Meet the Board of Directors
Jane with Will and Ben
Jane Hirsch - President
After being a member of TDInc. for 12 years, on the board for eight years, and vice president for four of those years, I am honored that Teri, our esteemed president, has asked me to step up to the task of taking over the presidency. I know that I can never take her place. Teri is a true legend in her leadership skills, visionary wisdom, and in her accomplishments for TDInc. Though we all feel the loss of Teri as our president, with the help of hardworking directors and office staff, I hope that I can continue to lead the organization with similar patience, wisdom and dedication.
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 current Aussie, Will, and hope that Rafter’s half brother, Ben, will be TDInc. registered next year!
Many thanks to our TDInc. family of volunteers!
Pictured from left to right: Flash, Denali, Spice, and Uno
Carrol Colasardo - Vice President
Greetings from the Arizona desert! 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 with everyone 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 7 very active Shetland Sheepdogs. For several years, they were all registered with TDInc., but this past January, due to age and varying interests (or lack of interest!) three were retired. The remaining four TDInc. members are Spice, Uno, Denali, and Flash. It’s interesting to note that three of the Shelties in the picture represent 3 generations of TDInc. therapy dogs! Spice is the mother of Uno, and the grandmother of Flash. They all volunteer at Banner Desert Medical Center & Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa, AZ.
I became a Gabriel’s Angels volunteer in 2006 with Uno, adding Denali and Flash to the fold as they came along and were registered. The Gabriel’s Angels teams deliver healing pet therapy to abused, neglected and at-risk children. Since joining Gabriel’s Angels, the Shelties and I visit at a school for children with special needs in East Mesa. 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, and have worked with many wonderful teams for the last six years. I love meeting new people and their special dogs and hearing from them how much they enjoy their many adventures.
Over the years, I’ve been involved in conformation, obedience, agility, and my favorite - canine freestyle. All our Shelties have CGC titles. 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.
Dog therapy has opened a fascinating chapter of my life! I enjoy working with the TDInc. Board to promote dog therapy, and to help others gain the immeasurable benefits with which I have been blessed.
Left to right, Daniel, Bonnie (in flowers) and Daisy
Sheryll Barker - Treasurer
Hi, I’m Sheryll Barker, and I’ve had eight dogs registered with Therapy Dogs Inc. over the past nineteen years. I began with Therapy Dogs Inc. in Albuquerque, NM. My husband and I, four dogs, and one cockatoo moved to Dallas twelve years ago. In 2003, I co-founded Heart of Texas 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 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/Fort Worth area. We have been a part of rescuing and/or fostering over 100 Collies over the past ten years. Four of my five present dogs are rescues.
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 for me! Eddie, my Great Pyrenees/Golden mix and therapy partner, and I met in 2006 and have been participating in pet therapy since 2007. Eddie came from a Golden Retriever rescue organization, and I volunteered to foster him. After he chewed apart several text books, more than one remote, some clothing, and began eying my shoe collection, I met a family who was hoping to adopt Eddie. When it looked like he might, 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) later, we are a 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
Although I was born in and completed my education in Omaha and spent nearly 20 years in the LA area, living here in Albuquerque, where the sunshine and sunsets are unequaled, has been fantastic. This is where I became involved with pet therapy over 17 years ago. I have been fortunate to team up with six therapy dogs over that period of time: five Rottweilers and an Australian Shepherd. Each has provided his or her own unique perspective to our visits, and each has excelled in different capacities and in different venues.
Although my 13 year old Quince is retired, Cole and Elke have taken over his workload with weekly visits to the Juvenile Detention Center, visits to the Heart Hospital and participation in the public library reading program. There are several annual events they attend, as well as occasional visits to HealthSouth and Lovelace Rehab.
I am currently the president of the Rottweiler Club of New Mexico, a carting judge, an obedience judge for the Australian Shepherd Club of America, a Provisional Tester for the American Temperament Test Society and I serve on committees for our national Rottweiler Club.
Both Cole and Elke compete in obedience trials. Cole has his UDX, RE and Carting Intermediate titles, and Elke recently earned her CD and her RE and went High in Trial at our National Specialty in May. Both are currently learning to herd sheep. I could not be more proud of all of my kids.
Jan with Loki, Toby, Schultz and Fenton
Jan Cloutier- Director
Greetings from the Garden State! Or should I say, the neighborhood dog park? It’s nothing for me to have 6 or 7 dogs around the house. Some live here, some just visit. Like the plaque in my front room says, “There’s always room for one more dog!”
I’m Jan. Originally from Maryland, I live here in south Jersey with my husband and 4 dogs. I’ve been a volunteer puppy raiser for the Seeing Eye® for over 13 years, and have raised 12 puppies. I now have “canine kids” working as guide dogs in over half a dozen states as well as many “canine grandkids” out there working. For the last 9 years I have served as co-leader of the Gloucester County Seeing Eye® Puppy Raisers.
When my second Seeing Eye® puppy, Fenton (the big golden) retired from their breeding program, he came home and started a new career with TDInc. as a therapy dog. Now 12 years old, he is still eager to work. 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.
