Are you interested in participating in meaningful research?

Thank you for your interest in VHS’ current research project, titled ‘Taking a Trauma-Informed, Decolonized Approach to Address Animal Neglect Within At-Risk Canadian Populations.’ We are working on this project with two professors from Thompson Rivers University (TRU), Dr. Rochelle Stevenson and Dr. Shelly Johnson, who is also the Canada Research Chair in Indigenizing Higher Education. We have received full ethics approval for this study from TRU. This research is being funded by the Government of British Columbia through the Ministry of Agriculture, Plant and Animal Health Branch.

The overall aim of this research is to update the program design and training of staff in the animal services sector towards a One Welfare, trauma-informed model/approach. The concept of One Welfare refers to recognizing the interconnections between animal welfare, human wellbeing, the environment, and society overall. A trauma-informed model embraces practices which recognize the broad impact of trauma, and actively seek to avoid re-traumatization. 

We want to explore the best practices related to taking a trauma-informed approach when providing services to people with pets. The following research questions guide this project: 

  1. What are the current practices in place related to the surrender and/or seizure of animals for reasons related to neglect? 
  2. What are the impacts of these current practices on both service workers and clients? 
  3. What changes need to be made in order to improve the current practices? 
  4. What recommendations can be made to animal service agencies/workers to be used for training purposes, and to improve related policies? 

We are looking to talk with folks who meet the following criteria:

  • Workers who provide trauma-informed services and/or are experts in the field of trauma-informed practice.
  • Workers who have experience in the animal protection field and have provided services related to the surrender or seizure of animals.
  • Folks who have experienced the loss of a pet due to surrender or seizure, that was related to the animal’s health or welfare. Hearing about these experiences will provide a very important perspective on how we can improve training and policies, and ultimately provide a safer experience for both clients and their pets. 

Participation in this project is completely voluntary, and includes an interview of about an hour with VHS’ Lead Researcher, Celeste Morales. The interview can be done either through Microsoft Teams, or via phone.

We understand that your time and contributions are valuable, and so if you do decide to participate in the study, you will receive a one-time payment of $50 CAD for your time. 

With your permission, the interview will be recorded. Your privacy is extremely important to us, so we have put safeguards in place to protect the confidentiality and anonymity of the study participants. Any identifying information (such as your name, the names of others in your life, your workplace, your pet’s name) will be changed to protect your identity in any reports or publications that come out of the research. Any information that is gained through this study and that can be identified with you will remain confidential and will be disclosed only with your permission.

The outcome of this project will be a free-to-access, online training course that has a focus on One Welfare and trauma-informed care, which can be used by animal protection agencies to improve their services.

If you are interested in participating in this study and talking with Celeste about your experience, and/or you have any questions about the research, please contact Celeste directly at or at 236-521-7742.