Board of Directors
All of our positions at Spirit’s Mission are volunteer. We do not employ any paid staff, which increases the amount of funds for the animals.
President: Joanne Caldwell
Joanne has been involved in animal welfare and disaster animal management for over 25 years. She has worked with the BC SPCA as a board member and an authorized agent and has investigated numerous cases of animal abuse. Joanne is a certified Emergency Operations Coordinator, a Post Traumatic Stress Facilitator, and has delivered countless workshops. She currently lives on a small acreage with her husband, horse, miniature donkey, dogs, cats and a parrot.
Vice President: Kerri-Lynne Wilson
Kerri-Lynne has been actively involved with animal rescue since 2005, primarily with special needs foster dogs (medical and behavioural). She has attended and helped organize several in-field vaccination and spay/neuter clinics in under-served communities, and has taught pet first aid for several years. Kerri-Lynne has a scientific background as a fisheries biologist and environmental technician and for fun is a marathon runner and equestrian. Her two dogs are her running coaches and she serves three horses and two cats.
Treasurer: Vicki McDonald
Growing up in Creston, BC, Vicki has shared her entire life with animals. Her first “official” introduction to animal rescue was her involvement with the Creston Pet Adoption & Welfare Society (PAWS) beginning in 1996. Vicki fostered more than 100 dogs while working with PAWS and was president of the organization from 2001 – 2013 when she moved to Gabriola Island. It was through a PAWS rescue of 56 dogs chained to trees on the Kootenay Pass that she met Spirit’s Mission founder, Gail Moerkerken. Additionally, Vicki was one of the first Canadian members of Noah’s Wish Disaster Animal Rescue Service, is a certified dog obedience trainer/instructor, and is a member of Citadel Canine Society, a charity training and providing service dogs for veterans and first responders with PTSD.
Secretary: Linda Tyler
Linda has been volunteering with Spirit’s Mission Rescue Society since the day it was first founded by her dear friend in 2013. She is keenly interested in anything dog related and became a member of the Vancouver Island Animal Training Association (as a non-trainer) in order to soak up as much knowledge as she could. She has volunteered at a remote First Nations animal wellness clinic in the past and recently completed training in working effectively with indigenous peoples. Linda and her husband have always had a soft spot for senior and special needs dogs having welcomed several into their family over the years. She enjoys spending time with her 2 rescue dogs, being outdoors in nature, and volunteering with a number of organizations including her local SPCA.
Director: Pamela Guelly
Pamela runs a cat sanctuary, Pawprints Animal Rescue. She has volunteered in clinics during disasters and has extensive animal welfare knowledge. Her full time job is rescue and she joined Spirit’s Mission in 2018.
Dog Care Coordinator: Katie Ernst
Katie will be providing placement services from dogs brought down from the North, and coordinating our Northern Rescue Network. She will also be providing food donations to Northern rescues, and under-served/isolated communities, for us.
Social Media/Communications Coordinator: Shelby Langelaan
Shelby will be providing her expertise to keep our website up to date and provide all media/announcements we have.
We are also lucky to have the continued support of Pet Safe Coalition (Deb Knabke) and Crooked Leg Ranch (Willow Eyford), for all our Northern projects.
Founding Spirit’s Mission was Gail’s dream – to help establish self-sustaining pet animal management programs in remote First Nations communities. Gail’s inspiration for founding Spirit’s Mission was a special little pup named Spirit. Read Spirit’s story written by Gail.
Gail was a long-term member of the animal rescue community and with her kindness and generosity she impacted more people and animals than we could ever count. Here is an excerpt from a beautiful tribute written by the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association.
Gail founded Big Heart Rescue Society, which rescued dogs and cats throughout BC, with a special focus on Bella Bella. She was a coordinator for Noah’s Wish, an emergency disaster response organization for animals. This took her to the heart of numerous major incidents. In Fire Storm 2003, she worked flat out to save and rehabilitate companion animals and livestock in Kamloops and Kelowna. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she lived in the disaster zone for many weeks on end, working long hours each day to rescue abandoned and injured animals.
In her home community on Gabriola Island, she was the Emergency Social Services Pet Care Coordinator, a volunteer with GROWLS (Gabriola Rescue of Wildlife Society) and a volunteer with Gabriola Cats Alive. In 2014, she founded Spirit’s Mission, a rescue organization dedicated to eliminating disease, neglect and overpopulation for cats and dogs in BC’s remote communities. Spirit’s Mission will continue, albeit with a heavy heart, to fulfill Gail’s vision of a province in which no cats or dogs are abused, neglected or left to suffer disease and starvation. Read VOKRA’s full tribute to Gail