Empowering change: Trauma-informed leadership in the animal service sector

How animal service leaders can improve outcomes with trauma-informed care

Join the Vancouver Humane on Wednesday, November 22nd at 9:00 am PDT for an enlightening 60-minute webinar on trauma-informed leadership in animal services organizations.

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Who should join?

Anyone who would like to learn about the role of animal service leadership in introducing a trauma-informed approach in their organization is welcome to attend! This webinar is designed for all board members in animal services including:

  • Humane societies;
  • Shelters;
  • Rescues; and
  • Other nonprofits.

Free webinar by the Vancouver Humane Society: Watch the replay

Empowering change: Trauma-informed leadership in BC’s animal service sector

This webinar from the Vancouver Humane Society sheds light on the ways leaders can integrate trauma-informed care into their organizations to positively impact the animals they serve, the well-being of the people who care for them, and the staff who interact with both animals and clients.

Find out how board members can integrate trauma-informed care in animal services…

During this conversation, panelists will share their experiences and insights, shedding light on the ways leaders can integrate trauma-informed care into their organizations to positively impact the animals they serve, the well-being of the people who care for them, and the staff who interact with both animals and clients. Panelists will explore topics including:

  • How can a board ensure that trauma-informed principles are integrated into the organization’s governance structure and decision-making processes?  
  • What steps can an organization take to ensure that trauma-informed care is integrated into the organization’s mission, values, and long-term strategic planning?  
  • How can an organization approach decision-making to ensure that it is inclusive, equitable, and reflective of diverse experiences and needs?
  • How does your organization prioritize staff mental health? 
  • What is your approach to HR from a trauma-informed lens? 
  • What measures has your organization taken to promote equity within its leadership and governance structures?  

Attendees who stay until the end will be entered in a draw for a $100 donation to their organization.

Meet the panelists

Amy Morris

Executive Director, Vancouver Humane Society

Amy (she/her) is settler of Slovakian, Dutch, German and British ancestry. Amy resides and recreates on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, sḵwx̱wú7mesh, & sel̓íl̓witulh Nations, currently known as Vancouver and Squamish. Amy joined VHS in early 2020. Amy volunteers as the President of the Board of Directors for the Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Simon Fraser University with a thesis focused on regulating dog breeding to improve well-being and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Concordia University with a specialization in Business. Amy has wide experience in the animal protection movement, campaigning for policy changes at the municipal, provincial and federal levels to curtail animal exploitation. Amy shares her life with Clover, a collie mix who guides their day to day adventures.

Danielle George

Director, Vancouver Humane Society

Danielle George (she/her) is originally from Kansas, USA and is a recent immigrant to Canada, though she fell in love with the PNW years ago. She’s got a degree in sociology with an emphasis on human sexuality and has been working with people in a wide variety of fields from door-to-door campaigning to leading studies exploring sexual behaviours to working at shelters at the DTES. Some of her favourite work involves breaking down systems and helping people digest them from different perspectives so each aspect can be really evaluated on if it’s serving the intended purpose, if not, what supports are needed to get it there, or asking if it is the system or the goals themselves that need restructuring. Danielle has been passionate about creating and finding community in Vancouver, especially within Black & mixed race, Queer, fat-positive, and liberation-focused spaces.


Compassion, collaboration, and change: Exploring veterinary social work in animal services

How veterinary social workers can transform animal services

Join the Vancouver Humane Society and three expert panelists on Wednesday, June 14th at 9:00 am PDT for an enlightening 60-minute webinar on the field of veterinary social work and its transformative impact on the animal services industry.

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Who should join?

Anyone who would like to learn about collaboration between the sectors of social work and animal services, and about promoting the well-being of both workers and animal guardians, is welcome to attend! The webinar is designed for professionals and organizations working in:

  • Humane societies;
  • Shelters;
  • Veterinary clinics;
  • Rescues;
  • Social work; and
  • Related fields.

Free webinar by the Vancouver Humane Society & expert panelists

Find out how veterinary social work could change animal services…

During the 40-minute discussion, panelists will explore topics including:

  • What is veterinary social work, and how does it differ from traditional social work? 
  • How can working with a veterinary social worker benefit organizations in the animal services industry? 
  • How can collaboration between sectors help to combat burnout and compassion fatigue? 
  • How can a veterinary social worker help organizations implement trauma-informed practices? 
  • What are some challenges or barriers that organizations might face when incorporating veterinary social work into their practices, and how can they overcome them? 

