Classroom Resources


My name is Gwen and I’m a retiree. I grew up in 12 different small communities across Alberta, and now live in Edmonton. As a child, we had a terrier named Tippy and she was my best friend. As my parents and brother and I moved to a new town almost every year, Tippy was one of the few constants in my life. Tippy went everywhere with us, whether we were out on our little boat fishing, playing in our neighbourhood, or traipsing through the woods. I also loved cats, as my sister almost always had a cat. Both of my parents were animal lovers, and taught us to respect not only pets but farm animals and wildlife.

I have always been drawn to kangaroos. They really are the most magnificent creatures, ranging from when they are tiny and adorable, first learning to hop, to the enormous alpha male adults, who can be quite intimidating. I would love to travel to Australia to visit a kangaroo sanctuary that I support.

My interactions with animals have only grown since childhood. One of my first goals as an adult was to get my own dog, and in total I’ve had five.  Each one has been my closest companion, and they have joined me in a lifetime spent as a volunteer in animal welfare. Several of them did school visits with me for the Alberta SPCA. My current dog Gilly also does weekly visits to a seniors’ home as part of a pet therapy program.

I think it is vital for young people to recognize animals as sentient, feeling creatures and to treat them with respect and kindness.

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