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 who 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 $15 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.


Be a Member!


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


Want Us to Visit?


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


Don Vaughan– President

Greetings from the Land of 10,000 Lakes! Originally from northern Illinois, my wife,
Stephanie, and I have called southeastern Minnesota home for almost 18 years. A
photojournalist and photographer by trade, I have been a member of Alliance of
Therapy Dogs (ATD) since 2002 and a Tester/Observer since 2011. I was elected to the
Board of Directors in 2016 and became President in July of 2024. I am honored by this
opportunity to serve you and ATD.

Stephanie and I currently share our home with a rescued 8-year-old female
Newfoundland, Ila, and a rescued 6-year-old Olde English Bulldogge, Henry. Ila joined
us in June 2021, and Henry joined us on Halloween in 2021. Both Ila and Henry
became certified with ATD in June 2022.

Besides therapy work, Stephanie and I focus on rescuing giant breeds, especially rare
mastiffs. We have owned a Tosa Ken, a Dogue de Bordeaux and two Neapolitan
mastiffs, as well as a Saint Bernard, an Irish Wolfhound and a Great Dane mix. Henry,
our Bulldogge, is a slight curveball for us from the giant world.

Our Tosa Ken, Saint Bernard, and Dogue de Bordeaux all had the honor of being
certified ATD dogs, as well. Over the years, my visits have included nursing homes,
educational seminars, hospice, a local airport, hospitals, church services and Girl
Scouts. For the better part of a decade, my focus had been on correctional facilities,
including a federal prison, two county jails and a juvenile detention center. Since Ila and
Henry became certified, my focus has been with mental health and substance abuse

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!

Do not hesitate to reach out to me or to ATD if we might be of assistance. Please
continue sharing smiles and joy!

Cris Lewis– Vice President

The Fox Valley in northeast Wisconsin is where I currently live, but I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, giving me the opportunity to be bilingual and to know how to tolerate heat/humidity and snow/cold!

I have been an ATD member since 2002, when the impact of a therapy dog team visiting us in a hospital waiting room triggered my interest to get involved. Fast forward to 2024, and my ninth certified therapy dog has just joined the ATD ranks. Currently there are five ATD dogs that allow me to work with them, and my role is to juggle schedules and chauffeur.  Thousands of visits have offered knowledge, joy, and bonds with my dogs that I wouldn’t trade for anything. My experience as a Tester/Observer for many years, and now starting my fourth year on the Board of Directors, have enhanced my knowledge of therapy dogs and all that they do.

My passions are swimming (I coached for many years and now I officiate) and dogs (I train, compete, and have a small breeding program that focuses on preserving the Dachshund breed). We have been a law enforcement family here for decades. When my passions and background intersect with therapy dogs, the concept of “six degrees of separation” gains a whole new meaning, as I find people we visit from unexpected parts of my life. Therapy dog volunteering has allowed me to watch incredible things happen between therapy dogs and the many wonderful people met along the way.

I try to live life with this thought in mind: in a world full of problems, I try to be or offer a solution, even if it is a small one.

I look forward to serving on the Board for something that has made a positive difference in so many lives, including my own. If there is anything I can do for our members, please know I will listen.

Stefanie Giese-Bogdan– Secretary

A warm greeting from River Falls, Wisconsin. Originally from Germany, my husband Axel and I have lived in Wisconsin for over 25 years. Being a retiree allows me to spend more time on therapy dog activities. I certified my first dog with ATD 23 years ago and joined the Board of Directors in 2015. It has been interesting and exciting to see how the organization has been growing, changing and dealing with challenges throughout these years. I am honored to have been elected as the Board Secretary in 2024 and look forward to serving the organization in this new capacity.

Axel and I are active members with Abby, our certified therapy dog and serve as Tester/Observers. Abby visits three facilities a week and brings lots of joy to residents in two senior living homes as well as patients and staff in a local hospital. In her ‘free’ time she enjoys long walks and rolling in things only a dog considers aromatic. Luckily, she doesn’t mind the mandatory shower afterwards. Johnny, our senior dog, continues to be a very sweet dog with us, but he is a good reminder that even the sweetest and most affectionate dog might not have the right aptitude for being a therapy dog.  Since he is a rescue, we do not know what experiences he had before we got him, and he has to make due with just our love.

I look forward to another rewarding year on the Board and to working with everyone to continue ATD’s great success.