Over the years, Fenton has blessed so many people, most of all me, with the miracles that happen each time we visit. Being a T/O is an added bonus, making it possible for other teams to spread the magic. You all know what I am talking about. You are the ones who make it happen. It is an honor to serve on your board of directors. For all that you do, a very special thanks.
Joe Grady - Director
Greetings from the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Western, North Carolina!
I am a native of Ohio, grew up in the shadows of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and received my BA from The Ohio State University in American Government and Public Relations.
While involved with Golden Retrievers for the past 17 years, I have rescued 3 one-year old Goldens, who became the center of my life. My dogs have all been active in my sales and marketing career over the years. My first Golden Retriever, Maggie, was the catalyst of my joining pet therapy work. She was active in my real estate career, had her own newspaper column called “Maggie’s Corner of the Market,” and was featured in several national publications. Unfortunately, I lost Maggie just as she was entering her pet therapy career. Her little brother, Rusty, stepped in and became the pride and joy of my pet therapy work.
I have been active with TDInc. since 2008. Rusty and I have done TV commercials for hospice and palliative care. We have been involved in many venues of therapy from comforting area university students during exam/stress week to providing love to folks attending Camp Bluebird (adult cancer survivor camp) and Camp Heart Songs (camp for children who have lost a parent). We were involved in the “Paws and Tales” reading program and in the Children’s Hospital Medical Evaluation program—a special program for mentally, physically, and sexually abused children. Rusty had his own “fan” base, and I conceded long ago that it was okay to be called “Rusty’s Dad.”
I unexpectedly lost Rusty on the operating table. I know he is watching out for me and happy his Dad is continuing the work he started, guiding me on my journey with TDInc. I am searching for my new buddy to join me in this wonderful line of work.
I consider it an honor to be on the board of Therapy Dogs Inc. and I look forward to working with each of you in making Therapy Dogs Inc. the very best pet therapy organization in the United States.
Peggy Grookett - Director
Greetings from the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!
I am the proud owner of two Beagles, Ben and Cody, and my new little girl, Jenny, the Labrador pup. They share our home with my husband, Jim, and me.
Cody was registered with TDInc. 11 years ago, just a little over his first birthday. He will be 12 years old on July 1, 2012. 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 eight 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 last year 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 first year as a board member and look forward to serving all the membership of this wonderful organization for another year.
Stacy with Sampson
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. As a newer member and TDInc.’s Board of Director’s only male member, I feel especially fortunate for the opportunity to work with a great group of people who hold the same passions about dogs as I do.
I have been working and training dogs, both purebred and mixed breeds, for the past twenty-two 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 where my own dog and I enjoyed the experience of visiting hospitals, nursing homes, local centers for abused children, daycare, 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 about two years ago and, shortly after that, faced losing him as he came to the end of a full life. I look forward to finding another companion dog soon.
I thoroughly enjoy the experiences I have had with my dog volunteering 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 the community.
Kim with Penny
Kim Williams - Director
Hello from Kearney, Nebraska!
My name is Kim Williams, and I am excited to begin 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 it 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 serving on the board.
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 this coming year.
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: its 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. Abby is my personal therapy dog. She is not registered with TDInc. as yet. She is so is very loving but becomes very excited about new people and new dogs. We are working with her so maybe some day she will calm down enough to be a TDInc. dog too.
I came to dog 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 the other residents I knew that there was more to this than I had imagined. That is when I began to research dog therapy and eventually 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 dog 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.
Teri Meadows with Emma and Murdock (who thinks he is a lap dog)
Teri Meadows, Past President
Teri Meadows, TDInc. President 1992 to 2012
It has been my honor to have served as the TDInc. President for 20 years. I feel that I have been with TDInc. for so long that it is my second family and a great responsibility for me!
I met Ann & Jack Butrick, TDInc.’s founders, in 1984 at an obedience trial held in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I was there competing with two of my American Pit Bull Terriers, Rocky and Humbug. Rocky was such a clown (as usual) that everyone gathered around to watch while we were in the ring. Ann fell in love with his smiling and gentle face, and asked if I had ever considered doing pet therapy with him. She said that he would be wonderful at it. At that time, I did not know of any national therapy organization that would accept Rocky’s breed. The Butricks were with Therapy Dogs International at the time and, with their encouragement and guidance, I applied and tested with Therapy Dogs International and was accepted. Later, I applied with several of my other American Pit Bull Terriers. I was honored when Jack and Ann started Therapy Dogs Incorporated in 1990 and asked me to serve as TDInc.’s vice president. I eagerly accepted. I became the TDInc. President in 1992 after our beloved Jack Butrick passed away. Beginning with his ideas, and with the support of a dedicated board of directors and membership over the years, we have taken his dreams and continued to be a premier pet therapy organization. I want to personally thank the wonderful membership, Tester/Observers, and the Board of Directors of Therapy Dogs Inc. for their steadfast dedication and endless work.
Over the years, I have had 11 registered therapy dogs. At present I am owned and loved by two dogs, Murdock, who is 14 years old, and Emma, who is 12 years old. Both are English Staffordshire Bull Terriers and registered TDInc. therapy dogs. When not doing pet therapy visits or other doggie activities, including obedience, conformation and agility, I am surrounded by nature living in the beautiful, peaceful mountains of Colorado.
Thank you for your continued support of TDInc. and all you do with your special dogs!