Antonio Hou

Antonio Hou

MSc Student
Companion Animals


Growing up in a family that did not allow kids to own pets due to allergic issues, I was always eager to make a close furry friend but did not get a chance until I became a practicum student during my undergraduate at the BC SPCA Vancouver branch. During this time, not only did I become friends with Mao, Robin, and Batman, the three lovely cats that will always be in my heart, but also learned about shelter animal care and medication, policy and management, as well as the challenges and difficulties faced by animals and people in the field. The latter has become the reason and motivation to continue my degree as a master student in the Animal Welfare Program.

My research project focuses on how to effectively improve the welfare of companion animals in the local animal shelter by providing enrichments that fulfill the needs of different individuals. I believe that the same enrichment might work on one animal but not in the other since we have to consider not just the difference between specimens, but their physical characteristics, emotional states, personality, environment, and preferences between individuals. By giving different choices of enrichments to animals and let them decide what they want to do in my study, this could help us identify what the most favorable enrichment for each individual is and how we can use this information to either reduce stress for a fearful one, provide additional stimulus to a confident one, or simply help decrease their length of stay at a shelter.

Aside from being a full-time master student, I am also a part time animal care attendant working at the BC SPCA Vancouver branch. I have been working at this position for almost one and a half year. This job gives me an opportunity to learn about the challenges and demands as a frontline animal worker and, of course, to make more furry friends in the field!


B.Sc. Honours Applied Biology, UBC (2021)