The final 20 minutes of the webinar will be dedicated to audience questions, ensuring an interactive and engaging experience for all participants. Attendees who stay until the end will have the opportunity to enter a giveaway prize draw.

Don’t miss this chance to discover how veterinary social work could change animal services, and to explore the possibilities for collaboration between human services and the animal services industry. Register now to secure your spot and contribute to the well-being of animals, workers, and organizations alike.

Meet the panelists

Natalie Cruz

Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital

Natalie has been a veterinary social worker at Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital for more than a year. A lifelong animal lover, she has her Masters of Social Work and has more than 10 years experience in the social services field using skills such as crisis intervention, grief & loss support, difficult diagnosis conversations, end of life discussions, safety assessments, psychoeducation and more.

In her role as a veterinary social worker, she provides support for pet owners who are going through grief and loss, receiving a difficult diagnosis, end of life discussions and quality of life discussions. She also provides support to BBVSH staff around different concerns such as mental health, burnout, compassion fatigue and much more. She hopes by sharing more about veterinary social work that it can start a conversation within the animal services field on having a social worker on their team.

On her days off, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and enjoy exploring what British Columbia has to offer. She has a dog named Timber and a rabbit named Gertrude.

Erin Wasson

University of Saskatchewan, Western College of Veterinary Medicine

Erin Wasson (BSW, MSW, RSW) is a registered social worker who has worked clinically in several areas, including mental health, addictions, crisis response, interpersonal violence, trauma, geriatrics, disability, and youth work. She has spent her career working with individuals, groups, and communities as an advocate, clinician, and educator. She works from an integrative approach to social work, which includes assessments and interventions from a community-care and trauma-integrated lens. These approaches help Erin and the clients she works with to explore the context of their experiences that lead to relational connection and disconnection within their lives.   

In 2014 Erin implemented the Veterinary Social Work services at the University of Saskatchewan, Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM), the first of its kind in Canada. From a one welfare perspective, she continues to work as a social worker at the WCVM, providing services to clients of the Veterinary Medical Centre as well as resources to staff and faculty. Additionally, Erin has been active in the promotion of health, wellbeing, and tangible self-care strategies with veterinarians and allied professions. This includes providing resources, support, and educational seminars to professional associations, animal welfare agencies, and other groups who interact with human and animal relationships and manage the challenges that arise in the interface of the human and animal bond.

Dillon Dodson

Toronto Humane Society

Dillon joined Toronto Humane Society in early 2020 to head up the expansion of the Urgent Care program. Drawing on over a decade of experience working as a professional social worker, Dillon utilized her experience supporting marginalized persons to inform every step of the UC program creation and associated training manual.

From childhood, Dillon has always believed in the power of animal healing and has worked to align her professional skills with a foundational desire to be with animals. From advocating for animal-assisted sessions for trauma survivors to providing equine-facilitated therapy, Dillon seeks opportunities to bring unity between animals and people.

Dillon has an extensive educational background in Social Work gaining her Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Toronto and her Bachelor of Social Work from McMaster University, in addition to a number of certifications relevant to her field of specialization. She works through a resilience framework, employing trauma-informed practices and leading with recovery-oriented treatment.

In January 2023, Dillon joined Toronto Humane Society fulltime as senior manager of social work and embarked on certification in veterinary social work. In the same year, she was elected to the Board of Directors of the International Association of Veterinary Social Workers.


Let’s talk: Building resilience in the animal services sector

Improve outcomes, decrease burnout

As we see a global shift in social movements, public health responses, and political and economic climates, the animal services sector is experiencing a shift as well. This shift is unfortunately leading to increased burnout and overwhelm—but it also presents a moment of opportunity.

More and more animal services leaders and organizations like yours are adapting to help more animals through innovative programs and practices. In this webinar, Guelph Humane Society shares their experience building organizational resilience and using trauma-informed strategies in a rapidly changing world.

You’re invited to join the Vancouver Humane Society and Guelph Humane Society live on November 16th, 2022, at 9:00 am PST/12:00 pm EST for this free interactive webinar.

Free webinar by the Vancouver Humane Society & Guelph Humane Society

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Come listen to Guelph Humane’s story…

The VHS is excited to partner with Guelph Humane Society for a free webinar. During this conversation, they will share how they manage burnout and build resilience within their organization, as well as the trauma-informed strategies they’re using to do so.

Questions explored in the webinar will include:

  • How do you build trust and relationships in your community? What kind of presence do you have in your community?
  • What best practices for a trauma-informed approach stand out to you? What is your organization doing to support those practices? 
  • What are some actions you have taken to build resilience individually, as a team, and as an organization?