Living in a Good Way with Dogs: First Nations' Educational Resources


Janice Hannah, Senior Education and Research Specialist & Northern Dogs Project Manager, International Fund for Animal Welfare


Education is a key component of any First Nations dog management program that aims to be part of long-term community change by shifting attitudes and ultimately, behaviour. Dogs are a valued part of community, both traditionally and today, and healthy dogs are an important part of building healthy communities. Living in a Good Way with Dogs: Our Stories is a new educational resource developed by First Nations curriculum specialists specifically for First Nations’ learners. This resource brings together traditional culture and relationships with dogs that highlight respect, empathy and responsibility from the experiences of those who matter – the storytellers. Stories from Elders and community role models form the foundation of the materials, bringing to life their real world experiences and wisdom, which can help dog owners, both youth and adult, to build healthy and safe relationships with their four leggeds.

Living in a Good Way with Dogs: Our Stories is made up of 6 units, which delve into different content on dogs: Our Ancestors and Our Dogs; Dogs as Friends and Family; What Our Dogs Need; Living with Dogs in Our Community; Working Dogs – Traditional and Today; and A Dog’s Life: From Puppy to Elder Dog. Each unit is founded on multiple stories (audio) and includes a student activity book, a lesson guide for leaders, and a poster that highlights the content in a visual way.

Come learn about culturally-relevant educational materials for First Nations learners and witness the power that these dog-specific resources have in shifting the way people feel and think about their dogs.


  1. Understand the background to Aboriginal Education and Culturally-Responsive Aboriginal Education.
  2. Understand the educational resource Living in a Good Way with Dogs: Our Stories – and how the materials are useful in the community.
  3. Be able to use the education resource in the communities in which you live or work.


In her dual role as Senior Education and Research Specialist & Northern Dogs Project Manager, Janice Hannah is responsible for developing, monitoring and evaluating the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s companion animal projects in Canada and providing guidance for IFAW’s education initiatives both in Canada and internationally. In her twenty years at IFAW, Jan has worked in numerous program areas, including marine mammal science and education, Animal Action Education, emergency relief, policy and wildlife trade.

Jan’s focus on companion animal welfare merges her long-term interest in working with animals and communities with the objective of building humane and sustainable programs that improve the health and welfare of animals through education and community engagement. Outreach, advice, community development and service provision are cornerstones to IFAW’s work, which provides contextual and culturally-relevant solutions to local issues.

Jan develops and manages community projects on the ground, as well as advising and working on companion animal policy, programming and issues internationally. During the past few years, she has worked on IFAW companion animal population management and rabies eradication projects, as well as in-community animal welfare capacity development around the world.

Jan holds an Honours BSc in Wildlife Biology from the University of Guelph, and a Master's in Education and Teaching Certificate from Niagara University.