Meet the Board of Directors
Will, Jane and almost-a-therapy-dog, Ben
Jane Hirsch - President
I have now completed my first year as TDInc. President. There were many challenges for me, but with the help of our board of directors and office personnel, I survived and TDInc. survived!! With Teri’s continual invaluable guidance and with the support of our board members and the office, I hope to grow as a better leader and person.
I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, an avid animal lover and serious tennis player. After college and several stints on the tennis circuit, I resided in Orlando where I remained for 22 years, playing and coaching. Three bouts of melanoma cancer from 1996 to 1998 caused me to cut back on court time, so I acquired an Australian Shepherd puppy and named him Rafter after Aussie tennis star Patrick Rafter.
In 1999, I moved back to Charleston. My life revolved around Rafter’s schedule and I was devastated when, at the age of two, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. Against all odds, he lived a miraculous seven healthy years before succumbing to the return of osteosarcoma on Christmas Eve, 2008. During those seven years he visited nursing homes, children’s camps and respites, an oncology practice, and our favorites: the children’s hospitals in Charleston and Augusta, Georgia.
Rafter’s passing left a huge hole in my heart, but I look forward to continuing my therapy work through TDInc. I now work with my 5 year old Aussie, Will, and hope that Rafter’s half brother, Ben, might be TDInc. registered by the time this publication comes out!
Many thanks to our TDInc. family of volunteers!
Carroll with Flash, Denali and Spice
Carroll Colasardo - Vice President
Greetings from Arizona! I’m looking forward to another great year serving on the TDInc. Board. We’ve had a busy and varied year since last July. Through committee work, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with many of our members around the country. The common bond I’ve found is the love of your special therapy dog(s), and your commitment to sharing smiles and joy with others throughout your communities.
I have been a member of TDInc. since 2002. Our household consists of 6 very active Shetland Sheepdogs. For several years, they were all registered with TDInc. However, due to age and varying interests (or lack of interest!) three were retired. The remaining TDInc. members are Spice, Denali, and Flash. We lost Uno in May, but his spirit lives on in our hearts. They all take turns volunteering at Banner Desert Medical Center and Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa, AZ.
I became a Gabriel’s Angels volunteer in 2006. Denali and Flash alternate visits with me at a school in Mesa during the school year. Gabriel’s Angels teams deliver healing pet therapy to abused, neglected and at-risk children. We also attend community events to promote the benefits of dog therapy, and bring awareness of programs that are available and in need of members.
In 2006, I became a Tester/Observer for TDInc, and have worked with many wonderful teams for the last seven years. I love meeting new people and their special dogs and being told how much they enjoy their many adventures.
Over the years, I’ve been involved in conformation, obedience, agility and, my favorite, canine freestyle. We are active in the Mid-Arizona Shetland Sheepdog Club, and host “puppy matches” a couple of times a year to help get the puppies and younger dogs ready for shows.
Pet therapy has opened a fascinating chapter of my life! I enjoy working with the TDInc. Board to promote pet therapy, and to help others gain the immeasurable benefits with which I have been blessed.
Bottom left - Daisy, Bottom right - Bonnie, Upper right - Daniel
Sheryll Barker - Treasurer
Hi, I’m Sheryll Barker and I’ve had eight dogs registered with Therapy Dogs Inc. over the past twenty years. I began with Therapy Dogs Inc. in Albuquerque, NM. My husband and I, the dogs, and one cockatoo moved to Dallas 15 years ago. In 2003, I teamed up with Barbara Wilson and co-founded the local group Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs. This group has now grown to over 160 teams and serves approximately forty facilities ranging from elder care to hospitals to numerous settings with kids. I currently have three registered therapy dogs. My “partners” and I generally do four to seven therapy visits a week.
Over the years, I have been blessed to work with seven TDInc. registered Collies and one Border Collie mix. All of my dogs have gone through formal obedience and I have competed in AKC novice, open and utility, as well as rally. In 2003, my husband decided to get into the act and became registered with TDInc. with his female Collie.
I have a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and did lab research for 17 years. I began putting together the TDInc. Zoonotics page several years ago. While I am not currently working at the bench, I find my training very useful when working with infectious disease or risk management staff.
