Board of Directors
Lisa McDowell joined the Bow Valley SPCA Board of Directors in May 2017. She brings with her a number of years of experience serving on volunteer Boards including the Canadian Mountain Arts Foundation (artsPlace), Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta and Vecova Centre for Disability Research and Services. She looks forward to making a contribution to the Bow Valley SPCA serving on the Board, volunteering at events and raising money all with a view to helping the organization continue to save lives of dogs and cats and enrich the lives of the families they join. Lisa is a dedicated animal and nature lover and enjoys spending time in the mountains with her husband Dave and their dog Libby.
Helen has lived in Canmore since 1991; originally from the UK. Came to the Rockies for a summer in in 1975! She retired September 2017, after a career in hotels, with a focus on Human Resources.
"I am proud and impressed with the Carla Cumming Sojonky Adoption Centre which Canmore has embraced; we are a better community for it. I look forward to being a contributing member of the Board.
Board Member since 2017
Lauren was involved in fundraising & events before ground was broken and building of the Carla Cumming Sojonky Adoption Centre began. She visited the centre soon after its opening and joined the Board as Secretary in 2007. Shortly after joining the Board, Lauren adopted the beautiful Kayla! Lauren was an active member of the Board for the next 6 years, assisting mostly with events; however, held a term as President as well. She left the Board at the end of 2013 but soon after returned as Vice President.
Lauren has a strong organisational/business background and of course a passion for animals! In addition to her four legged fur babies in Canmore, Lauren and her husband adopted an orangutang at the Centre for Great Apes in the United States! Funny coincidence, his name is Christopher, which happens to be the same name as Lauren's husband!!!
Lauren enjoys being involved in the day to day running of the centre, helping with events, as well as assisting with operations. Along with her love for animals, Lauren has a passion for photography! You can usually find her at our events, with one or more cameras around her neck, snapping away!
Kate is a crazy cat lady and dog enthusiast who volunteers with the Bow Valley SPCA. For the past two years, she has instructed the Open Paw dog training program for new volunteers. This program was designed specifically for shelter dogs and focusses on the benefits of positive reinforcement training in a high stress situation such as an animal shelter.
Kate also works directly with the dogs in the shelter until they find their forever homes. She focusses on basic commands and loose leash walking but loves introducing dogs to agility obstacles. You can also find Kate at many SPCA events, introducing the dogs and talking about the benefits of force-free training methods.
Kayla got involved with the bow Valley SPCA in 2015. She began initially just to spend time with the dogs. After a short time she became and Open Paw trainer and began teaching new volunteers positive reward training techniques. Kayla has been involved in many events and like most volunteers at the SPCA is an advocate for the animals.
Jackie is a long time Bow Valley resident and even long time lover of mutts. Her children are now away at university so she has switched her volunteer energies from the schools to the Bow Valley SPCA. She began in 2019 by walking dogs, volunteering at events and serving as a centre greeter and has progressed to helping at puppy classes, teaching the Open Paws program and serving on the Board. Jackie is on her third rescue mutt (she says they are the best!) and says it has been the most incredible privilege to welcome these new family members and watch them relax and blossom.
Meghan Keelan is the Bow Valley SPCA's Adoption Centre Manager. She joined in July 2018 as the Administrator and changed over in December 2018.
Before working at the Bow Valley SPCA, Meghan worked for an outdoor kids program called Forest Play that connects youth with nature and teaches them about the local flora and fauna of the Rockies. Meghan has a Biology Degree and has volunteered and worked with animals or environmental groups since she was young.
In her free time she enjoys hiking, climbing, painting and being active in the outdoors.
Daisy Hilchey joined the Bow Valley SPCA in June 2020 as an Animal Care Attendant, and in September 2020 took on an additional role as Administrator, managing social media and events.
Before working at the Bow Valley SPCA, she graduated from the University of Alberta with a BSc in Animal Health, and worked as a Vet Tech Assistant at a veterinary clinic. She has a passion for reducing fear and stress in animals, and did undergraduate research in this area of companion animal behaviour.
In her free time Daisy enjoys spending time outdoors, reading, and of course snuggling with her four-legged (and zero-legged) friends; Gremlin the cat, Nagini the snake, and Fluffy the crested gecko.
Joseph has been a board member since 2007 and has served as Communications Chair as well as Vice-President, and Chairperson of Funding Development. He currently works as a Funding and Development Advisor. Maggie (miniature poodle resting in his lap), is 7 years old. Joseph got her when she was 8 weeks old. Clearly the queen of the household.
