Meet the Team

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Catherine Besch, Founder and Director

A lifelong animal lover and animal advocate, Cat left the US in 2007 as she gave up her life riding horses and managing stables in Virginia.  Since graduating from American University in Washington, DC with a Bachelor’s degree in International Politics, Cat has lived in several countries around the world working as an English teacher and traveling in Europe, Asia and South America. She has lived in Vietnam since 2012.  Since moving to Vietnam, Cat has been vegan since 2013 and encourages other animal rights advocates and organizations to end speciesism in the animal rights movement. She completed her Master’s degree in Emergency and Disaster Management in 2016 with a focus on animals and community-driven adaptations to climate change related disasters.  She is an avid runner and since going vegan began endurance racing in marathons and even an Ironman triathlon in Vietnam.  Currently she manages the day to day operations of the shelter, all administration, media, accounting, and volunteer and staff recruitment.


Lou Southgate, Director of Operations

A Registered Veterinary Nurse from the UK, Lou has joined Vietnam Animal Aid and Rescue to help drive the organisation’s mission to improve Veterinary Care across the country. Lou has previous career history in marketing within the charity sector and will be helping deliver all aspects of the organisation. She is a passionate animal rights advocate and has been vegan since 2014. Lou has a special interest in hedgehog and wildlife rehabilitation, and in her personal time loves allotment work and cooking!


Lizzie Nicholls, Shelter Manager

Lizzie is a Registered Veterinary Nurse from the UK who has dedicated her career exclusively to animal shelter and ‘not for profit’ veterinary work. She is an all species advocate and a vegan of 7 years. A previous trip to Vietnam, teamed with her working background, has lead her to develop an ethos aligned with our own – the only solution to end animal suffering is to develop a veterinary industry capable of serving ALL species equally. Lizzie currently manages our shelter, caring for all the animals saved and within our care.