Working for the working animal

Our amazing team is made up of passionate, hardworking animal lovers. Whether they’re stitching wounds in the field, organising a fundraiser, or coordinating volunteers, they’re committed to making a difference.


Autumn Volunteer Hall of Fame

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Elaine and Elsie

This mother and daughter duo are tireless in the creation of their amazing crafts and running stalls raising much needed funds for our animals. Thank you so much!

“We have been volunteering for a long time in various ways. For many years now it has been our pleasure being involved and supporting Animal Aid Abroad.

We enjoy contributing and it’s great to see people purchasing the items we make and giving us feedback.

We love to hear people enjoy displaying their bed quilts and table runners. It's our special way to give back to the animals and Animal Aid Abroad.”

Elaine and Elsie


Board Volunteers

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Janet Thomas, Founder & CEO

The sight of an injured and exhausted  horse on the streets of Alexandria, Egypt was the final catalyst that brought me back to Australia in 2007. I was a teacher, living and working in Alexandria and was intending moving to Islamabad to teach, when I witnessed this horse, injured and bleeding hauling a cart overladen with heavy iron rods in the hot sun, it was the final straw. The horse was struggling and the driver oblivious to its pain and suffering - it was one of those sights and moments that changes your life. I flew home to set up Animal Aid Abroad that same year. When not teaching or running this special group, I enjoy spending time with my 3 dogs, the beach and my garden.

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Dianne Lawrence, Treasurer

I have been involved with Animal Aid Abroad as their Treasurer since August 2007. I am a qualified bookkeeper and work full time in private enterprise in a bookkeeper/payroll position. I have seen Animal Aid Abroad go from a small fund-raising charity, to a charity that now supports over 18 international projects. My life is extremely busy but I enjoy what I do and get much satisfaction seeing how AAA helps so many working animals in need. I live with my rescued cats - Shiloh and Saffy who double as my admin assistants and knee warmers. 

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Janette Huston, SECRETARY

I have been part of the AAA Inc team since its inception. I did the original brochures, newsletters, banner designs, certificates and a host of other desktop publishing using trusty MS Publisher. I now leave all the fancy stuff to those with better programs and expertise. I have always taken the minutes at meetings and manage the money boxes. I embarked on my first AAA India tour in 2017 and was overwhelmed by the dedication and work that was being done by the groups we support.  I  was so impressed I went again in 2019 to India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. I love cuddling and hanging out with my SAFE Karratha rescued dog Yarnda. She is adorable.

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Colleen McKenney

I have been a committee member for the past 5-6 years with Animal Aid Abroad and enjoy immensely being connected with this group. I travelled to India/Nepal in 2015, with AAA to visit some of the sanctuaries which we support – this really showed me where our efforts were going and what amazing work the groups are achieving. I have also been a volunteer at Native Arc for the past 12 years. This is a wildlife rescue centre in Bibra Lake where I enjoy a hands-on experience with the animals.

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Barbara Hacker

I have been fortunate enough to be involved with AAA for about 2 1/2 years now. I have been an animal lover my whole life. My family always had plenty of animals roaming around our home growing up in Perth - ducks, bantams, dogs, cats, mice, guinea pigs, horses and so on. In a small way I try to assist AAA by holding fundraising events such as markets and dinners in the restaurants my husband and I own. We try to get the word out to the public about the amazing work that AAA does. I feel very fortunate to work with such a wonderful group of people who are so dedicated and hardworking. 

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Dr Kirsten Jackson

I grew up with horses and have been passionate about animal welfare from a very young age. This led me to pursue a career in veterinary medicine and now run a busy equine veterinary dentistry practice when I'm not volunteering for Animal Aid Abroad. I first became involved with Animal Aid Abroad in 2014 when I began volunteering and helping run free veterinary clinics on the Gili Islands in Indonesia to treat the working ponies there. I have since joined the committee and provide veterinary advice and assistance to partner groups around the world.

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Sylvia Bettis-Heijne

My siblings and I grew up around horses in Singapore.  We were also the kids that brought home the stray dogs and abandoned puppies.  I began my affiliation with Animal Aid Abroad a few years ago, and have been fortunate enough to travel with them to Sri Lanka, India, and Nepal in January 2019.  I have seen for myself the dedication the CEO/founder Janet Thomas shows toward the animals and sanctuaries her charity supports.  I was also blown away by the wonderful people who operate these sanctuaries.  The most valuable lesson I learnt from the trip: One person can make a difference.  I am proud and humbled to be part of the committee. 


JENNY GRANT, Vice CEO and Merchandise Coordinator

Early on in my time with Animal Aid Abroad I joined several other members on a trip to visit our partner groups in India and I haven’t looked back. I met amazing locals who were changing the lives of so many working animals, I watched vets functioning on a shoe string budget and visited centres providing sanctuary for so many of these animals. So, when I knew we could do things from our safe, quiet places in Australia to help these struggling and suffering animals working so hard in so many developing countries around the world, there was no way I could NOT help.

With a background in science, veterinary nursing and animal welfare it gives me the greatest of joys to do whatever we can to assist the many animals who do the work of trucks, tractors and machinery in an effort to relieve at least some of their suffering and improve the environments in which they work.

I now post AAA merchandise to our supporters who generously visit the AAA shop online, and also co-ordinate the delivery of donated bandages and the like to our partner groups helping so many animals in developing countries.  

For me, AAA is all about remembering the animals who are not in the spotlight, who are never the centre of more well-known international campaigns and who are rarely on the receiving end of financial assistance and welfare improvements even though their need is just as great.  

Branch Coordinator Volunteers

Bridget Finch, South Australia

Dawn Perry, Victoria

Lee Dean, Australian Capital Territory

Marie Crilley, New South Wales

Admin Team Volunteers

Jane Hogben, Admin Support

Agatha Bong, Memberships and Sponsorships

Candice McLennan, Facebook Coordinator

Renate Homburg, Instagram and Twitter Coordinator