Alliance of Therapy Dogs
Celebrating 30 Years of Sharing Smiles & Joy

Our Mission

We are an international registry of certified therapy dog teams. At ATD, we provide testing, certification, registration, support, and insurance for members who volunteer with their dogs in animal-assisted activities. Our objective is to form a network of caring individuals and their special dogs are willing to share smiles and joy with people, young and old alike.

Our Human Members

We do not rely on fundraising to succeed. No one you see in action nor our testers are paid nor can they charge any fees. Even our board of directors is made up of volunteers. Our only paid employees are our office staff. By keeping our membership costs low, we can provide therapy dog services at no cost to facilities that we visit.

Our Canine Members

We are focused on the well-being and the behavior of your dog regardless of age or breed. We look for well-mannered, well-behaved dogs that enjoy meeting people. While obedience training can be useful in a therapy setting, ATD doesn’t require formal training, certifications, or tests other than our own. All dogs tested for ATD’s certification must be up-to-date on vaccines and have a negative fecal exam in the last year. There is no restriction on diets or supplements given our canine members.  Dogs may also be fed treats on therapy dog visits if the facility also allows treats. ATD is open to register any breed of dog except wolf or coyote mixes.

Our Testing Process

Unlike other therapy dog organizations, we have a unique testing process that involves handling your dog. Our testing is designed to make sure you and your dog have a good relationship with each other and that your dog has the right temperament for therapy dog work. After the test, a Tester/Observer (T/O) will monitor you and your dog during three visits to facilities that include two visits to a medical facility. During these supervised visits, the T/O will instruct you and your dog on the art of visiting and give you advice and guidance while observing you in action. If all goes well, the T/O will pass you and your dog and recommend you for dog certification with ATD.

Where We Work

Our teams provide therapy in many settings, including but not limited to airports, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, rehab facilities, mental health institutions, schools, hospitals, cancer centers, hospice facilities, college campuses and can also provide therapy in patients’ homes. ATD doesn’t restrict where our teams visit. ATD teams may choose to be members of local therapy dog groups. They may also participate in nation-wide therapy dog initiatives with organizations like the Red Cross and R.E.A.D. Additionally, we allow our members to visit with teams who may be registered with other organizations.

Our Fees

Registration is very affordable. For $30 a year (plus an initial one-time $10 new member fee), a team can be registered with ATD and covered by our insurance in order to share in the mission of sharing smiles and joy with their dog.

CLICK HERE

Be a Member!

JOIN ATD

Are you interested in becoming a member of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs? Learn how you and your dog can join.

CLICK HERE
LEARN MORE

Want Us to Visit?

WE'RE READY TO HELP

ATD registered therapy teams are ready to visit your facility. You will see many happy faces as a result!

LEARN MORE

Pat Coglianese – President

Pat-Coglianese-Samson-and-Tia

Pat, Samson and Tia

Greetings from New York. I live in a suburb about 25 miles north of Manhattan and so have the best of both worlds: access to Manhattan and the peace of the suburbs.

We have a wonderful group of board members who work tirelessly to make this organization the best it can be and support our members who, with their dogs, make such a strong contribution to the lives of others.

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 JP Morgan Chase, a global financial services institution. When I was ready for a change of pace, I studied and became a dog trainer, combining my expertise in education with my love and knowledge of dogs to launch this new career.
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 current therapy dog, Tia, is a Golden Retriever and also a rescue. She was born and raised in Italy, shipped to the US in the hold of a plane and then her family could not keep her. I was lucky to be able to adopt her and teach her English cues, as she only understood Italian. She is now a bi-lingual therapy dog and loves the work of sharing smiles and joy. Samson, a miniature poodle, and my second therapy dog loves visiting with adults as well as children.

We have found our place bringing emotional support through our work with Alliance of Therapy Dogs. We now visit at West Point with soldiers, special needs children of deployed soldiers, during Red Cross blood drives, and even with the cadets who need to de-stress during finals. We also visit local nursing homes, colleges, facilities for special needs children and adults, and in school reading programs.

I am proud to be the President of the Board of Directors and a part of this organization with so many members who have helped to improve the lives of so many people.

