Saving the people who
our animals
Our Strategic Plan

This is our vision: Sophie’s Legacy is saving the people who save our animals.

Helped by an incredible committee, we developed a Strategic Plan to help us achieve it.

This includes:

  • Empowering veterinary staff to feel supported, valued and safe by promoting a safe and nurturing environment in which all veterinary staff can flourish.
  • Engaging with government and industry bodies to create and promote sustainable workplace change by influencing policy.
  • Alerting all Australians to the mental health crisis within the vet industry and creating positive change through education and advocacy.

Strategic Plan
For Vet Staff and students

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), to their credit, have led initiatives addressing the mental health support for the industry. We support this, but it seems little has been done to ‘prevent’ poor mental health in the industry.

We believe the ‘prevention’ of mental health stressors require significant structural reform, the re-thinking of traditional practices, and a focus on the individuals in the industry.

Vet Survey
In February 2022, we ran our first ever campaign which was a vet survey to better understand how we could help. Just under 600 vet, vet owner, vet nurses and other staff responded.

Tell me more
Most significantly, 88% of respondents reported client abuse and expectations was the number one contributor to poor mental health.
Our Sophie experienced
client abuse
right before she died.

These survey results strengthened our resolve to implement and promote practical steps to address the mental health crisis. We are spreading compassion and advocating for change.

We’ve established a partnership with the Lincoln Institute of Veterinary Business who offer evidence-based leadership training for practice managers and senior staff, enabling them to create positive workplace cultures.

We continue to gather valuable resources for vet staff and students to access, encouraging them to care for themselves too.

Helping you to flourish.
Government and Industry

The survey results reinforced the importance of lobbying industry and government. Change needs to come from the outside as well as within.

Key vet industry organisations we have been in discussions with are Sustainable Vet Careers, the AVA, Love your Pets, Flynn’s Walk,Greencross Vets, Vet Partners and the Adelaide University Vet School.

Government and Industry

Parliamentary Submission

On July 21, 2023, we welcomed the opportunity to make a submission to the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the Veterinary Workforce Shortage. Garry Putland and award winning journalist Caroline Winter (Sick As A Dog podcast) were subsequently invited to appear before the Portfolio Committee No.4 on Tuesday, 29 August 2023.

Kate and Garry also met with South Australian Minister for Primary Industries, Regional Development, Forestry, Hon Clare Scriven to discuss Sophie’s Legacy and outline the
crisis facing the industry.

In February 2022, we ran our first ever campaign which was a vet survey to better understand how we could help. Just under 600 vet, vet owner, vet nurses and other staff responded.

We are consistently seeking to engage with industry and government to create sustainable and viable change, discussing potential solutions like award wages, transparent and fixed pricing, and workforce planning.

I want to help
Your words matter.
“Getting people to see that we’re not just in it for the money and we don’t just get to play with puppies and kittens is an amazing step.”

Recognising the need for change is one of the first steps of any transformation. The survey results demonstrated that the public, including devoted pet owners, need awareness of the realities for people working within the veterinary industry.

Through education we are not only encouraging better behaviour but also nurturing advocates.

We're Only Human
This national education campaign emanated from research with representatives of the vet industry and collaboration with award-winning marketing company Showpony.

We designed a poster for display in every vet clinic across Australia asking clients to show kindness towards vets and their staff. Via a QR code they can make “The Promise” (formerly known as “The Pledge”) to understand the massive pressures impacting veterinary staff and promise to treat them with respect.

The campaign was launched in May 2023 and was met with an incredible response from the vet community. To date, we have mailed out 4,720 posters and still get requests. Posters are also available for immediate download.

“It is such an important poster to have in our reception and around our consult room to make people stop and think.”

This campaign was the first of a three-phase media initiative to alert Australians to the pressures and crisis facing the vet industry.

Download Poster