Sue Donnelly served as President of the Bow Valley SPCA from 2002 to 2005. During this period she was instrumental in leading a team of volunteers who set the vision, developed the strategy, and found the necessary capital funding in order to bring to the Bow Valley SPCA to the building/operational phase. Sue came to the Bow Valley SPCA with more than 20 years of experience in executive Human Resource positions with organizations such as Banana Republic/The Gap, LucasArt (California), Walt Disney Company (Florida), and Euro Disney. While living in the Bow Valley, Sue worked part-time for The Banff Centre and the provincial government, as well as volunteering for various community committees. Since moving to Florida, she has worked part-time as the project manager for the Urban Land Institute, Florida Initiative for Regional Cooperation (Florida) and currently as a part-time Legal Assistant for a law firm. In her spare time, she enjoys lots of outdoor walks in the warm year-round Florida weather, all the local events, and traveling to visit her friends in the 12 cities where she previously lived during her career. "It has been extremely rewarding to work with such a talented team to make our dream a reality - to build a No Kill, No Cage Adoption Centre in the Bow Valley - the First of Its Kind in Canada - one that will benefit dogs and cats, as well as people, because people know that the dogs and cats that they fall in love with will be adopted. Providing a lasting legacy for the care and adoption of dogs and cats in the Bow Valley is truly my passion and the work of all of our souls."
Dr. Ian graduated with a Biology degree in 1996 and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from OVC in 1999. He was working in Brooks, Alberta in 2007 when the call of the mountains brought him to Canmore.
Dr. Karen MacMillan obtained her Bachelor of Science in 1989 and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1991, both from the University of Guelph. After practicing in Ontario for 2 years she moved to Canmore in 1993 and has been at the Canmore Veterinary Hospital ever since. In 2009, Karen became certified in Canine Rehab Therapy, allowing her to further develop her interests in canine sports medicine, puppy development and senior pet care. She enjoys all aspects of being a veterinarian, including surgery, dentistry and wellness care. When not at the clinic, she enjoys time with her husband, two athletic sons, Kylie her dog and Kona the cat. Karen is involved in numerous sports including running, skiing, weight lifting and Pilates.
Dr. Sylvia McAllister has been a veterinarian since graduating from OVC (Guelph), in 1987. She moved to Canmore the same year and has been happy to call it home ever since. Sylvia enjoys caring for her patients in all facets of veterinarian medicine but especially surgery and diagnostic technology, including x-ray and ultrasound. She shares her house with two teenagers, two dogs and two cats, which keep her pretty busy. (She is also a hockey Mom). In her spare time she loves to travel, paddle board (with her of her two dogs on board), cross-country ski, ride her horse and practice her photography skills. Check out her great photos on the Canmore Veterinary Hospital Website.
Dr. Melnick grew up in Pinawa, Manitoba on the Winnipeg River where she obtained a love for nature and the outdoors. She received her Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg before completing her veterinary degree in 2019 at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon. After graduation, she spent a year working at a small animal general practice and emergency/specialty clinic in Lake Country, BC.
Katya has now settled down in Canmore and is enjoying getting to know everyone and their pets. She has particular interests in nutrition, wellness, emergency medicine, and working with clients to find a solution for their pet’s problems together. When she's not in the clinic she can usually be found on the mountain bike trails, on the chairlift, or in the back-country.
Dr. Thompson graduated from the University of Saskatoon in 1991 and chose veterinary medicine as she wanted a position that ensured life long learning and where helping people and their pets was the outcome of her efforts. Over my career she has worked in Canada, the UK and United Arab Emirates with veterinarians and staff trained in over a dozen countries. Her areas of interest include geriatric medicine, dermatology, dentistry and nutrition. A great day at work is when the team and her have a positive outcome for the owner and their pet. This can be as simple as a positive, pain free first puppy visit to an extensive work up and treatment of an ill animal. Outside of work she enjoys gardening, knitting during NFL games, and camping.
Dr. Robin grew up in Canmore, surrounded by wildlife and family pets (everything from degus to an Irish Wolfhound) and was inspired at a young age to give back to the animals in her life and pursue a career in veterinary medicine.
Staying close to the mountains, she obtained a BSc. in Biology from the University of Calgary, and a DVM from the U of C Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in 2021. Robin has worked at BRVC since 2014, starting as an animal care attendant, and is excited to now be working in a position that requires cleaning up less dog feces. As a first-year veterinarian she is still trying to find her niche in the profession but has an interest in diagnostic imaging and all things feline.
In her spare time Robin enjoys a multitude of Canmore activities including hiking, mountain biking, cross-country and downhill skiing, yoga, drinking overly-expensive coffee, and wearing athleisure clothing. When not out and about in the Bow Valley, Robin can be found at home with her two cats, Evelyne and Theodore.
Dr. Michaela was born and raised in Southwestern Ontario. Michaela graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph, Ontario with distinction in 2012. She began her veterinary career as a mixed animal veterinarian in a large practice in southwestern Ontario and transitioned to small animal practice where she has been splitting her time between general practice and locum emergency medicine work over the past few years. She and her husband have always loved the mountains, and they recently jumped at the opportunity to move to beautiful Alberta to pursue a more active lifestyle and enjoy all of the outdoor activities the Rockies have to offer. Her veterinary interests include soft tissue surgery, diagnostic ultrasound, and emergency medicine. When not in the clinic, she is likely out hiking, mountain biking, skiing, horseback riding, or in general enjoying Alberta and BC’s beautiful scenery whenever she can!