Volunteer Spotlight: Dawn Gilfillan

Mar 10, 2018

Dawn was among the first members of SALI joining in 2011. She has always loved animals and when her full time job was reduced to part time she decided this was a great opportunity to find something involving animals. When she Googled “South Surrey Volunteer Animals” she found SALI. Dawn started picking up left over pet food at the Surrey SPCA, which SALI then delivered to low income pet owners.

When we rescued Badger, Dawn started taking care of him every Sunday out at our old location in Fort Langley. I remember meeting Dawn out in the horse field to introduce her to Badger and do some horse training. One look at her ballet shoes and I knew she was a keeper!


In 2015 Dawn moved to the farm as Chris Mayworm’s roommate. She converted one side of the garage to her “woman cave” and we have never looked back (even though Dawn didn’t quite realize what living on a farm sanctuary would look like). Dawn is passionate about “downsizing” and envisions that there is a “tiny home” community one day soon in her future and SALI’s Farm future.


If we look back at what Dawn’s been up to (besides her full time job at Service Master Clean) it sounds exhausting, but animals, children and SALI are absolutely her passion!

Dawn is currently the “person on duty” every Sunday. Dawn works with the animal care volunteers (we are currently looking for more Sunday volunteers) and is always fixing and cleaning “stuff n’ stuff.” Dawn says, “the opportunity to be outside working hard and getting her hands dirty is way better than going to a gym.”

A highlight for Dawn was applying for the “Google for Work” and Adwords Grant and being awarded $10,000 from which she implemented “Google for Work” as a communication tool. Dawn also received a $1,000 grant from Paws for Hope to create the Intranet. Dawn is our official “techie.”


When friend’s asked her how they could help out she started the “5 Bucks a Month Club”. She figures that if we get 1000 people @ 5$ that would be enough to cover our current monthly animal care costs.

Dawn is a member of the Volunteer Committee and is responsible for creating the most amazing volunteer communication tool (my.sali.ca). This has been a game changer for all of us at SALI as we grow bigger and find it difficult to keep track of everything. This system is working so well, that I hope one day Dawn can sell her services to other non-profits and help set up one for them.

Diego, Dawn’s Mexican rescue dog and Louie her black and white cat are part of our farm family and have integrated really well into the rest of the herd. Check out this cute video of Diego playing with Peanut:
Peanut & Diego

A proud moment for Dawn was speaking about SALI in front of 100 of her peers at the 27th annual BS Invitational Curling Tourney this March.

Dawn has many hopes & dreams: she is looking forward to having our own forever home; she would like to see a larger network of people donating 5$ per month so SALI can afford to have children’s programs running full time; she would love the farm to have a minimum of three of every species; Dawn would like to see more educational programs so that we do not have to turn people away (some of these might be, teens, people with disabilities, Mom and tots, dog park, and a community garden).

The last word from Dawn,

‘I believe that we are all here for so much more than keeping up with the Joneses, getting sh*t done for a greater purpose other than myself just feels good!’

Keryn Denroche
Founder/Director & Chief Bottle Washer