Besides working with Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs, we are also very involved in Collie rescue in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. We have been a part of rescuing and/or fostering over 100 Collies over the past eleven years.
Kelsey with Eddie
Kelsey Gilmore-Futeral - Secretary
Hey y’all! My family and I live just outside of Charleston, South Carolina. I moved to Charleston from South Dakota in 2003 to competitively ride horses in college. Once I landed in the Lowcountry, there was no leaving! Eddie, my Great Pyrenees/Golden mix, and I met in 2006 and have been participating in pet therapy since 2007. Eddie came from a Golden Retriever rescue organization. I had volunteered to foster him. After he chewed apart several text books, more than one remote control and some clothing, he began eyeing my shoe collection. Then I met a family who was hoping to adopt Eddie. When it looked like he may, in fact, find a family that would put up with his craziness, I just couldn’t let him go. I became a foster-flunky mere weeks after inviting those large, hairy paws into my house.
My passion for large dogs began in fourth grade when my family purchased a Newfoundland puppy. My parents slowly accumulated large dogs and now, when we visit their acreage in South Dakota, we also enjoy the company of their two Great Pyrs, two Newfs, and a Pyr/St. Bernard mix. My passion for small dogs began when I met my husband, Stephan, and his daughter, Maddie, who introduced me to their Yorkie mix, Bailey. Now, a Pekingese (Jasper) and a flat-coat retriever pound-puppy (Murphy) complete our happy ‘little’ family. My passion for all animals began early in life, and in my spare time I focus my energy on animal rescue, animal welfare laws, and vegan cooking. Stephan and I also practice law together.
Jasper, Eddie, Stephan and I regularly visit an assisted living facility where Eddie is a local rock star and Jasper waddles from room to room. We also attend annual walks for causes, such as autism and multiple sclerosis.
Thank you all for sharing your wonderful fur-children with people in need!
Dede Brownstein - Director
It has been a busy year and as usual, it has flown by!
Cole and Elke continue to compete in obedience trials, although now that Cole is 7, we are cutting back somewhat on his participation. Elke earned her CDX this year as well as her Carting Started and Intermediate titles, plus she achieved her AKC Championship. We plan to breed her in December. She visits at the Heart Hospital and often serves as the neutral dog for our TDInc. tests. Both continue to visit at the juvenile detention center weekly, where Elke is handed by my longtime friend and our contact person at the facility while I handle Cole. Each dog performs a variety of obedience tasks, much to the delight of the kids who also help out with the exercises. Their participation not only inspires the kids to train their own dogs, it shows them how much fun they can have when they do!
One sad note, we said good-bye to our nearly 14-year-old Quince in July. When he turned 13, he was entered into a study conducted by a professor at Purdue that explores the link between cancer and longevity in Rottweilers. Hopefully his tissue samples will help further this study. Although Quince was retired from therapy work in late 2011 due to his mobility issues, he was an incredible therapy dog for 8 years. He was loved and admired by everyone he met. We will miss him.
Jan with Loki, Toby, Schultz and Fenton
Jan Cloutier- Director
Greetings from the Garden State where we are Stronger than the Storm! I’m Jan. Originally from Maryland, I live in New Jersey with my husband and 4 dogs. I’ve been a volunteer puppy raiser for the Seeing Eye® for over 14 years, and have raised 12 puppies. I now have “canine kids” working as guide dogs in over half a dozen states. I also have many “canine grandkids” out there working, as two of the puppies I raised were chosen as “the best of the best” for breeding. For the last 10 years I have served as co-leader of the Gloucester County Seeing Eye® Puppy Raisers. Naturally I always have a new puppy around the house, along with doggy visitors and resident canine boarders.
This past year I have had to retire my first therapy dog. Alas, my dear Fenton still has a heart for the work, but not the endurance. Following in his footsteps is Schultz. Dropped from the Seeing Eye program due to conformation issues, he has picked up the ball and run with it. Literally.
We are members of our local “Paws for the Soul” pet therapy group, and I am co-founder of “Paws of Joy,” our church’s therapy dog ministry. Along with these are visits to hospitals, support groups and any place else Schultz can get his paw in the door.
