Our People

  • Cathy Cross, Interim Executive Director / Fund Development Manager

    CathyCathy Cross has joined the Dogs with Wings' team as Fund Development Manager. Cathy brings more than 15 years’ experience to Dogs with Wings having been with The Lung Association, Telus World of Science, Bissell Centre and the Canadian Cancer Society where she helped each organization to meet its financial goals. Cathy began fundraising for 4H when she was 10 and living on the family farm east of Camrose; with that background, we know she is a great fit for our organization.

    Elisa Irlam, GDMI, Director of Client Services

    ElisaElisa's dream of establishing an Assistance Dog School in Alberta began with training in Palm Springs, California in 1988. She completed her Certified Guide Dog Mobility Instructor at Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind in 1993. Returning to Edmonton with her new family, Elisa co-founded Western Guide Dog Foundation, now known as Dogs with Wings. To this day, Elisa's motivation remains the same: to see the difference our Assistance Dogs can make in the lives of our clients.

    Maria Illes, PhD, GDMI, Director of Training

    MariaDr. Illes holds a Masters degree in Educational Programming and a PhD in History from the University of Comenius. Following a teaching career of 12 years in Slovakia, Maria qualified as a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor. She worked in the field in Slovakia prior to relocating to Edmonton with her family in 1999. Since her arrival, Maria has been training and placing dogs in all of the program areas offered by DWW. She has also conducted Puppy Class, working with our volunteers. Maria is fluent in 4 languages.

    Kerri Davis, Volunteer Coordinator, Edmonton

    KerriKerri has joined us after completing her BA in Sociology from MacEwan University, Edmonton. In addition to her full time studies, Kerri coordinated volunteers for a local animal rescue organization and was a Career Peer Advisor to her fellow students at MacEwan. In her new role with DWW, she is responsible for our volunteer foster families in northern Alberta. Welcome, Kerri!

    Michelle Douglas, Volunteer Coordinator, Calgary

    MichelleMom of two boys, a Pyrenees named Elizabeth and DWW dogs Tiko & Zaya living in Calgary. Originally from Toronto, Michelle moved to Alberta in 2003. Michelle was a buyer in the fashion industry for over 10 years. Michelle has a degree in English and a way with words - her excitement, energy, and personality give her the ability to get people to do things that they didn't know they wanted to. Michelle is the perfect fit for the DWW team because of a combination of her love of dogs and her past experiences chairing committees, overseeing planning, and working with a broad range of people and volunteers, as well as her belief in DWW's mission to increase integration and independence for Albertans with disabilities.

    Moira Wegner, Autism Dog Instructor, Edmonton

    MoiraMoira fell in love with Dogs with Wings in 2008 when she became a volunteer puppy raiser to DWW Freedom. She saw the incredible effect service dogs have when Freedom graduated as a Facility dog. DWW Freedom now works in the school system with a Chartered Psychologist, touching many children's lives. Moira joined the DWW staff in 2009 as an apprentice trainer, and in the spring of 2013 became an accredited Autism Service Dog Instructor. In her private life, Moira enjoys spending time with her husband, 3 boys, 2 Labradors, Kia and Shadow, and Gimli, the cat. You can almost certainly find her with her dogs at the off leash park with a latte in her hand. (A skinny vanilla bean just in case you want to know!)

    Caitlin Mungham-Bonaldo, Breeding Coordinator

    CaitlinCaitlin joined Dogs with Wings in 2015 as our Kennel Manager and quickly took over canine health and breeding responsibilities. After moving back to Ontario in December 2016 with her new husband and her chocolate lab, Ares, Caitlin continues to manage Dogs with Wings breeding programs while taking on the challenges of ABC Breeding Cooperative’s genetic database.

    Kim Jeannotte, Trainer

    KimKim has been teaching in our satellite program since May 2013 and is committed to fostering secure relationships between canines and their human partners, making her a natural fit with Dogs with Wings. Kim is constantly upgrading her skills and is in the process of completing a Bond-Based Choice teaching program in the United States. Kim has also completed at 2 year apprentice trainer program in Calgary where she resides.

    Taylor Eastman, Apprentice Trainer

    TaylorBorn and raised in Alberta, Taylor Eastman has joined DWW in the spring of 2016 as an apprentice trainer after gaining experience in the pet animal world. Her ready enthusiasm and quick smile will surely lead to her success in mastering all aspects of our organization. For the next while, Taylor will be focused on our Edmonton puppy raising program.

    Rebecca Hayes-Copeland, Trainer, Grande Prairie

    RebeccaRebecca Hayes-Copeland, a Grande Prairie local, started her business Partners Naturally in 2006 after 6 years working as a mobile Professional Dog Trainer. For the last 15 years, Rebecca has also volunteered her time by leading 4H canine clubs. This role led to becoming Satellite Puppy Leader for Dogs with Wings in Grande Prairie. Rebecca spending time helping service dog puppies and their foster families through that critical first year of training and socializing on their way to becoming certified service dogs.

    Erin Tilley, Health and Kennel Coordinator

    ErinErin joined Dogs with Wings in early November 2016 and is excited to take on her role as the Health and Kennel Coordinator. Erin graduated from the University of Guelph with an Honors Degree in Animal Biology and is thrilled to apply her knowledge in the DWW world! Growing up in Southern Ontario, Erin is going to have to get used to the cold and snowy Edmonton winters, but is ecstatic about being so close to the beautiful mountains! In her spare time she loves to curl up on the couch with a cup of Earl Grey tea, her cat Scooter and a good book or movie.

  • Dogs with Wings is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors which provides fund development and strategic oversight to the Executive Director. The Board meets regularly and brings a wealth of community-based experience to the table.

    Board of Directors:

    Toby Ramsden, President
    Rob McTavish, Vice-President
    Janice Kent, Treasurer
    Gail Courtnage, Director
    Candice Laws, Director
    Teresa Boudreau, Director
    Darcy Pacholok, Director
    Jenny Zhai, Director

    To contact Dogs with Wings' Board of Directors, please email board@dogswithwings.ca.


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