Kimberly Williams – Vice President

Kim-Williams-with-Rowan-and-Finnegan

Kim Williams with Rowan and Finnegan

Hello from Kearney, Nebraska, the Sandhill Crane Capital of the World! I became a member of Alliance of Therapy Dogs in 2004, a tester/observer in 2009, and I joined the board in 2011. Each step of the journey has led me to a greater understanding of the power of the human-animal bond. I believe that education, healing, and comfort come from that very bond. I also believe that whether it is one-on-one or in a group, what we do in Alliance of Therapy Dogs isn’t just volunteering! Our teams are vital in contributing to the overall well-being of the communities we visit.

I have two dogs with very different personalities. Rowan, a Bernese mountain dog, is my team member who loves nothing more than to be pet all day but who also pulls a cart when things need to get from here to there. Finnegan is a mixed breed who is full of energy and interested in everything. He still needs a little seasoning before he dips his paw into the world of pet therapy.

I am very proud to be a member of this board and to continue to serve our membership. There is nothing like the joy a dog brings to the lives of those we visit. There is nothing like the joy we receive by working with our dogs to give back to our communities!

Kelsey J. Gilmore – Futeral – Secretary

About the Alliance of Therapy Dogs | A National Therapy Dog Organization

Kelsey with Murphy, Jasper and Eddie

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! I first became involved in therapy dog work when Eddie, our Great Pyrenees/Golden mix whom we lost in May 2017, and I met ATD Past President Jane Hirsch in 2007 and the rest is history!

My passion for animals began early in life and now extends to my professional life. I am a licensed attorney and currently work to improve animal welfare as the South Carolina State Director for the Humane Society of the United States. In my spare time, I enjoy working out, horseback riding, and cooking all kinds of vegan foods. Like many of you, I’m ready to get back to visiting the people we miss so dearly at a local assisted living facility, which is my visit of choice.

Our fur family consists of four rescued pups: ATD-certified Pixel; retired ATD super-mutt Murphy; Widget, who is a little too shy and nervous to enjoy therapy dog work; and Charlie, who passed her CGC with flying colors just after her first birthday and is ready for therapy dog work. In July 2018, we lost Widget’s sister, Echo, to liver failure four months after being poisoned by the toxic sago palm plant, despite numerous blood and plasma transfusions. Please review the pet poison safety tips ATD publishes each year, which can now be found online, and check your yard to be sure your dogs don’t have access to toxic plants.

Thank you all for sharing your wonderful fur-children with people in need!

Don Vaughan – Treasurer

Theia and Don

Greetings from the Land of 10,000 Lakes! Originally from northern Illinois, my wife, Stephanie, and I have called Minnesota home for almost 15 years. A photojournalist and photographer by trade, I also spent a couple of years specializing in equestrian event photography. I have been a member of Alliance of Therapy Dogs for over 17 years, the last nine as a tester/observer. I’m entering my fifth year on the board and third year as treasurer. I am honored by this opportunity and look forward to serving you and ATD.

Stephanie and I currently share our home with a rescued 3-year-old female Neapolitan mastiff, Theia Vesta. We were hoping she would be our next certified therapy dog with ATD. Even though she is a doll, it looks like health issues will most likely stop that from happening.

Besides therapy work, Stephanie and I focus on rescuing giant breeds, especially rare mastiffs. We have owned a Tosa Ken (Japanese mastiff), a Dogue de Bordeaux (French mastiff), and another Neapolitan mastiff (sometimes referred to as an Italian mastiff, but different than a Cane Corso), as well as a Saint Bernard, an Irish Wolfhound, and a Great Dane mix.

Our Tosa Ken, Saint Bernard, and Dogue de Bordeuax all had the honor of being registered ATD dogs. Over the years, my visits have included nursing homes, educational seminars, hospice, a local airport, hospitals, church services, and Girl Scouts. However, for the majority of the past decade, my focus has been on correctional facilities, including a federal prison, two county jails, and juvenile detention.

In addition to therapy work, our Saint Bernard enjoyed hiking and carting. He even gave weight pulling a go. I love to hit the open road with my wife riding shotgun and our dog(s) in the backseat, ready to explore. If I’m not on the open road, there is a good chance you will find me in the kitchen cooking, my other passion. Last, but not least – if there is snow falling from the sky, I am usually one happy camper! LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW!

Please continue sharing smiles and joy!