This has been my first year on your board of directors and it has been quite an experience. I’ve learned a lot and I hope I have been able to make a difference contributing to this great organization. The best part of it all has been learning about what all of you and your amazing dogs are doing, and I’ve had the opportunity to get to know some of you. It’s your kindness and dedication that make such a difference in so many places.
Now from my canine cohort and me, we wish you all the best in this next year. Happy visiting!
Pat Coglianese - Director
Greetings from New York. I live in a suburb about 25 miles from Manhattan and so have the best of both worlds, access to Manhattan and the peace of the suburbs.
I have been an educator all my life. Initially, I taught in the New York City public school system and then moved on to the corporate world and became the Director of Education for a global financial services institution. When I was ready for a change of pace, I studied and became a dog trainer, formally applying my education expertise with my love and knowledge of dogs to a new career. I now train people to train their dogs, am an evaluator for several service dog foundations and a Tester/Observer for Therapy Dogs Inc.
Working closely with dogs really opened my eyes to the benefit that dogs bring to people, both emotionally and physically. That started me on my journey, working with therapy dogs. My dog Jessie, a German Shepherd Dog, was released from an organization that trained guide dogs for the blind. She was just not focused enough to succeed. She was then adopted by a convent of nuns, who wanted a dog to protect them from intruders. She, once again, failed because she loves people and other dogs. She is now mine and we have found our niche in therapy work.
Jessie and I have much in common. We have both found our place, bringing emotional support through our work with Therapy Dogs Inc. We now visit at West Point with soldiers, special needs children of deployed soldiers and even the cadets who need to de-stress after finals. We also visit local nursing homes.
As much joy as Jessie brings to others, we get even more back from doing the work. I am proud to be a new member of the board of directors. I am looking forward to making a contribution to this wonderful organization that has helped improve the lives of so many people.
Peggy Grookett - Director
Greetings from the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!
I am the proud owner of two Beagles, Gentle Ben and Cody and Jenny, the Labrador pup.
Cody was registered with TDInc. 12 years ago, just a little after his first birthday. He turned 13 years old on July 1, 2013. He is slowing down a little bit, but now enjoys visiting the hospice unit at Abington Hospital/Warminister campus, where he works on one floor and always gets a treat from the housekeeper!
Ben was registered about nine years ago, once he settled into our home following a short stay in the rescue kennel. Both Cody and Ben take turns visiting Abington Hospital, Lafayette Redeemer Assisted Living Hospice at Warminister, and Rydal Park Nursing Home. Cody and I also visit a handicapped man in his home. Ben is my tester dog for new teams wanting to join TDInc. He seems to know immediately whether the new dog will pass, as he wags his tail when he sees the prospective team getting out of their car. He backs off and hides behind me if the candidate is not quite ready to walk on a loose lead!
Cody and I have participated in obedience trials and enjoy rally events. He achieved his ARCH MX title in APDT rally obedience in 2011 and was ranked seventeenth in the country. He is now retired but enjoys getting out once in a while for a Veterans class. Ben stays home to keep my bed warm! The newest addition, Jenny, is a therapy dog in training. Unfortunately, Jenny is not as smart as Cody and still needs a lot of work before she can be tested to join us in our therapy work.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my years as a board member and look forward to serving all the membership of this wonderful organization for another year.
Daryl Holle - Director
Greetings from Colorado!
I live in the beautiful Colorado countryside with my wife and one sweet therapy dog near Berthoud, Colorado. I am originally from eastern Kansas, born and raised on a large farm in the rolling hill farm country very near the Nebraska border. It was a wonderful place to grow up with all the wild animals in the thick timbers and the farm animals who were always dear to my heart. My childhood dog named Shep taught me to understand “dog” and we had lots of adventures doing what a farm boy does with his best friend.
In 2009, I registered my first therapy dog with TDInc. named Tilda. I am so fortunate to have witnessed Tilda do her charm. We started with one Boulder County hospital, then another and another, ending up visiting all four hospitals within a year. Tilda was an intuitive dog and I could always tell when she was about to have a moment during a visit.
