Trustee - Roxy
I am a psychologist specialising in human-animal interactions/relationships. I am interested in the complex relationships that exist between people and animals, both positive and negative aspects, and importantly, how to promote positive and safe relationships.
I have always loved animals, even as a young child I had my own ‘animal rescue centres’ and I grew up with dogs. During my undergraduate degree in Psychology, I became interested in animal behaviour. I decided to spend my summer volunteering at an animal rescue and rehabilitation centre in the outback of Australia. There I helped wallabies, kangaroos, wombats and sugar gliders. Back in Wales, I volunteered at a local zoo on the weekend, I worked with all zoo animals, but my favourites were the sealions, penguins and red pandas.
After my undergraduate degree I moved to London to pursue my interest in animal behaviour and welfare and carried out a Master of Research degree in primate biology, behaviour and conservation. There I became interested in human-animal interactions and carried out a project into the psychological, physiological and behavioural effects of the primate pet trade. My findings were then used as evidence in a parliamentary debate on the legality of keeping primates as pets.
I was lucky enough to then work at the University of Edinburgh on a project evaluating the effectiveness of the Scottish SPCA’s education programme which then got converted into a PhD project. My PhD focused on the psychological factors underpinning human-animal relationships and preventing animal cruelty.
I now work as a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of West Scotland where I am actively working on a range of human-animal research projects and I am passionate about sharing human-pet research with the general public. I have my own little border terrier pup called Darwin which I hope to train as a therapy dog one day.
I am excited to be part of New Leaf and I will help to facilitate research and education which will lead to impact, and directly benefit the welfare of animals.