rhianydd received her Bachelor of Arts (with Distinction) from Bishop’s University in 2003 and her Baccalaureate of Laws from Dalhousie University in 2007. She was called to the Bar of British Columbia in 2008 and currently practices law in Vancouver.

Rhianydd has always had a keen interest in animals. As a youth, she volunteered at a veterinary clinic, and her family frequently had an assortment of domestic pets and wild “rescue” animals. Over the years, Rhianydd’s menagerie consisted of two fox terriers, a stray cat (turned family pet), eight gerbils, multiple field mice, three cotton-tailed rabbits, two tarantulas, a baby robin, and her pet crow, Molly. Rhianydd firmly believes in the importance of animal rights and welfare, and is looking forward to working on projects which enhance the lives of animals throughout BC. Rhianydd currently lives in Vancouver with her partner and their dog, Tessa.