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. We are guided by a Code of Ethics and 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.

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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 change 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 & Financials

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


Paws for Hope also thanks The River Foundation, the Burnaby Community Foundation, and the Randall Foundation for their support.

We are also very grateful to the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund distributed through the Community Foundations of Canada, Port Coquitlam Community Foundation, Coquitlam Foundation, Port Moody Foundation, United Way of Greater Victoria (and/or Victoria Foundation), The Maple Ridge Community Foundation, and the Vancouver Foundation.

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

  • Cynthia Boulter


    [email protected]

    Cynthia is passionate about the work Paws for Hope does to advance animal welfare and through her role on the Board she focuses particular attention on the areas of fundraising and stakeholder engagement. Animals are her joy in life, and she is honoured to be a part of this organization. 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, 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.

  • Katelynn Denny

    Vice President

    [email protected]

    Katelynn is an employment lawyer and workplace investigator at Forte Law Corporation in Surrey where she advises clients on all aspects of employment law and workplace human rights. Katelynn is passionate about using her knowledge and legal skills to empower not only her clients, but others in the community. Her volunteer experience includes providing advice and support to individuals who have experienced sexual harassment at work. Katelynn was born and raised in the Fraser Valley and has been an animal lover her whole life. Having experienced the joy and happiness that animals can bring, she joined Paws for Hope to give back to the community and help provide support to pets and their families.

  • Lexy Mcleod


    [email protected]

    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


    [email protected]

    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.

  • Judy Gage


    [email protected]

    Judy brings 15 years of business and operations management, including global project management to her role as a Director with Paws for Hope. In her career with Optum, a global health and wellness company focused on innovation, she has successfully led multiple industry accreditations, managed ongoing business through 2 corporate acquisitions, and researched, project managed and launched new software, procedures and projects around the globe. She is excited to be a part of the influential work Paws for Hope does in the animal welfare community, and will be initially focusing her skills and strategic planning abilities on our accreditation work within AWANBC (The Animal Welfare Advisory Network of BC). Judy lives on Vancouver Island and is devoted to her adopted dog and many barn cats, her three horses, and the family of deer who have adopted her since moving to her new farm.

  • Karen Sloat


    [email protected]

    Karen has worked in corrections for approximately 25 years. She has a diverse background in corrections having worked in community corrections, mental health services, regional interventions management and in penitentiary. Karen has always remained focused on service delivery, and working to promote safe and successful communities. She has joined Paws of Hope in order to continue to contribute to communities in another way that matters to her, the quality care and support to pets and their families.

Our Staff Team

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