Organizational History


The Vision Behind The Vision

The Vision Behind The Vision started with a little girl who envisioned people and animals loving each other just for being. Had it not been for the Human-Animal Bond she experienced in her formative years she may not have survived her childhood. The Human-Animal Bond gave her three gifts the ability to embrace the present, learn from the past, and hope for the future. In order to keep these gifts she knew she must give them away.

About the Founder

Joanne Moss' a Canadian resident was born in Ottawa who connected with stray, abandoned, abused, and injured animals for as long as she can remember. Their instant connection taught her that the only thing more costly than loving is not loving. While serving others in the community she eventually introduced the Human-Animal Bond to other hurting and marginalized people. Joanne was eventually trained in Humane Education and designed a 'Fun and Safety Around Animals Program' for grade-school children, for The City of Gloucester in Ontario. This peaked her interest in the bond and human-animal interactions opening a door to visit seniors and adults with disabilities with her canine partner Star. The first nine months of Star's life were unstable and extremely abusive, nevertheless, in no time Star began to flourish responding to the loving kindness, stability, and training she encountered with Joanne. Part of Star's training was in sign language so that she could interact with people who were deaf. Star passed the Canine Good Citizen test and before long became a smashing hit among many little fans who availed themselves of her companionship in a child-care setting. Parents were thrilled at the difference Star made in their children's lives.

Trying to find inroads to get trained and involved in Animal Assisted Therapy/Activities was like looking for a needle in a haystack so Joanne began doing extensive research and networking to try to get answers, but to no avail. Persistence began to pay off, however, there were many schools of thought, books of all kinds, studies, organizations, and the like.

What initially appeared to be a fragmented road block was really an opportunity to create and build an organization that would in time fill in these gaps so that people embracing the Human-Animal Bond would be able to connect with one another to build an exceptional and seamless industry to ultimately benefit those in need and to care for the animals entrusted to them.

New Beginnings

Joanne became a committed volunteer and long-time participant in National Access Awareness Week and was invited to share her vision with a Workplace Accessibility Advisory Committee (WAAC) in 1997. The WAAC embraced her vision, raised funds, and gave the money to Joanne asking that she follow her dream. Joanne was touched by their attentiveness and humbled by their gift rising to the challenge, by forming a national nonprofit organization which was incorporated on February 6, 1998. The organization continued to evolve and on February 14th, of 2005 was granted a national public foundation status. The organization’s name was changed to The Canadian Foundation for Animal Assisted Support Services in 2007 to better reflect its mission which is to improve the health and quality of life of people with physical, emotional, and social challenges through partnerships with companion and service animals.


Philanthropist, entrepreneur, and humanitarian Dave Smith became the organization’s first Patron in 2007. Renound artist and sculptor Eleanor Milne became a Patron in 2008 followed by Dominic D’Arcy the famous Singing Policeman and entertainer, next came speed skater champion Kevin Frost and in 2009 and his trusty guide dog Nemo, Chris Irwin entrepreneur, author, and teacher best known for his natural horsemanship in equine assisted learning came on board. Famous actor, author, producer, and composer Alan Thicke became a Patron of the Foundation in 2009, followed by Major-General Lew MacKenzie (Ret'd).


• 2008 Hosted a National Summit

• Launched new Website 2010

• United and Engaged People Globally to Co-Create Our Collective Desired Future

• Established the North American Military Advisory Committee for Animal Assisted Support Services

• Co-hosted the AWARE Festival for World Animal Day for three years

• Responded to an invitation to make presentations to the Federal Minister’s Advisory Committee on Accessible Transportation and the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, The Canadian Urban Transportation Association and others.

• Recognized by Canada’s Parliamentary Library

• One hundred percent volunteer driven

• Attended the 2010 Zoomers Lifestyle Show (Sponsored Booth)

• Granted 23 Gifts to qualifying donees since 2005

• Established The Major-General Lew MacKenzie Fund in 2012

• Launched The Human-Animal Bond Global Gateway Project in 2012

• Member of the global One Health Initiative as on 2012