Dogs Trust’s Veterinary Director, Paula Boyden, was awarded the highly coveted J A Wight Memorial Award at the 2017 British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) Congress this April, in recognition of her ‘outstanding contribution to the welfare of companion animals.’
Celebrating its 60th year, the BSAVA awards at the Congress celebrate remarkable contributions in the field of small animal veterinary practice, highlighting and recognising members of the veterinary profession, such as Paula.
Since graduating from the Royal Veterinary College in 1992, Paula spent many years in general practice and industry before joining Dogs Trust in 2010 as Deputy Veterinary Director, and progressed to Veterinary Director shortly after in 2011.
After being presented with her award, Paula said: “It was a great surprise when I received the letter informing me of the award, and a wonderful honour to receive it. I’m grateful to the BSAVA for highlighting the importance of animal welfare, and helping to inspire others in the industry to continue their great work.
“My role at Dogs Trust enables me to fulfil my personal passion for greater animal welfare in a variety of ways. From working with veterinary practices across the country, and our own vets who care for the 15,000 rescue dogs a year at Dogs Trust, contributing to fantastic projects such as our campaign to end puppy smuggling, to being part of the Links Group to tackle domestic violence and related animal welfare issues.”
BSAVA President Susan Dawson said: “I am so pleased to be involved in recognising the achievements of those vets and nurses who have made such enormous contributions to the veterinary profession, such as Paula. I send my congratulations to all those receiving an award, and I am looking forward to seeing the nominations for next year.”
As well as her unfaltering dedication to Dogs Trust, Paula is passionate about her ongoing work with the Links Group, for which she carries out veterinary undergraduate training and supports as Treasurer. The Links Group is a collaboration of member organisations including animal welfare charities, such as Dogs Trust, child welfare and domestic violence services, and community and NHS trusts. The Group aims to help and protect victims of abuse, both human and animal, and promote their welfare, and Paula’s work with this group was recognised as part of her successful nomination for the BSAVA award.
Increasing clinical evidence and research suggests that there are interrelationships or ‘links’ between domestic violence, child abuse and animal abuse, and Paula has been instrumental in proactively drawing awareness to this issue and developing the Links Group’s activities.
Paula plans to ensure dog welfare remains high on the radar of the general public and government, and through her work with Dogs Trust influence behaviour change, working towards a day when all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of unnecessary destruction.