Carroll Colasardo – Director

Carroll Colasardo and Dante

Carroll and Dante

Greetings from AZ. I’m looking forward to another busy year serving on the Alliance of Therapy Dogs board. We all work hard to help you achieve your goal of becoming a valued ATD team in your community. Your time and commitment to making someone’s day more enjoyable are invaluable. Thank you for choosing to join us!

I’ve been a member of ATD since 2002. In 2006, I became a Tester/Observer, joined the board in 2009, and have worked with many wonderful teams for the past 18 years. I love meeting new people and their dogs and hearing how much they enjoy their many adventures.

Our household consists of four Shetland Sheepdogs and Cali, the cat. Denali has retired after a 13-year therapy dog career, and Dante has accomplished almost four years of visits. Willow, now one year old, is waiting to be tested, as is Scotty, a rescue who joined our family on Christmas day. During non-COVID times, we visit two local Banner hospitals in the Mesa area, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport with their Navigator Buddies program, and Arizona State University as a Devil Dog team.

I feel blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of this amazing organization, to promote dog therapy, and to help others gain so many benefits while sharing their wonderful dogs with others.

Stefanie Giese-Bogdan – Director

Stefanie Giese-Bogdan with Abby and Johnny

Stefanie with Johnny and Abby

Hello from River Falls, Wisconsin! This certainly is a year we’ll all remember though most of us might rather want to push a reset button. I am impressed with all the ways our members found to be able to continue to share smiles and joy even though our traditional visits are mostly not possible. It shows the deep desire and determination of our membership and makes me very grateful to be a part of this great organization.

After moving from Germany to Wisconsin over 20 years ago, I started therapy dog work, joining Alliance of Therapy Dogs with my Shepherd Mix, Champ. Since then, most of our dogs have become members of ATD. We focus on rescue dogs. Johnny is the only one who is not a certified therapy dog. He is a very sweet dog who loves being petted, but takes too long to warm up to strangers, so he is not therapy dog material (I call him my private therapy dog as he’s so sweet and loves attention). This year we lost our long-term therapy dog Gracie. We were all grieving, but Johnny was really depressed, so we added a new member to our family. Abby is also a rescue dog, and we have no idea what breed she is. The litter she came from was the most diverse-looking litter I’ve ever seen, but all extremely cute and nice puppies. Abby’s a sweet active happy girl, and we have high hopes for her to become a therapy dog once she is old enough. Currently we are working on manners and all look forward to those sharp puppy teeth falling out soon!

By my side is my husband, Axel, who not only shares my love of animals, but is the reason I got into dogs in the first place. Axel is a huge help with all the work that comes along with having a hobby farm with a variety of animals and is also an active tester/observer for ATD.

I’m thrilled to continue working with the ATD organization and board, helping us get through this pandemic together. I can’t believe I’ve already been on the board for five years! In these crazy times, especially, I think it is important to continue our work to share smiles to people and I look forward to the journey ahead.

Peggy Grookett – Director

Peggy Grookett Hunter and Jenny

Peggy, Hunter and Jenny

Greetings from Philadelphia! Another exciting year is ahead! Working with our present board of directors is a pleasure! Our board meeting in Cheyenne this year was a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun!

I lost my little beagle, Cody, last year 12 days short of his 19th birthday! He served 14 years as a therapy dog before he retired. I was blessed to have him so long. Although blind and deaf, he was still in charge of the other two dogs! Jenny is continuing on her dock diving career. She doesn’t have a new title, but she’s having a lot of fun! Hunter earned his Graduate Novice title, but we are still struggling with his Open title! If only I could take cookies into the obedience ring, then he would have his utility title by now! Both dogs continue to visit a hospice facility where the nurses spoil them with cookies at the end of each visit.

It is an honor to serve as a director for such a great organization!

Monica Callahan – Director

Monica Callahan with Orio and Quint

Monica Callahan with Orio and Quint

Hello from the Cleveland, Ohio area! I have so enjoyed these almost three years of serving on your Board of Directors. We are comprised of some amazing individuals whom I enjoy getting to know better. We have so many talented teams in this organization and I love getting to meet so many people who love their dogs just as much as I do.

