Diane Haynes’ passion for animal welfare was ignited by two formative events. The first involved adopting a little farm cat who squeaked and was, therefore, naturally named Mouse. He was the first animal companion Diane welcomed into her home as an adult, and he had a profound effect on her. The second event found her encountering a bird struggling for their life in a canola oil spill in Burrard Inlet and taking them to Wildlife Rescue Association of BC. Impressed with WRA’s work, Diane volunteered and began to see first-hand how humanity interacted, often neglectfully, with the other species on our planet.
While Diane continued a career in communications over the years — with clients such as UBC, and notably a position with the BC SPCA — Mouse grew into a hardy tomcat. He stayed with Diane for eleven years, until he passed away in 2006. Diane had loved Mouse as family. To honour him, and the concern for animal welfare he had awakened in her, she created the Haynes Scholarship for the Advancement of Animal Welfare in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems.
“Founding a scholarship had never crossed my mind before,” said Diane.” But I knew, because of the volunteer work I had done, that I wanted it to go to students who were working on behalf of large numbers of animals, and changing things for the better.”
The Haynes Scholarship has a broad scope, purposely, so that it can be interdisciplinary and provide as much latitude as the recipient needs. Now 14 years later, Diane knows that was the right way to approach it.
“When I started the scholarship, I knew I wanted it to be cross-disciplinary with media, journalism, education, or the law.” Diane adds, “This spring when I read the stories of students who’ve been awarded the scholarship, I was so moved I cried. Their accomplishments and vision extend beyond anything I could have mandated or imagined.”
Scholarship recipient Bailey Hope Eagan echoes Diane’s sentiments and has these words for all the donors who have given their support: “Your kind contributions have made a considerable difference in my life. I am very inspired by your passion, drive, and dedication to helping animals, and I sincerely hope to have the opportunity to pay forward your kindness in the future.”
There have been other animal companions in Diane Haynes’s life, but she still thinks back to the tremendous legacy arising from her bond with a tiny squeaking cat. A cat called Mouse.
“The way we use the natural world — and that includes each other — comes from seeing ourselves in a certain way. It’s our understanding of our place in things that needs to shift,” says Diane. “As devastating as the coronavirus pandemic has been for so many people, in many ways, I am hoping it helps us realize this shift needs to happen. Humans are not at the centre of things, and we are not at the top.”