Veterinary Social Work: A New Paradigm
Angie Arora, Seneca College, Toronto, Introduced by Diane James, Blue Cross

Angie Arora, Seneca College, Toronto

Angie Arora is a registered Social Worker from Toronto, Canada with over 16 years of experience working at the cross-sections of the human-animal-bond, more specifically in the areas of pet loss and veterinary wellness.  As a Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist, Angie works with animal-care providers to foster wellness and address systemic causes of burnout and compassion fatigue. She serves as the Board Secretary for the International Association of Veterinary Social Work, is the Research Chair for the International Association for Animal Hospice & Palliative Care and volunteers her time to address equity issues within veterinary medicine. She works with VetVine as a Virtual Pet Loss Facilitator and is the Lead Coach for their VETPeers Wellness and Professional Resiliency Coaching Program.

She is a Professor with Seneca College’s Social Service Worker Program, where she was the principal investigator of a research study that developed guidelines for veterinary teams to better support clients through their pets’ end of life. Angie obtained her Bachelor of Social Work from Ryerson University and Master of Social Work from York University.

Diane James, Blue Cross

Diane James is the Manager of Blue Cross Pet Bereavement Support Service, having had a career in HR and training in both the human and animal world, Diane found her open door policy led her to complete her post graduate in counselling, which after working with human loss and grief, led to her dream job with Blue Cross. This role has seen the free support service grow to offer phone, email and recently the new addition of webchat. As well as accredited training and courses for animal professionals in the area of Pet loss, emotional support and Bereavement.

Diane works with many organisations, nationally and internationally, also being a member of the international association of Veterinary social workers, Diane has contributed to the training of the North American  association for Pet loss and bereavement counsellors, who use the Blue Cross Pet Grief cycle in the training they provide.

Diane regularly contributes to all forms of media locally and nationally, on the Topic of Pet Bereavement and is also co-chair of the academic based group pets passing, as well as this she is a Trustee of the Helplines Partnership board.

Session Synopses

Those working in UK veterinary practice will be familiar with bereavement training and some practices may provide support to their teams for compassion fatigue. We are also aware of the many animal-assisted therapies such as PAT Dogs, Hearing Dogs for the Deaf and of course, Guide Dogs for the Blind.  But in addition, and arguably the fourth cog in the wheel, is the connection between violence against humans and animals. How do we recognise and respond to animal abuse and support pet parents who face domestic violence? What is, or should be, the role of veterinary practitioners in supporting the needs of pet owners, especially those experiencing challenges in their lives while still working within scope of practice? Angie Arora is Professor and Social Worker specialising in the human-animal bond, based at Seneca College in Toronto Canada and is on the inaugural Board of the International Association for Veterinary Social Work. She has worked in a large animal hospital as a veterinary social worker, providing bereavement training and counselling, support for compassion fatigue and served as a liaison between veterinary staff and pet owners at times of crisis. She describes the concept of veterinary social work with an introduction from Diane James, from Blue Cross, a trained Pet Bereavement Counsellor, who is looking to introduce this area into the work they do.