Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Course Descriptions

The following courses will be required for program completion

  • AWCP1700 AWCP General Level (Theory)
    This course is intended for employees of animal care facilities who are relatively new to the organization. Some material directly pertaining to the BC SPCA is included but much of the information can be utilized by anyone interested in animal welfare.
  • AWCP1710 AWCP Advanced Level (Theory)
    This course is directed at the more experienced employees of an animal care facility or at people with an extensive background in animal care. The emphasis is more on management techniques (i.e. fundraising, managing volunteers, handling media, managing employees). Animal diseases are investigated in more depth with an emphasis on encounters with animals in settings outside the animal care facility (abuse investigations, car accidents, barn collapses, wild life rescue etc.)

AWCP1700 AWCP General Level (Theory)

Modules included:

Animal Care (0100): In this module the student will delve into the areas of animal anatomy, physiology, handling of animals often seen in an animal care facility including birds and wild animals, breed identification, animal disease, small animal nutrition, dog and cat first aid, micro chipping, immunology, euthanasia, cleaning and disinfection and the husbandry of rabbits and pocket pets. Videos produced at TRU and included in the course package will demonstrate many of the animal handling techniques discussed.

Legal Issues (0120): This module pertains to employees who deal with animal control. What are the legalities of impounding a stray dog or a known aggressive dog found at large? What are the client's rights? This module will relate the BC Provincial Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA Act) and the Canadian Federal Criminal Code to daily operations in an SPCA shelter.

Human Conflict Resolution (0130): Every animal care facility has to deal with people. Conflicts can arise between co-workers and between staff and clients. This module, via the use of several videos and a reference manual gives some ideas for defusing conflicts and creating a more harmonious work place. The module also deals with issues such as "burn out", motivation, customer service, personal development and self respect.

Basic Business Techniques (0140): Most animal care facilities are run independently managing their own finances through fundraising, licensing, fines etc. It is therefore important that their employees have some basic business skills. This module is broken down into several areas which will begin to address these skill needs.

  1. Bookkeeping. This section will incorporate the Pitman Office handbook and will deal with basic money management as it occurs in animal care facilities. Activities will include managing day ledgers, petty cash, day end balancing, deposits etc.
  2. Word processing. This section will not be taught as a separate entity but because the student is encouraged to submit assignments via the computer and modem or by mailing in computer disks they will learn "by doing". It is quite likely that BC SPCA employees taking this course as a condition of their employment will be required to use a computer for their assignments (see "course requirements").
  3. Letter Writing and Communication. Again these sections will not be taught as separate modules but the student will be completing assignments incorporating these skills and will learn by using the techniques.

Safety in the Workplace (0150): This module has been adapted from material written by Diane McKelvey DVM, for veterinary clinics. In this module many safety issues are discussed. What animal diseases are zoonotic and how do you prevent contracting them when working with your animal charges? What other hazards are present in an animal care facility? This module covers chemicals, environmental issues, WHMIS standards, and much more.

Humane Education (0160): This module was developed by the BC SPCA and covers a wide range of humane issues such as the history of the humane movement, violence prevention against animals (and its link to child abuse), responsible pet care, teaching others and a reference section.

The cost of this course is $703.57


AWCP1710 AWCP Advanced Level (Theory)

People with experience in these areas could proceed directly to the Advanced Level without taking the General Level course.

Modules included:

Animal Care (0200): This module builds on the AWCP animal care module (0100). Large animal and wildlife handling and first aid topics are covered and videos are supplied. Animal diseases are explored in more depth using a body systems approach. Large animal and avian nutrition is covered as is Immunology. The module ends with a section concerning the enrichment of the lives on shelter animals and how they can be trained to be more adoptable.

Legal Issues (0210): In this module we will build on issues discussed in the General Level course (0120). Where as the topics in the General Level course centered mainly around activities within the animal care facility itself, the topics in the Advanced Level course will focus on legal issues encountered when the animal care worker is out in public. (i.e. abuse investigations, entering private property, incident investigation etc.)

Human Conflict Resolution (0220): This module will concentrate on customer service and employee mental health. It will utilize materials produced by Kate Prevost, a noted animal welfare consultant, lecturer and author. The module is meant to give animal care facility managers and directors materials to motivate staff and help them to feel pride and satisfaction in the work that they perform. Material will be in the form of a workbook and audio tapes.

Human Resource Management (0230): This module is a work in progress. We will be including topics such as employee job satisfaction, hiring (its like a marriage - it could last a long time - take your time and select wisely) and firing (shouldn't have to happen too often if you hired correctly), motivating staff, creating a positive workplace environment, etc.

Humane Education (0240): This module is a continuation of the Humane Education General Level module (AWCP 0160). Topics will include, establishing a humane education program within your shelter, exploring animal issues, teaching controversial subjects, animals in therapeutic contexts and building a humane network.

Managing Volunteers and Foster Parents (0250): Finding good volunteers and keeping them is another top priority for most animal care facilities (or at least, it should be). This module addresses the issues of volunteer acquisition, motivation and satisfaction.

Fundraising (0260): In most animal care facilities relying partially on public interest and support, fundraising is an ongoing activity. This module explores some do's and don'ts and will provide the facility management team with some new ideas. We will also be using the American SPCA (ASPCA) book "101 More Great Shelter Ideas" to help with your fundraising projects.

Safety in the Workplace (0280): This is a continuation of the AWCP General Level Safety in the Workplace module (0150). In this module more zoonotic diseases are covered and the disposal of Biomedical wastes is discussed. The section on Chemical and Drug Hazards is repeated in this module for the benefit of the students who did not take AWCP 0150.

Vehicle Maintenance (0290): Most animal care facilities who also participate in animal control and animal abuse investigations own a vehicle to perform these activities. This short module discusses some do's and don'ts of vehicle maintenance involving animals.

The cost of this course is $703.57