The Vital Role of Social Work in Animal Welfare

| March 17, 2023

Social work is an increasingly important aspect of animal welfare organizations as the recognition of the human-animal bond continues to grow. Social workers play a crucial role in addressing the complex issues faced by pet parents and animals, providing support and guidance to individuals and families dealing with a range of challenges, including poverty, homelessness, mental health issues, and domestic violence. By ensuring that pet parents have access to the resources they need to care for their animals, such as food, shelter, and medical care, social workers help strengthen the bond between pets and their guardians, ultimately creating healthier and more resilient communities. 

At Toronto Humane Society, social work is an integral part of our community programs, with dedicated team members utilizing a social-service lens to various services, including the Urgent Foster Care program. On March 21st, 2023, we recognize Social Work Appreciation Day and honour those who have employed a social-service lens to animal welfare programs. Two such individuals are Dillon Dodson, RSW, Senior Manager of Social Work, and Justine Morrison, Assistant Manager of Urgent Care. Both Dillon and Justine have extensive experience in social work and animal care, bringing unique perspectives to their work. 

Justine Morrison, Assistant Manager of Urgent Care
Dillon Dodson, Registered Social Worker, Senior Manager of Social Work

Justine Morrison, Assistant Manager of Urgent Care has worked in the foster program at Toronto Humane Society for over 5 years. With a diploma in Social Work from Vancouver Island University and a certificate in Animal Psychology, Justine has been instrumental in the development and launch of the Urgent Care program. Her dedication to making the world a better place for animals is evident in her work, and she displays compassion, a strong understanding of animals, and a deep commitment to pet owners and foster parents. 

Dillon Dodson, Registered Social Worker, Senior Manager of Social Work, joined Toronto Humane Society to head up the expansion of the Urgent Care program. Drawing on over a decade of experience, Dillon utilized her expertise supporting marginalized persons to inform every step of the Urgent Care program creation and associated training manual. In her role, Dillon brings her insight, expertise, and seemingly endless compassion to the organization every day, inspiring the future of animal welfare programs. 

In recognizing Social Work Appreciation Day, we express gratitude for the hard work and dedication of staff like Dillon and Justine. Social workers play an essential role in animal welfare, helping to ensure that pets and their guardians receive the support and resources they need to lead happy and healthy lives. Their commitment to strengthening the human-animal bond and fostering healthy communities deserves recognition not only on this day but every day. By upholding and supporting the work of social workers like Dillon and Justine, we can pave the way for a brighter future for animals and their human companions.