Sandy Schiller – Treasurer

Hello from North Carolina, where I was born and raised. I retired in 2022 and have welcomed the chance to spend even more time doing what I love – spending time with my dogs and supporting families facing the end of life for their loved ones. I joined Alliance of Therapy Dogs in 2017 and then became a Tester/Observer.  I am privileged to be serving my third year as an ATD Director and this year as Treasurer. Watching the peace and smiles my dogs provide to the people we visit, made me even more committed to the work and to assisting other teams work toward achieving their own amazing experiences.

My mother passed away under hospice care and as a result, when I was provided the opportunity, I began working and volunteering for a local hospice. In 2016, Phoebe (Pembroke Welsh Corgi) came into my life, and we joined ATD. We began visiting hospice patients, hospitals, assisted living facilities and a Ronald McDonald House. She quickly become known as the Corgi in the Tutu. Hailey and Huxley, retired racing greyhounds, joined our pack in 2019 and quickly took to their new roles as therapy dogs, and we added visits to colleges, a rehab hospital, and a juvenile detention facility to our schedule. In 2022, Sydney, another retired racing greyhound, joined the Schiller Pack and took to therapy work without missing a step and we added a cancer treatment hospital. Of all my dogs, he truly gravitates to children, so we are exploring opportunities that highlight his talents.

When not escorting my therapy partners, I compete in Rally, Obedience, and Agility with Phoebe. Phoebe has achieved her Rally Obedience Championship (RACH), several Agility titles and is now working on her Scent Work skills. She is the first dog I have formally trained with and while therapy work is our primary focus, she amazes me daily with her performance potential. If only she had a handler who could match her potential, she would be unstoppable. Huxley, Hailey, and Sydney have no interest in performance games other than FastCat, as they take their retirement very seriously. When not visiting as therapy dogs, they do enjoy supervising their sisfur’s training and competitions.

Kim Williams- Director

Hello from Kearney, Nebraska, the Sandhill Crane Capital of the World! My husband and I have two young and rambunctious Bernese Mountain Dogs named Sigmund and Winnifred. With a little more training and luck, both dogs will be certified this year! Since the passing of my last therapy dog, I have missed visiting the hospital, library reading program, and memory care homes. I look forward to returning to regular visits once Sigmund and Winnifred get a little more seasoning! I’m lucky to live in a community that welcomes teams in a variety of facilities.

I joined Alliance of Therapy Dogs in 2004 and became a Tester/Observer in 2009. In 2011, I joined the Board. Each step of the journey has deepened my understanding of the power of the human-animal bond. Therapy visits with our partners offer education, healing, and comfort opportunities. The work we do at Alliance of Therapy Dogs, whether one-on-one or in groups, is not just volunteer work! Our teams play critical roles in promoting community well-being. There is joy in working with our dogs and joy in being part of an extensive network of caring individuals.

Pat Coglianese – Director

Greetings from South Carolina.

We have a wonderful group of board members who work tirelessly to make this organization the best it can be. It is important to 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.

I currently have two therapy dogs who love visiting with adults as well as children. Tia is a Golden Retriever and is a rescue.  Samson, a Miniature Poodle, is also a rescue,. It is wonderful to have dogs that are so different in size as that allows me to tailor my visits based on my audience and their comfort levels.

We have found our place bringing emotional support through our work with Alliance of Therapy Dogs.

I am proud to be a past president of the Board of Directors and continue to be on the board. I am also proud of the many members who have helped to improve the lives of so many people.

Maurice Kuypers- Director

Greetings from “The Land of Enchantment,” Santa Fe, New Mexico!

With my Tollers, Skye since 2016 and Leo since 2022, I enjoy visiting hospitals, medical clinics, assisted living and memory care communities.  As soon as I don my volunteer vest, both start their “Toller whine” and can’t wait for the visit (or is it the car ride?).  I also have experience visiting hospice patients and elementary schools.  Skye and Leo love encounters with children.  Is it that they are nearly the same size or is it the food crumbs and aromas the kids bring?

My wife and I arrived in Santa Fe after spending 30+ frigid winters in the upper midwest.  We love exploring New Mexico with our dogs – fantastic hiking trails and vistas and gorgeous sunsets most every evening.  I also enjoy golf, SCUBA diving, skiing, and practicing yoga.

I look forward to sharing my business and not for profit board experiences with the ATD community and our board!