I currently share my home with my lovely husband of almost 13 years, my eight-year-old daughter, and my six-year-old son. Together, we enjoy spending time with our four dogs: retired therapy dog Dalmatian Doc (10 years old), Windsprite Disco (two years old), and Dalmatian Orio (almost two years old), and our newest addition, deaf Dalmatian Quint (one year old). This past year has given us time to get both Orio and Quint tested and they are both now certified ATD therapy dogs!

Besides therapy dog work, I enjoy helping others train their dogs in the Cleveland area, spending lots of quality time with my children, and participating in various forms of exercise, including training for my first full marathon!

Please feel free to reach out to me about anything! We are all available to hear your comments. That is my favorite thing about ATD: how accessible this organization is to the comments and concerns from its volunteers. As we grow, we always strive to keep our mission in mind!

Tosha Aldridge – Director

Tosha Aldridge with Louie and Lily

Tosha with Louie and Lily

A big ol’ hello from Rocky Mount in eastern NC. It is a privilege to have joined the Board of Directors with ATD, and I look forward to all of the wonderful opportunities ahead. I have been involved with dogs in some way, form, or fashion since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. I cannot remember a time in my life without dogs! Currently, we have one certified therapy dog named Lily. She is a five-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier who holds her R.E.A.D, CGC, CGCA, CGCU, TKN, and THDX titles and was Miss September for the 2018 Pinups for Pitbulls. We also have a three-year-old American Staffordshire mix named Louie, and we foster numerous pit/bully breeds with our local rescue, Odin’s Orphans.

For the majority of my adult life, I have been involved in rescue and advocacy work. In early 2016, my husband, Shayne, and I stepped into therapy work and I became a T/O later that year. We quickly learned that therapy dogs were not new just to our area in particular, but for numerous surrounding areas as well. Now we have several teams in our area that actively visit hospitals, nursing/rehab facilities, churches, 911 centers, a local children’s home, schools, colleges, and more.

Outside of ATD, I own and operate a local dog specialty store with my husband and teach a variety of training classes. While we love any and all furkids, our heart and passion are with the pitbull breeds. We get the great honor of sharing our love for the breed with others through therapy work in hopes that one day we will have helped make an impact of tearing down BSL.

I am very thankful to get the opportunity to work with this amazing organization and continue to help it grow. Always remember, every day is an opportunity to create a positive change!

Keith Pettway – Director

Keith Pettway with Frodo and Abby

Keith, Frodo and Abby

Greetings from the flatlands of the Mississippi Delta. It seems only a short time ago that I attended my first board meeting yet now I am a seasoned veteran. I am still excited about the work that we are doing for ATD. This board is a hard-working group that is very dedicated to dog therapy. It is endlessly working to keep Alliance of Therapy Dogs as the premier accrediting organization in the country.

It goes without saying that this has been a tough year for all of us. COVID-19 has done a number on not only ATD but the whole country, even the whole world. I am so impressed with the things our members are doing to “keep a hand in” the therapy dog scene while most places are closed to us. You are such a resilient bunch! I know that when this passes, and it will pass eventually, ATD will bounce back as strong as ever.

On a personal note, my puppy Frodo turned 17 months on October 8. He is such a loving dog, but he is now a teenager. You all what that means: absolutely no impulse control! We are working hard to get through this and know he will get much better when he matures. He will be an ATD therapy dog, just not yet.

I am still deeply honored to serve ATD as a board member. I want to thank each and every one of you for all the smiles and joy you share as often as you can.

Stacy Plummer – Director

Stacy Plummer and Diezel

Stacy with Diezel

Hello to everyone from the Pacific Northwest, specifically the beautiful state of Oregon where I reside with my wife, Brandy, and have raised seven wonderful children and have now welcomed our first grandbaby.

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 for the past 30 years. I became an Alliance of Therapy Dogs member in March 2003 and in July 2004 I became a tester/observer. I co-founded a local therapy group with my own dog and I have 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, a few years ago, and shortly after that, faced losing him as he came to the end of a full life. I am currently looking forward to rescuing another dog to train as a therapy dog in the near future.

I thoroughly enjoy the experiences I have had volunteering with my dog 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.

Laurie Schlossnagle – Director

Laurie Schlossnagle with Emme and Dolly

Laurie Schlossnagle with Emme and Dolly

Hello from Salt Lake City, Utah! Wow. What a crazy year it’s been. I am honored to be not only supporting all of you during this unusual time in history, but also to be supporting my local community through alternate visits with my therapy dogs.

