Who We Are

Helping BC pets since 2011.

We are unstoppable optimists working to ensure that no pet gets left behind.

Paws for Hope envisions communities that embrace all pets as family, ensuring they are loved, free from harm. To that end, our mission is to shift the culture of companion animal welfare in British Columbia by creating new models of practice and remediating the underlying causes of harm through cross sector collaboration, education, and advocacy.

This includes direct program delivery, grant funding, advocacy, and professional development. By filling the gaps with our own direct animal assistance and educational programs while simultaneously strengthening and empowering BC’s existing animal welfare sector, we’re moving closer and closer to realizing our vision of a province that provides the utmost care and protection for its companion animals.

Help Now

A Message from our Executive Director

When Paws for Hope Animal Foundation was first founded, we had some ambitious goals. Our mission, at the time, was to work collaboratively and build capacity so that British Columbia might one day have the kind of protective and progressive animal welfare system that it needs and deserves. It hasn’t been easy, but we have managed to accomplish a lot over the past nine years and I am so proud of how far we have come in such a short time.

We have established the Animal Welfare Advisory Network of BC, bringing together animal welfare organizations from across the province to jointly address issues affecting our communities. We have held dozens of free veterinary clinics for low-income residents. We have increased access to vet care through financial assistance programs that help both rescue organizations and low-income pet guardians and are helping to changing community bylaws to secure bans on pet sales in cities across BC.

The work that we do, and the approach that we take to this work, represents the future of animal welfare in this province. We are continually focused on system-wide changes focused on prevention, intervention, and sustainability. We are very excited about the coming years and are grateful to everyone who continues to believe in and support our mission.

The truth is that we couldn’t do it with out our wonderful and compassionate volunteers and donors. It is so encouraging to see all these changes happening and to the feel the support provided by people like you—people who believe in our mission and who give their time, energy, and money to help keep pets and their people together, healthy, and happy. We are making change, ending suffering, and saving lives and it is because of you.

Kathy Powelson, Executive Director

Annual Reports

No Pet Left Behind

Saving lives

Paws for Hope Animal Foundation has launched an innovative program to assist pets whose people are fleeing violence.

Press Release

Better Together

Help for Bear

When Bear needed some unexpected veterinary care, our Better Together program made sure that he got the medical attention he needed.

Learn More

Our Partners

“Our forward-thinking, pioneering approach means we are continually focused on system-wide impacts to make our sector—and the province as a whole—better informed and more humane.”

Kathy Powelson

Thank you for your support

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.

Board of Directors

  • Wendy Riley



    Wendy has long been an animal lover, ask anyone who knew her as a child and they can attest to Wendy arranging for them to take in one of the many stray, and or injured animals that she continually was bringing in off the streets of Montreal, Quebec in the 1970’s. Fast forward to many years later and Wendy is still bringing animals home, this time to live out their life, on her and her husband’s 22 acre patch of heaven know as the R&R Ranch, where senior and special needs animals of all kinds find their happy ending. Wendy has served as a board of director, volunteer, and community development coordinator for various rescues and shelters in the province of B.C. since 2010. Wendy stays busy as an entrepreneur, volunteer, and caregiver for the over 20 animals at the R&R Ranch, and hopes to make a positive impact on the many lives of animals that cross her path. Wendy is honoured and excited to be part of the “Paws for Hope ” organization, and believes working together, we can make a difference to animal’s lives in British Columbia, and across Canada.

  • 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.

  • Lexy Mcleod



    Lexy is a Chartered Professional Accountant(CPA), who works at a national accounting firm in Surrey. Lexy was born and raised in Fort St. John B.C. and has always had a love and admiration for animals. She is currently a dog mom to two Westies, Brea and Keka! Lexy decided to get involved in Paws for Hope after learning about the great work the organization does to keep pets with their families. Lexy’s dog Keka, is actually shared with a family who immigrated to Canada from Mexico, and couldn’t keep their pet due to living arrangements. Keka now gets the benefits of two families who love her dearly! Lexy is a Chartered Professional Accountant(CPA), who works at a national accounting firm in Surrey. As the treasurer, Lexy works to ensure fiscal responsibility of the generous donations that come in to to the organization.