Margaret May– Director

Greetings from the scenic front range of northern Colorado! My journey as a therapy dog handler began in 2002 when I started volunteering with my first therapy dog.  Over the years, I’ve devoted many hours to volunteering with my therapy dog partners; spreading joy in schools, medical facilities, libraries, and more. My current therapy dog partners are my Golden Retrievers, Beau and Rudy. In 2022, I broadened my participation with ATD by taking on the role of Tester Observer, allowing me to meet many remarkable handlers and their exceptional canine companions.

My professional experience includes several decades working in Information Technology in various roles and industries.  During my leisure hours, I indulge in my passions for gardening, photography, and touring national parks. Residing just north of Denver with my two pups, I am honored to serve the ATD community as a member of the Board of Directors. Together, we will continue to make tails wag and hearts smile!

Elizabeth Vardell– Director

Hello from Charlottesville, Virginia!

We relocated here from Charleston, South Carolina where I began my association with ATD in 2021 as a member doing visits with Jo, my therapy dog, at MUSC and in assisted living facilities and memory care programs in and around Charleston. There is a very strong group of ATD members and T/Os in Charleston and we enjoyed tremendous support on our journey. Eventually, I became a T/O when I realized just how great the need is for therapy dogs. Every team that Jo and I certify is another team spreading joy and smiles. It expanded our impact exponentially!

My experience with therapy dogs started in 1995, in New York, with my first Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Beau. He was a natural and introduced me to the work. Since then, we have had two other Chesapeakes who excelled at other things: dock diving, obedience, rally, scent work, and retrieving, but they were not cut out to be therapy dogs. I am very lucky to now have Jo, also a Chesapeake, to be my partner.

Now that we are in Charlottesville, we visit at UVA Health and at adult enrichment programs. Although hospitals have been where I feel the most at home, the enrichment programs are near and dear to my heart. My husband of 41 years has Lewy Body Dementia. Over the course of his disease, I have witness firsthand the difference that Therapy dogs have made in the emotional wellbeing of patients, families, and care team members. They can bring peace and smiles where sorely needed.

When not volunteering with Jo, I enjoy our four children and one granddaughter (with another on the way). I look forward to joining the ATD Board and lending my support to this wonderful organization.

Amy Brockel – Executive Director


Hello from the ATD home office in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I was born and raised in Cheyenne and spent most of my childhood riding horses and participating in 4H, FFA, and roping. I attended the University of Wyoming, where I received my bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a minor in Marketing in 2004. I met dog loving husband shortly after moving back to Cheyenne. Our daughter joined our family in 2015 and between the kiddo and our pack of dogs life is busy!

Shortly after becoming an ATD volunteer, I learned of a job opening and interviewed and was offered the position as the ATD Office Manager in late 2018. I was then promoted to the Executive Director position in the ATD office following Billie Smith’s retirement in 2021. It has been a rollercoaster of challenges and changes since I started here but I am proud to be a part of ATD. The work our volunteers do and the impact they have in their communities makes the hard days worth it.

My therapy dog Leroy and I visit the Laramie County Detention Center every other week and we enjoy joining the other visit opportunities when we are able. I am incredibly proud to be a part of ATD as a volunteer and the Executive Director and I hope to continue in both roles for many years to come.

Monica Callahan – Social Media/Digital Content/Merchandise Manager

We have enjoyed the past two years living near the beach! A new job opportunity for my husband means we’ll be making our way a little more south, closer to Charleston, South Carolina, this year. Our airport program at the Myrtle Beach Airport is flourishing, as are our ATD member numbers in the Myrtle Beach area. I always enjoy seeing our organization grow and reach new potential members.

All of the dogs are doing great. This past year, we let Quint’s therapy dog status go because he just wasn’t enjoying the job anymore. It’s important that if our dogs aren’t enjoying the job, we don’t force them to continue. However, we did welcome two new therapy dogs! Disco and her son, Hip Hop, have officially become therapy dogs and are enjoying their airport visits. It’s interesting learning to work with a new breed and a new size of dog. It’s been fun learning how each dog enjoys visiting and how to make sure everyone is comfortable and safe.

My children are 9 and 11 now, and my daughter looks forward to turning 12 so she can become a Junior Handler with her dog, Hip Hop. My hope is the dogs are experienced enough in two years to make her job easier as a Junior Handler. I can’t wait to share the joy of volunteering with her.

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 our volunteers. As we grow, we always strive to keep our mission in mind!

