Oakville, Ontario, Canada
As a veterinarian and social worker, Debbie is the CEO (Care & Empathy Officer) and Director of Veterinary Services for Pets Plus Us. She has a strong belief in the need for, and value of, interdisciplinary approaches to enhance the health and welfare of humans and animals. To this end, while doing her Master of Social Work she specialized in the link between animal abuse and human-directed violence, and has since shared her awareness at schools of social work and veterinary medicine as well as agencies and conferences. With a recent focus on the health and wellbeing of those in animal health and welfare, she offers a Canada-wide fully accredited veterinary continuing education program called “The Social Side of Practice.” Through this program, she helps those in veterinary medicine and animal welfare learn about the nonmedical/nontechnical realities of their work, such as compassion fatigue, and how to maintain resilience. With over 20 years on the frontlines as a veterinary clinical practitioner, she is well tuned in to the experience of compassion fatigue and the pitfalls in trying to manage it. She has written a number of articles as well as a veterinary textbook chapter and speaks internationally on the topic.