Meet your 2021-2022 Board of Directors.
Click on each name below to see a photo and bio for each board member.
Lisbeth Plant (she/her) is a professional dog trainer and is the founder and owner of Cowichan Canine. She was born and grew up in Sweden, but she is British by naturalization and Canadian by marriage. She got her first dog, Dino the dachshund, when she was 13 and they trained and competed together in obedience and tracking. After Dino, Lisbeth embarked on education, family and a career in the international insurance industry, and she was the CEO of an insurance/reinsurance company in the City of London, England, until she was forced to retire in 1998 following a severe horse-riding accident. She moved from London, England, to Cobble Hill, where she lives with her husband Bill and their Bernese Mountain Dogs.
Lisbeth is an Associate Certified Member in the Dog Division of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, holds a Certificate in Applied Animal Behavior from the University of Washington, a Certified Training Partner of the Karen Pryor Academy and a Certified Behavior Adjustment Training Instructor (CBATI). She specializes in the behaviour modification of fearful, reactive and aggressive dogs, but works with dogs with many different behaviour issues on a daily basis.
Lisbeth is a strong advocate for increased professionalism and continuing education for professional dog trainers, and is a founding member of PACTA (formerly the Vancouver Island Animal Training Association). She is also a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers and the Behavior Education Network.
Lisbeth is a licensed Be A Tree-presenter with Doggone Safe, a non-profit organization dedicated to dog bite prevention through education and dog bite victim support. The Be a Tree programme is a seminar program for elementary school children that teaches dog body language and how to act safely around dogs. Through the sponsorships of Cowichan Canine, Lisbeth offers the Be a Tree dog bite prevention program free of charge to schools, scout groups and similar community groups.
From time to time, Lisbeth serves as an expert witness in the Provincial Court of BC in cases relating to dangerous dogs.
Valerie (she/her/hers) is a certified professional dog trainer and behaviour consultant and owner of Dog Partners dog training in North Vancouver and Fernie, BC. She has been working with people and their dogs for over 20 years.
She is a graduate "With Distinction" of Karen Pryor’s Dog Training Professional Certification program; a graduate of the Family Dog Mediator Certification program; holds the Fear Free Professional Elite status with the Fear Free Pets Certification Program; and her company, Dog Partners, is Accredited by the BC SPCA as one of their AnimalKind Training Companies.
Valerie is committed to helping her clients find behaviour solutions that work, using modern, science-based and force-free training methods that are safe, effective and fun. She specializes in puppies and adolescent dogs, as well as all levels of behaviour modification including mild to severe aggression, reactivity, fear and separation anxiety.
Valerie is passionate about learning and is continually finding new opportunities for furthering her education and knowledge. She attends many workshops and seminars; and participates in courses and webinars yearly to ensure her education remains current, effective and well-rounded. Valerie believes there is always more to learn, and knowledge should be ever evolving.
Valerie writes “Mountain Tails” training articles for the Fernie Fix magazine in Fernie, BC and was the Dog Training contributor for Pet Connection Magazine, writing articles for the magazine from 2010 to 2022. She is a Professional Member of the Pet Professional Guild, a Professional Member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, a supporting Member of the IAABC and is Vice President (and past Secretary) of PACTA BC (Professional Animal Care and Training Association of BC).
Valerie is regularly consulted and referred to by the media, industry professionals, veterinarians and a broad network of clients.
For over 40 years Joyce Wallace has been a noteworthy contributor to the management team of a variety of companies. Her experience in financial and business management cover food & beverage, manufacturing, tourism and recreation.
As Financial Controller at Grouse Mountain Resorts she engineered several changes to improve the customer experience and efficiency of financial reporting.
Joyce holds a BCom degree from McGill University and currently resides in North Vancouver.
Although not particularly good at it, she enjoys golf. Her favourite activity is hiking the trails on the north shore with her dog Frankie.
Christine Heal (she/her/they/them) has been involved in pet rescue for over 25 years. She founded Faunadael Pet Rescue, fostering and adopting out cats, dogs, small pets, poultry, and livestock.