We now have four dogs: Dolly (10-year-old Beagle/Boxer mix), Blitz (seven-year-old Aussie/Catahoula/Cattle Dog mix), Emme (three-year-old Beagle), and Bellatrix (almost one-year-old Greater Swiss Mountain Dog). I continue to enjoy being a “grandpawrent” to my daughters’ dogs: Elphie (Dolly’s sister), Rafael (four-year-old Shih Tzu), and Auggie (two-year-old Cardigan Corgi). I am privileged to be certified to do therapy dog work with Dolly, Elphie, Rafael, and Emme. They all have their loves, so I get to do lots of different types of visits! As soon as Bellatrix turns 1, we are hoping she will be my husband’s therapy dog partner.

My husband, Karl, and I have four children between us (three daughters and one son) and we are starting to add in-laws to our family! Karl and two of our children are also therapy dog handlers as is one of our daughters-in-law. We still have our suburban “farm” with chickens and a rabbit, and we always keep our eyes open for other potential animal family members. The brick and mortar dog training center we opened in June 2018 is doing well, and I love being able to do more to help people as a dog trainer and dog behavior consultant with our own training center. It is truly wonderful that I get to spend time with great dogs and their awesome people in both my job and as a volunteer.

As always, it’s a privilege to work alongside all of you sharing smiles and joy!

Jeanette Sinohui – Director

Jeanette Sinohui Frida Pancho

Jeanette Sinohui with Frida and Pancho

Hi! I’m a native of Phoenix, Arizona where I serve as the Volunteer Dog Therapy Team Leader in the same hospital where I was born: Banner – University Medical Center. As a board member and a T/O for ATD, I have been able to help to improve the program at Banner. It has been a privilege to work alongside teams that truly care about visiting with patients, families, and staff.

My sweet 16-year-old Rata passed away May 10, 2018. She was known as the “Diva” of the hospital and played her role well. She was truly my very special girl who taught me so much. I have always known what a difference therapy dogs make; however, after losing Rata, I saw our teams in a different light. The dedication of our teams to share their dogs with others is beyond any words. When I test a new team and send them out to visit, I know I have helped to bring some happiness to not only the person they are visiting but also to the handler. Observing the powerful impact therapy dogs make on anyone they visit has made me realize how much I miss visiting with a therapy dog, and I know it is time to pass on Rata’s legacy. I have adopted two Cockapoos, Pancho and Frida, who are in training to hopefully become members of ATD to continue the kindness Rata passed on to so many.

To relax I play golf. Some people wonder if this is a way to relax and I must agree that sometimes it does not feel like I am relaxing. However, as many golfers know, it just takes one good shot per round to bring a golfer back. I can proudly say I do have a hole-in-one; maybe this is the shot that keeps me coming back.

I look forward to the new year and want to make sure we can all help to make Alliance of Therapy Dogs an even better organization.

Teri Meadows – Past President 1992 – 2012

Teri Meadows with Lucie & Mickey

Teri Meadows with Lucie & Mickey

I have been with Alliance of Therapy Dogs for so long it is part of me – part of my life and part of my family. With having 11 therapy dogs over the years, my many years of memories began in 1990 when the founder, Jack Butrick, told me he wanted to start an organization and honored me with a request to be his vice president. My dog, Rocky, was the first American Pit Bull Terrier to become a registered therapy dog with Therapy Dogs Inc., as it was then known, and was one of the three dogs used in the original logo (he was the dog being hugged by a child). Less than two years after starting Therapy Dogs Inc., 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.

If I have learned anything from being president of Alliance of Therapy Dogs for 20 years, it is to have strength when needed, to always have patience, and to go for anything 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 ATD officers, directors and, of course, our membership.

I do not miss all the work, but I do miss the friendships I have made. 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. I am so very proud to continue to be part of this wonderful organization and share the joy for 30 years. Congratulations Alliance of Therapy Dogs!

Jane Hirsch – Past President 2012 – 2016

Jane Hirsch Zing and Ben

Jane Hirsch with Zing and Ben

Life is challenging for all of us in these surreal times. I am so thankful to have my dogs. They might be on hold for doing their school and airport therapy visits, but they are my invaluable therapists day in and day out. We continue to train at home for musical freestyle and future therapy visits where we can show off our new dance moves!

