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Carol Tinga

PhD Candidate (Population Medicine), MSc (Population Medicine), BA (Studio Art), BSc (Human Biology)


I hold a specialized honours BSc in human biology with a biomedical science minor from the University of Guelph. After working for several years and completing communication skills courses at Conestoga College (Waterloo, ON), I returned to the University of Guelph for an MSc in population medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC). The MSc research resulted in a paper, a “Survey of veterinary technical and professional skills in students and recent graduates of a veterinary college,” in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. After graduation, I worked as an epidemiologist and completed an honours BA in studio art focusing on painting and European art history. Before returning to OVC for the PhD in epidemiology, I assisted faculty and students with writing projects, worked as a professional artist, and served as a simulated client in the OVC Medical Communications program.

Alongside my research activities in Dr. Lee Niel's OVC Companion Animal Behaviour and Welfare Lab, I enjoy contributing to weekly gatherings of the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare and posting pet rabbit research findings to our lab's Facebook page.

My research is dedicated to Vespa (pictured above), a lop-eared rabbit who changed my life and inspired two key questions: What does a good life for a pet rabbit look like, and how can you make it happen?

Research Interests

My research focuses on companion rabbit care and welfare, and the owner-companion rabbit relationship. Specifically, I am exploring the validity and reliability of human-animal relationship scales for use with companion rabbit owners; risk factors for thoughts of giving rabbits away or letting them loose outside; rabbit abandonment and relinquishment in Canada and the USA at the shelter/rabbit rescue level; and rabbit owners’ perceptions of the human-rabbit relationship, interactions, pet parent status, and key rabbit welfare issues. My ultimate goal is to set pet rabbits and their owners up for success.

Key words: pet rabbits, companion rabbits, social enrichment, environmental enrichment, human-animal bond, human-animal relationships, human-animal interactions, owner satisfaction, rabbit behaviour, rabbit welfare, positive welfare, good life, well-being, motivation, house rabbit


University Teaching Experience

  • Co-creator/co-instructor, Bambi and You, Bambi in Stew: Exploring the Human-Animal Connection - UNIV*1200*10 (Undergraduate), Interdepartmental, University of Guelph, 2021
  • Teaching assistant (1.0), Pandemics: Culture, Science, and Society - UNIV*2020 (Undergraduate), Interdepartmental, University of Guelph, 2021
  • Teaching assistant (0.5), Art of Veterinary Medicine III - VETM*4220 (Undergraduate), Population Medicine, University of Guelph, 2020
  • Guest lecturer, Epidemiology I - POPM*6200 (Graduate), Population Medicine, University of Guelph, 2002
  • Guest lecturer, Population Health (Undergraduate), School of Nursing, McMaster University, 2000 & 2001
  • Co-creator/co-instructor, Survey Design: A Skill Development Short Course (OVC faculty & graduate students) offered as part of a Directed Studies in Population Medicine, Population Medicine, University of Guelph, 1999

​​Instructional Skills Development

  • Teaching and Learning Innovations Conference, Office of Teaching and Learning, May 2021
  • Remote teaching, learning, and assessment webinars; Office of Teaching and Learning (4 webinars), Open Learning and Educational Support (6 webinars), College of Social and Applied Human Sciences Hub for Teaching and Learning Excellence in collaboration with the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics Learning and Teaching Advisory Board (6 webinars), May-Jul 2020
  • Graduate Student University Teaching Conference, Open Learning and Educational Support, Aug 2018
  • Instructional Skills Workshop Program, Open Learning and Educational Support, 14-16 Aug 2018

Additional Learning

  • Skills for Research Impact, Knowledge Mobilization Webinar Series (5 webinars), Community Engaged Scholarship Institute and the Office of Research, University of Guelph, and Agriculture Canada, Sep-Nov 2020
  • Skills for Research Impact: Arts-based Methods and Storytelling (1 webinar), Community Engaged Scholarship Institute, University of Guelph, Nov 2020

Professional Experience & Honours

Professional Experience

  • Science Editor & Writing Tutor serving faculty and graduate and undergraduate students
  • Simulated Client, OVC Medical Communications Program, University of Guelph
  • Artist with over 90 exhibitions, commissions and public demonstrations
  • Research Analyst & Epidemiologist with broad human and animal health experience: Social & Public Health Services (Hamilton, ON), Public Health Agency of Canada (Guelph, ON), and as a private consultant

University of Guelph Honours

  • Best Student Short Presentation Award, 31st International Society for Anthrozoology Conference, 2022
  • Ethel Rose Charney Scholarship in the Human-Animal Bond, OVC, 2021
  • Teaching and Career Development Fellowship, University of Guelph, 2020
  • (3-year) PhD Entrance Scholarship, OVC, 2018
  • 39th & 40th annual Juried Art Show Prizes, 6th places, School of Fine Art & Music, 2007 & 2008
  • First Year Visual Studies Prize, School of Fine Art & Music, 2004
  • Ethel Rose Charney Scholarship, OVC, 1999
  • Waltham Fellowship, OVC, 1999
  • University Graduate Scholarship, OVC, 1999