  • Tessah Clark



    Tessah began her journey in animal welfare advocacy when she starting volunteering at the Victoria SPCA with her older sister, when she was only six years old. She went on to volunteer at Witty’s Lagoon Nature House with her Dad when she was a teenager, educating the public on the diverse plants and animals living in the park’s rich habitat. In 2016 Tessah was rescued by her sweet adopted dog Molly, who has inspired her continued volunteer efforts. Tessah is the Executive Director of the Face of Today Foundation, a charity that provides resources and educational opportunities to high-risk youth in downtown Vancouver. Prior to her career in the non-profit sector she worked in marketing with a specialization in intercultural communication.

  • Shawn Llewellyn



    Dr. Shawn Llewellyn is a practicing veterinarian and managing partner at Scottsdale Veterinary Hospital in Surrey, BC. He graduated with honours in Animal Sciences from Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Agriculture and received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island. Shawn has been a Board member with Paws for Hope since its founding year, serving as Board President for five of those years. He has been integral in the development and implementation of our veterinary related programs and services, and is our primary veterinarian and Clinic Director. Shawn is a past member of the Animal Welfare Committee’s for both the Society of British Columbia Veterinarians (SBCV) and the College of Veterinarians of B.C. (CVBC). He is a current member of the CVBC’s Investigation Committee. Shawn has received the Governor General’s Academic Award, the Christopher Award in Animal Welfare, and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s Humane Award for his involvement and work on animal welfare matters over the past 15 years. Shawn lives in North Vancouver with his partner and cats, Kyla and Casey.

  • Cynthia Boulter



    An animal lover and rescuer from a young age, Cynthia is keen to put her experience to work as a Director at Paws for Hope with a focus on fundraising and organizational efficiency. Cynthia grew up with cats as a child, became a horse lover and dedicated equestrian growing up, and then added dogs to her life in her twenties. Largely an extrovert, but with the core of an introvert, Cynthia is happiest in the company of animals. As Chief Operating Officer of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, Cynthia leads the Development, Community Events, Communications, Distribution and Community Agency teams. Her career includes experience in operations and client services, people leadership and team building, business development and key account management, and P&L responsibility with companies such as Morneau Shepell, TELUS, Accenture Business Services for Utilities/BC Hydro, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board and Mackenzie Financial Corporation.

  • Ayla White



    Ayla White is a Vancouver Realtor with a passion for not only Real Estate, but also animals. Having grown up surrounded by pets, she only knows life with furry companions. She’s been a strong supporter of animal wellness and the importance of keeping our pets safe. She recently lost her fur baby Dexter due to unknown and quickly spreading cancer this past year. Without him, she has decided to take on the role of one of the board directors for Paws for Hope so she can feel she is giving back and making an impact on other pet’s lives.

  • Anna White



    Anna works in Alumni Relations at BCIT, and has previously worked in various industries, from non-profits to banking and insurance. Growing up with animals (dogs, cats, hamsters) for the majority of her life, Anna has always had a passion for animal welfare and a lifelong love for animals. When planning out future vacations, opportunities to visit animal sanctuaries or see wildlife in their natural habitat is always top of mind. Anna enjoys being the go-to person for dog sitting for friends and family. All of these things combined are what inspired her to join Paws for Hope.

  • Karen Sloat



Our Staff Team

  • Kathy Powelson

    Executive Director


  • Cassie Preston

    No Pet Left Behind Coordinator


  • Alex Evans

    Community Coordinator, Salmon Arm

  • Maxine Haberl

    SpayAid Coordinator


  • Marshall Watson

    Communications Coordinator

Latest News

Follow Us

Newsletter Sign Up

Add impact to your inbox