My mother turned 102 in June, but we lost my aunt in March at age 100. Mom is an amazing person. She remains in good spirits and understands why we can only FaceTime with family. She was born during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and just takes things in stride with dignity and optimism.

My newest addition, Zing, has developed into an amazing young adult. At two and a half years old he’s a big boy who loves everyone and is ready to embark on his therapy career as soon as we feel safe to resume testing and visiting.

I’ll always be grateful to Rafter, my first Aussie and first therapy dog, for starting me on this wonderful journey. I’ll always appreciate Alliance of Therapy Dogs for giving me the opportunity to share my dogs with others in such a rewarding and enjoyable way!

Billie Smith – Executive Director

Billie-Smith-and-Haven

Billie Smith with Haven

We are all going to write 2020 out of the history books I am sure. What a terrible year and so much harder for some than others. I have been one of the more blessed people having been able to keep my job and live in Wyoming where we have not been experiencing the virus as bad as those of you who are in the more populated states. The worst for me is that I cannot go do what I had planned for my last year as the Executive Director of ATD. I was going to load Haven in the car and travel to do therapy visits with all of you wonderful members I have worked with through the office for the last 29 ½ years. Still a dream though, so I will let you know when I am headed your way!

I have had an eventful year, too. Along with working towards retirement, turning things over to the operations manager and board, and figuring out how to work from home, I was blessed with two more great-grandchildren. There really is no time to be bored with a large family and still working with the tester/observers and consulting the ATD office. I enjoy being home much more than I thought I would and enjoy still having a connection with the organization. The board has been terribly busy even though we were unable to have our conference in LA. They are busy preparing for 2021 and the committees are just as busy as ever. I have been helping a couple of committees that are working on exciting things to come for the 30-year anniversary for ATD. Even with the interruptions through the year, we want the members to know that we are still moving forward and will be there to support all of you not only through the pandemic but when we are able to get back out there to do visits in whatever ways we can. There will be changes, but those of you who have been with us for a few years know that we can do this.

Looking forward to a healthy new year for all of you and my final quarter of retirement.

Amy Brockel – Operations Manager

Amy Brockel Hank and Leroy

Amy Brockel with Hank and Leroy

Hello from the Alliance of Therapy Dogs’ home office in Cheyenne, Wyoming. These eventful first two years have provided me valuable experience learning to navigate some challenging situations. I joined ATD in October 2018 as the office manager and two months later both processors moved out of state. I had to quickly learn their roles to stay caught up and to train our new staff. Learning the office work from the ground up has helped me as a manager and has also made me aware of areas where we could improve and streamline our processes. As we all know, change is not easy, but our staff is focused on making positive changes that help our office be more efficient and responsive to your requests. Our amazing therapy teams make such a huge impact with the work they do on the people they visit, and so we want to be as helpful and as supportive as we can of our volunteers.

In July 2019, I was promoted to operations manager taking on a few more tasks that were previously handled by our executive director. I am thankful for Billie’s support and guidance as I continue to learn committee processes, annual board meeting, annual cycle of updates, and everything else that comes with running the ATD home office. While Billie retired from the office July 1, 2020, I sincerely appreciate her willingness to stay connected to the staff for another year. The insight and context she provides is invaluable. We do miss her humor and presence in the office, but she has set us up to be successful while she enjoys her well-earned retirement.

As an ATD volunteer I have done some visits here and there but those have come to a halt right now due to COVID-19. I am confident when things open up my ATD dogs, Leroy and Hank, will be excited to resume their therapy work. Hank is pretty accepting of staying home, playing fetch, and spending time with his family, but Leroy really misses his visits and contact with other humans. The few visitors we’ve had at our home this summer have had to put up with Leroy’s constant attention seeking nose nudges. I find myself apologizing for his pushiness to get love from anyone he encounters but most welcome it and laugh that a 90-pound Doberman is so needy to be pet and loved on. I was thrilled to be approved as a Tester/Observer in November 2019. With each year that I am a part of ATD I feel I am growing and learning which provides a rewarding environment both as a volunteer and as an employee. It is apparent to me that everyone involved in the leadership of this organization cares deeply about the mission and membership which makes me really proud to be a part of Alliance of Therapy Dogs.