In 2010, I started helping with the Therapy Dogs Boulder County evaluation classes which evaluates the therapy dogs for the four hospitals. In January, 2011 I became a Tester/Observer with TDInc. and have thoroughly enjoyed doing that work. In the summer of 2013, I spearheaded a program called Boulder County Comfort Dogs which contains 40 teams from all four hospitals who can respond to disaster events among the hospital programs. This program is a model that can be used across the state eventually. It is very exciting to be part of this dynamic and groundbreaking program.
I am presently the program coordinator for Avista Hospital at Louisville, Colorado, and for the AltaVita Memory Care Centre in Longmont, Colorado. I also work as an interface among all four hospitals concerning their program protocols and procedures.
My dog Tilda taught me the passionate side of good therapy dog work. My dog Shep taught me “Dog 101.” My present therapy dog, Sissy-Biskit, teaches me about patience and bonding, but somehow I think the learning has just begun. I enjoy every aspect of pet therapy and look forward to serving on the board.
Keith Pettway - Director
Greetings from the Mississippi Delta, a pancake flat area in the rural northwest portion of the state near “the” river. We live in the charming town of Cleveland, which was just named the second best small town to visit in America by Smithsonian Magazine. I am brand new to the TDInc. Board of Directors and attended my first board meeting in July. What a dedicated and hard working bunch. I have my work cut out to keep up with them.
My dog history started fairly late in life. I was a professor of music and performing classical flutist. My life seemed to be so busy that it would not be fair to try and have a dog fit into it. I have always been a dog lover, but just never owned one in my adult life. When I was about to retire my wife put out an ultimatum: it’s time to get a dog. After much research we decided a standard poodle would fit our life. My first reaction was “What? A poodle?”. But after eight years with J.J. it turns out to be just the right choice. He is now my TDInc. registered therapy dog. J.J. was joined four years later by his half sister Abby, who is my personal therapy dog. She is very loving but becomes excited about new people and new dogs. We are working with her so maybe someday she will be a TDInc. dog, too.
I came to pet therapy by accident. My mother had to be moved into an Alzheimer unit and I started to take J.J. to visit when he was quite young. When I started to see the wonderful reaction of not only my mother, but also the other residents, I knew that there was more to this than I had imagined, and after researching therapy, J.J. and I became registered as a therapy dog team. We now make over a hundred visits a year to all kinds of facilities.
We live in a very under served area when it comes to dogs doing therapy. We have been working hard to get others involved in TDInc. and at last we are starting to make some real progress at getting Mississippi on the radar as a TDInc. state. I am deeply honored to serve TDInc. I want to thank each and every one of you for all the “Smiles and Joy” you share every day.
Stacy with Diezel
Stacy Plummer - Director
Hello to everyone from the Pacific Northwest, specifically the beautiful state of Oregon where I live with my wife Brandy and seven active children. I feel especially fortunate for the opportunity to work with a great group of people who hold the same passions for dogs as I do.
I have been working with and training dogs, both purebreds and mixed breeds, for the past twenty-three years. I became a TDInc. member in March 2003, and in July 2004 became a Tester/Observer. I also co-founded a local therapy group with which my own dog and I enjoyed the experience of visiting hospitals, nursing homes, local centers for abused children, daycares, elementary schools and our local juvenile detention center. In addition to therapy work, I am the founder of the Northwest Mastiff Breeds Rescue, and I volunteer with other rescue organizations. I have also established a Canine Crisis Response Team working with the local county school district.
I retired my therapy dog Simba about three years ago, and shortly after that, faced losing him as he came to the end of a full life. I’m looking forward to registering our newest family member, Diezel, a three year old Presa Canario whom we rescued from “death row.”
I thoroughly enjoy the experiences I have had volunteering with my dogs in the community and my time as a Tester/Observer. I look forward to many years ahead serving on the board and working with therapy dogs in our community.
Jeanette Sinohui and Rata
Jeanette Sinohui - Director
Hi! I’m Jeanette Sinohui, a native of Phoenix, Arizona where Rata and I serve the patients and families in the same hospital where I was born: Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.