Christine grew up on a Fraser Valley hobby farm where her parents supported—and tolerated!—her obsession with animals from insects to equines. She first attended university to become a veterinarian before switching to a different field, but still loves learning about animal behaviour. She has trained and/or trialed her dogs in competitive obedience, agility, rally-o, herding, tricks and tracking, and horses, ponies, a donkey and a mule in various riding and driving disciplines. Her beloved pot-bellied pig Frankenswine lived for ten years as a part-time house pig, and taught her how clever pigs are!
Christine copy edits geological reports and the odd novel, and is a seasonal hay farmer. In the past she worked as an office manager, taught numerous children's programs, and was lucky to be employed in the pet industry for over twelve years. She would like PACTA BC to have a stronger emphasis on youth support and education.
Before her daughter graduated to university, she was very involved with the school and district parent advisory councils, serving as secretary for both.
She supports VIATA moving forward as PACTA and is excited about including people from the rest of BC who share our values and mission to make our province a kinder place for companion animals.
Christine, her spouse, and a community (feral) cat live on Vancouver Island, and share their lives with a deaf goat, a wobbly goat, and a few large dogs...all who get excited for their clicker training and Agility sessions.
Candice (she/her/hers) is a Registered Canine Hydrotherapist and Certified Small Animal Massage practitioner and lives on Vancouver Island with her senior GSP Birdie.
Her interest in hydrotherapy began with bringing her own dog, Bubba, a 14 year old GSP, to swim. When he began having difficulties supporting his hind end, his veterinarian suggested swimming to build muscle mass in a non-weight bearing environment. He improved immensely and in the last year of his life, he was able to continue and enjoy the outings he so loved.
When an opportunity arose to train with the prestigious Greyfriars Hydrotherapy and Referral Centre, she jumped at it! In 2015, she completed their certification course, and became a Registered Canine Hydrotherapist (RCH). In April of 2016, continuing studies provided her with a Diploma Hydrotherapy for Small Animals (Dip.HSA).
Candice strongly believes in advocating for senior dogs through home modifications and providing enrichment.
Candice joined VIATA, now PACTA BC, in 2011.
Sylvia Currie (she/her/hers) is a certified dog behaviour consultant and trainer specialising in prevention and treatment of separation anxiety, reactivity, and aggression. She provides training and behaviour consulting in the Thompson-Nicola region of British Columbia through her business, Being With Dogs. She serves on the board of the Kamloops Cactus K9 Club which is active in organizing local recreational, competitive and educational events, and promoting positive training in the community.
Sylvia’s academic and professional background is in learning and community design, and she continues to do contract work in the post-secondary, government, and non-profit sectors, developing and facilitating learning online and supporting others to do the same.
She is the Education Coordinator for the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants Foundation, working with multi-species behaviour and training subject matter experts to develop online programs.
Sylvia holds a BEd, MA (Applied Sciences) and is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant through IAABC, Accredited Trainer by Kay Laurence (TAKL), a Certified Behavior Adjustment Training Instructor (CBATI) and a Certified Tellington TTouch Practitioner.
Robyn has worked with animals since she was fifteen years old, beginning her animal training career with Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins and African Penguins in Edmonton. After moving to Nanaimo in 2005, Robyn expanded into the dog care and training world and ultimately founded Best Paw Forward Dog Training in Nanaimo in 2006. She and her two dogs taught all levels of classes and one on one lessons for more than 15 years. Robyn is a graduate from the Animal Care Aide program at Vancouver Island University and is also a Certified Instructor for Dogsafe Canine First Aid. Her main teacher today is Ty, a 13 year old border collie mix, who is so unique that he is adored by everyone—especially those he teaches at the Dogsafe class.
Cait Wall (she/her/hers) is a dog mom, nurse, and runner who lives in Vancouver BC. She is the proud guardian of Milo (12-year-old labradoodle) and Auggie (2 year old mixed breed).
When she adopted Auggie in March of 2021, she realized that he had severe global anxiety and fear and that she had very limited knowledge in how to help him. With the help of amazing trainers, education courses, and a growing R + community, she has become very passionate about consent-based training and helping empower Auggie and Milo live their best lives.
She loves to discuss anything behaviour, learning theory, and enrichment, and frequently compares her friends' interpersonal struggles to Auggie's journey to confidence.
Outside of dogs, she loves to run, read, sing, hike, and camp. Cait would love to be involved in spreading the joy and beauty of R + training and help other dog parents navigate the dog training industry.