Katie Whiteley-Operations Lead

Katie and Bianca

Katie and Bianca

I am 4th generation born and raised in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I have lived here all my life and I enjoy everything Wyoming has to offer. I love hiking, camping, swimming, sunbathing, and anything else that involves the great outdoors! I enjoy spending time with my husband, our three dogs, and one cat. We travel whenever possible and have been to 17 states so far and we hope to be able to visit all 50. We have been to Mexico and the Bahamas and would love to tour Europe someday. The most exciting thing to me about visiting new places is the food and the culture, there’s always something new to try and learn.

I started working in the fast food industry when I was 15 years old. Then, after a few years and a couple of odd jobs, I spent 19 years in the medical field. I first worked with humans at a local radiology clinic and then began to work with animals in a veterinary clinic. I grew with cats and had no real affinity for dogs after one nearly bit my face as a small child and it stuck with me for years. Thank goodness my dad was close by to save the day! My love of dogs came many years later thanks to my sister when she began working with a local rescue several years ago, and my husband and I fell in love with one of her foster puppies. Winifred fit in quite well with our cats, although they were unsure why I would dare to bring a dog into their home. We have since had four dogs of our own and have fostered nearly 100 dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens. I now have a keen sense of dogs and am able to assist friends and family with questions or problems they may have. Animals are, quite simply, my joy. They are also a lot of work and have caused us to shed blood, sweat, and tears but they are always worth it. We have some pretty amazing foster stories that I am quite proud of and will forever be fond of.

I am delighted that I got to join the team at Alliance of Therapy Dogs. Our mission is one I am proud to be a part of and I look forward to many years of sharing smiles and joy with all of you.

Adriana Boyer – Office Assistant

About the Alliance of Therapy Dogs | A National Therapy Dog Organization

Adriana worked at ATD for many years before and when she moved back to Cheyenne recently we gladly offered her a spot on our staff.

We are so happy to have her back and will get her updated bio posted soon.

Jared Wadley – News Magazine Editor

Jared, Jordan, Legend, and Devin

Jared, Jordan, Legend and Devin

A very warm greeting to all of you. My family and I live near Ann Arbor, Michigan, which is recognized as one of the best places to live in the Midwest and home to the University of Michigan. The university, specifically its world-renowned hospital, served as one of the first locations in Michigan to provide pet therapy in the late 1980’s.

With my Collie, Bella, I embarked on therapy dog visits in 2010. Today, not only have I spent more than a decade in the organization, but I’m honored to serve as an editor (non-board member) of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs Newsmagazine.

Unfortunately, Bella is no longer with us, but I’m the proud parent of another wonderful Collie named Legend. Some people like to call him “Lassie” from the popular TV series because of his appearance, intelligence, and gentleness. Legend isn’t saving Timmy, or anyone, for that matter, from a well or mine, but he does “rescue” those feeling despondent at University of Michigan’s Mott Children’s Hospital and the VA Hospital by putting a smile on their faces. In addition, Legend promotes healthy living as the main pup at the university’s “Wellness Woof,” and he makes appearances during de-stressing events to relax students.

But I’m not the only ATD handler in the household. My older son, Jordan, became a junior therapy dog handler in 2013 and is now a regular member. My younger son, Devin, has been a junior handler since 2017. It’s heartwarming to see how children and elderly patients appreciate how young people are active in ATD and Therapaws of Michigan, which is our local therapy dog organization.

Although in-person facility appearances have been suspended during the coronavirus pandemic, we still “visit” extended care sites through online Zoom calls. Perhaps in 2021, we’ll return to the hospitals, a library, and the University of Michigan for those in-person visits. In the meantime, I look forward to being among the first individuals to read your uplifting stories for the Newsmagazine.

Thank you for sharing your dogs!

Thank You for Helping Us Share Smiles & Joy!

We want to thank these organizations for their generous financial contributions to help us increase the number of certified therapy dog teams who are out there working daily to visit those in need!

CLICK HERE

Be a Member!

JOIN ATD

Are you interested in becoming a member of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs? Learn how you and your dog can join.

CLICK HERE
LEARN MORE

Want Us to Visit?

WE'RE READY TO HELP

ATD registered therapy teams are ready to visit your facility. You will see many happy faces as a result!

LEARN MORE