After retiring in 2005 from 28 years of teaching, there was a void in my life which was filled when my childhood dream of doing pet therapy came true. My inspiration to act on this dream came from Rata, my cocker mix pup, whose sweet spirit was perfect for the job. After registering with TDInc., I began volunteering at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center as well as Gabriel’s Angels. In late 2009, after becoming a Tester/Observer, I was asked to be the team leader of the Paws 4 Hope Pet Therapy program at the hospital. The program today has over forty teams and is still growing. Over these past few years, I have been able to work as a partner with the hospital in improving processes, increasing safety and bringing a whole new awareness to pet therapy.
I have developed a passion for pet therapy and Animal Assisted Therapy because I’ve seen what a difference it can make to the patients and their family members. It is my goal to be able to help elevate the awareness and importance of pet therapy in healthcare institutions both locally and nationally, and I believe that serving on the TDInc. Board gives me that opportunity! I feel very privileged to sit on this board and am looking forward to the coming year.
Kim with Penny
Kim Williams - Director
Hello from Kearney, Nebraska!
My name is Kim Williams, and I am excited to continue my journey on the board of directors. My partner is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Penny. We became a team in 2006. I also have a wonderful, as we call him, “Golden St. Labrador.” Although Sheaffer does not have the temperament for animal assisted activity work, he is 140 pounds of love for family and friends.
Penny and I are fortunate that Kearney is a dog-loving community. We go not only to the local hospital, but also to the local psychiatric hospital, cancer center, library, several nursing homes and assisted living facilities, reading programs and numerous community events. One of our favorite events is held each year in July – Camp Bear – a grief camp for children who have lost a family member sometime during the previous year. This can be a difficult but truly rewarding day.
I became a T/O in 2009 because I believe so strongly in the mission of TDInc. I love encouraging others to participate in pet therapy and I love education! It does not matter if the subject is the history of animal assisted activities, dog safety or how to be a good pet owner; I love to talk about it because it gives me the opportunity to share my passions and grow in my own education.
I thoroughly enjoy every aspect of pet therapy and look forward to continuing to serve on the board.
Murdock, Teri Meadows Past President, Eihma, and Maggie
Teri Meadows, Past President
Teri Meadows, TDInc. President 1992 to 2012
I have been with TDInc. for so long it is part of me - part of my life and part of my family. My many years of memories with TDInc. began in 1990 when the founder, Jack Butrick, told me that he wanted to start TDInc. and honored me with a request to be his vice president. My dog Rocky was the first American Pit Bull Terrier to be a registered therapy dog with TDInc. and was one of the three dogs used in the original TDInc. logo; he was the dog being hugged by a child. Less than two years after starting TDInc., with the sudden passing of Jack in 1992, I suddenly had to step up as president and continue this young organization. I knew a great deal of time, effort and strength would be needed to bring it to its full potential. Some achievements include: a standard test and Tester/Observers for prospective members; official rules and regulations written in published handbooks; an informative DVD about pet therapy and TDInc.; a beautiful publication in the TDInc. News Magazine; and a TDInc. website and Facebook page -- so many accomplishments over the years for this grand organization that began so small and has grown to be so large!
If there is anything I have learned from being president of TDInc. for 20 years it is to have strength when needed, to always have patience, and to go for anything that you feel is worthwhile deep in your heart. The time you spend will bring you great satisfaction and happiness. I could not have been as successful as president without the support, strength and dedication of the TDInc. officers, directors and, of course, our membership.
I do not miss all the work, but I do miss the friendships I have made through TDInc. I know that each of us really LOVES sharing our special dogs with others. True happiness only comes through sharing. Never let that end! If more people were like all of you, there would be more smiles, more adventures and more love in the world; there would be more dreams flying free; more hearts that could feel and share love; more laughing, more sharing and more understanding that life’s greatest gifts are friendship, love and sharing unlimited kindness with others.
Each moment in life is a precious gift. Hold on tight to your special dogs and cherish each day you have with them. Treat them with kindness, give them your love and the gift of good health. Keep them forever close to your heart.
May all your days be touched with sunshine and your heart overflow with love. May everything in your life sparkle with a radiance that comes only from happiness. May you always walk in beauty among loved ones and friends.