Katie Whiteley – Operations Manager

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 two 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 up with cats and had no real affinity for dogs. My love of dogs came many years later thanks to my sister when she began working with a local rescue, 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 to be a part of 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 De La Hoya- Lead Processor

I worked at ATD for seven years prior to moving out of state in January 2019 but was able to come back to ATD in February 2021. I now reside in Cheyenne again with my daughter, who is in high school. On the weekends, we are often in northeast Colorado spending time with family who reside there and spoiling the youngest in the family, Rico.

Bridget Murray-Member Service Representative

Hey, all! My name is Bridget. I was a transplant from West Virginia; I, my husband, and two children moved to Cheyenne in 2021. We recently moved back to West Virginia in early 2023, and I currently work remotely for ATD.

Before moving to Cheyenne, I was the general manager of a national and local award-winning hotel for seven years. I have worked over 15 years in the hospitality industry, and when moving to Cheyenne, decided I wanted to do something different.

Back home, I spent a lot of time volunteering on different boards and committees and finding other ways to give back to my community, like volunteering for VITA, the Humane Society, and many other organizations. So, when offered the opportunity to work in an organization like Alliance of Therapy Dogs, I was more than excited to go to work with an organization whose mission statement really resonated with me. It was a change from what I was used to, but still contributes to society in a very positive way.

When I am not working, I enjoy time at home with our two dogs, hanging out with my family, finding other ways to help contribute to my new community, many outdoor activities, music, and reading.

Sara Harris-Member Service Representative

I moved from the Adirondack Park, in New York, to Wyoming a little over three years ago and couldn’t be happier. Wyoming is a beautiful state with easy access to Colorado and Nebraska, providing endless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and explore new places. I enjoy the thrill of finding new lakes and rivers to fish and paddle, I’m an avid gardener, and will take every opportunity there is to enjoy the outdoors with my seven-year-old husky mix, Roxy!

I’ve had a few different occupations over the years. However, none has been more rewarding than working for this organization. Our members share stories of the impact their therapy dogs have on peoples’ lives daily, and I enjoy listening to each and every one of them. This organization consists of very special people and dogs alike, and we wouldn’t exist without them!

Jared Wadley – Newsmagazine Editor

Greetings from Ypsilanti Township, Michigan! My family has been active in therapy dog work since 2010 with three amazing collies (Bella, Legend, and Bree). My sons, Jordan and Devin, were ATD junior handlers and supporting members.

Bree has been busy at various locations. She visits Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan, the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, and American Red Cross activities that involve military veterans. We also comfort first responders throughout our region: two fire departments, a police department, an ambulance service, and the U.S. Coast Guard. But our visits are not limited to in-person. Through Zoom calls, we see residents at extended care facilities nationwide.

We appreciate everyone we meet during our visits, especially those who have a genuine interest in learning more about collies. I’m excited about the future as I train Bree to become a crisis therapy dog.

It’s been a pleasure serving as editor of the ATD Newsmagazine. I look forward to editing the members’ uplifting stories and seeing their photos. Thank you for sharing your dogs!

When I’m not volunteering, I’m busy as the University of Michigan’s lead public relations representative; this involves helping reporters connect with faculty for their expertise and additional research information. The university always has a special place in my heart because it’s where I randomly learned about therapy dogs during a campus event more than 15 years ago.

Courtney Roberts– Graphic Designer

My husband and I are originally from Central Iowa (go Cyclones) but have called Cheyenne, Wyoming, home for the past 14 years. We have two children, one girl and one boy, who keep us super busy with extracurricular activities.

I have always loved being creative, whether it be drawing, playing music, or being crafty, but after graduating from Iowa State University with a Fine Arts degree, finding a job in the arts proved to be a bit difficult. After working retail, and having my first child, I decided retail hours weren’t for me and ended up moving through a couple different creative jobs searching for the right fit, and I’m happy to report I found it! I currently work at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne as their Graphic Designer, and it’s wonderful. They say if you enjoy your job, you won’t “work” a day in your life. As if designing all day isn’t enough, I also do graphic design on the side with my freelance business, c.r.eate design, where I have clients from Alaska to Hawaii and everywhere in between.

I am definitely new to the world of therapy dogs, and while I don’t currently have a dog (our Springer Spaniel, Triton, passed away a couple of years ago), we have two cats and a bearded dragon!

I am excited about the opportunity to learn more about therapy dogs and look forward to designing many magazines to come!

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!


Be a Member!


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


Want Us to Visit?


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