We are so fortunate to have an amazing staff team and Board of Directors at Dogs with Wings! Our staff team is a group of dedicated, knowledgeable, passionate, and kind women who are making a difference every day in our community, to spread and enact our mission of fostering independence and integration for individuals living with disabilities. Keep scrolling to learn more about our staff and the work that they do at Dogs with Wings!
Meet Doreen, our Executive Director!
Doreen has been at Dogs with Wings for three years! As our Executive Director, Doreen is responsible for following the strategic direction set by our Board of Directors. Doreen oversees the administration, programming and strategic plan of the organization, and is involved in fundraising, marketing, and community outreach! Prior to officially working for DWW, Doreen acted as a fund development consultant for our Board of Directors. Doreen came to us with a career in the non-profit sector of 31 years! Doreen’s educational background is in Psychology and Business Administration. Before joining us at DWW, she worked for The Stop Abuse in Families (SAIF) Society, The Winifred Stewart Association, Catholic Social Services, and the Canadian Diabetes Association.
Eighteen years ago, Doreen stumbled upon the field of fund development and fell in love! Ever since then, she has been a professional fundraiser with her CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) designation, which less than 200 fundraisers in Alberta hold. Her year to date fundraising total is over 21 million dollars. Wow!
Throughout Doreen’s career, she has always admired Dogs with Wings in the community. Doreen’s youngest daughter has Cerebral Palsy and it was her dream for her to one day have a Service Dog for when she attends university. She never imagined at the time that she would be working at this incredible organization. Doreen loves that every day is different and unique. She sees the difference that we make in our community and the passion of the staff, volunteers, Board Members, and donors. For her, it is an honour and privilege to work with such devoted people. And… she loves the whelping home visits and snuggly brand new puppies! That’s a job perk for sure!
Outside of Dogs with Wings, Doreen loves to golf! If she could leave it all behind and join the LPHA, she would! Doreen also loves music and plays the guitar, accordion, and some piano! She also loves watercolour painting and spending time with her family. Her four children are mostly grown up and to enjoy them at this age is fabulous!
Meet Knut, our Ambassador Dog!
Knut has worked at Dogs with Wings as our Ambassador Dog for seven months! Knut’s job is to help spread our mission in our community. He attends corporate and fundraising events, attends training of our staff, volunteers, and clients and represents Dogs with Wings in the community. Knut has been involved with Dogs with Wings for his whole life! He was whelped, puppy raised, and adult raised all by the same family, our Instructor & Training Lead, Veronica and her family. Knut lives full time with Veronica and her family and his fur-brother Theo, the Golden Retriever. Outside of Knut’s job, he loves learning new skills and tricks, naps on the bed, wrestling with his brother Theo, being carried like a baby, snuggles and giving kisses, eating bananas, and running around in the backyard or at the dog park. You can keep up with Knut by following him on his Instagram account (@dww_knut)!
Meet Elisa, our Community Engagement Coordinator!
Elisa has worked at Dogs with Wings for 24 years! She is our co-founder and in her journey at Dogs with Wings, she has found herself in many different departments. This year she has transitioned to become our Community Engagement Coordinator, where she is responsible for our accreditation standards and processes, and she supports the Fund Development Team with dog sponsorships and donor stewardship and relationships. Elisa is a certified Guide Dog & Mobility Instructor, but she prefers working with people rather than dogs now! Elisa loves being a part of making a significant impact on someone’s life and loves that she can do it with dogs! She could not imagine doing anything else in her life and has found this to be a very rewarding career. In her spare time, Elisa loves to travel, shop, and wear flip flops!
Meet Emily, our Client Services Manager!
Emily has worked at Dogs with Wings for 3.5 years. Emily began her journey at Dogs with Wings as a practicum student in Human Ecology at the University of Alberta back in 2017. During this time, Emily fell in love with Dogs with Wings and was offered to stay on. Emily never thought she would find a career in the Service Dog industry but has loved every minute of it! In Emily’s role, she is responsible for our graduated clients in all five programs and our applicants on our waitlist. In addition, Emily runs our social media platforms and is the voice behind everything that you read and see on social media.
Emily came to Dogs with Wings with a background in working with children and adults with Autism and other disabilities and has worked in the Cosmetic industry for over 8 years. In 2019, Emily completed her Master’s Degree from the University of Alberta with her research titled “The Influence of Autism Service Dogs on Families’ Everyday Lives.” We’ve loved seeing her implement her findings from her research into her work with our clients and applicants! Emily is also a registered Professional Human Ecologist (PHEc) and has held this designation for two years. Outside of Dogs with Wings, you’ll find Emily hanging out with her Border Collie, Seamus, working part-time in the cosmetics industry, reading a good book, and helping out in a volunteer capacity on our Gala Committee. Emily also runs and organizes a nutrition program for kids, called Sprouts, at the Southwest Edmonton Farmers’ Market from May – October each year.
Meet Amanda, our Office Manager!
Amanda has worked at Dogs with Wings for two months! Amanda is the smiling voice you hear on the other end when you phone Dogs with Wings. She is responsible for a variety of administrative and office management duties, such as budgeting, human resources, inventory, supply ordering, answering our phone and our general email, and runs our website! Amanda comes to us with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree with a major in accounting. Although Amanda has only been at Dogs with Wings for two months, she already loves it! She is grateful to be a part of an organization that plays such an important role in the community. For Amanda, going to work every day is fun when she is surrounded by the caring staff at DWW and, of course, the dogs! Fun fact! Amanda was an all-star cheerleader for 6 years and competed on the Team Canada cheerleading team. Now she is a retired cheerleader who coaches at Junior High Schools!
Meet Maggie, our Admin Assistant!
Maggie has worked ay Dogs with Wings for seven months. Maggie started as our Admin & Fund Development Assistant and transitioned into her new role in February. Maggie assists the Executive Director, fund development team, and volunteer department with their admin and research tasks. Maggie comes to DWW with a background in office management and she is a retired police officer. Maggie was a police constable in the UK for 25 years, where she obtained many different qualifications including interviewing victims of crimes, family liaison for serious crimes, video interviewing techniques, intelligence management, emergency procedures management for major incidents, and police oriented communication! After leaving the police, Maggie worked as a Play Therapist at a children’s hospital in London and moved to Alberta in 2004 where she began working in non-profits, like the Stop Abuse in Families (SAIF) Society.
Maggie loves working at Dogs with Wings because she works with an awesome team of co-workers, and fantastic volunteers, and she’s able to help impact someone’s life forever. And she loves the cute puppies! Fun facts about Maggie! Maggie knows how to drive backwards at full speed on a skid pan, is a huge Rod Stewart fan, she has an English accent, she’s a big hockey fan, and enjoys reading English light fiction and autobiographies!
Meet Dayna, our Volunteer Coordinator (Edmonton & Grande Prairie)!
Dayna has worked at Dogs with Wings for almost one year! Dayna began at Dogs with Wings as a volunteer Kennel Assistant and was hired on full time as our Kennel & Facility Coordinator. In March, Dayna transitioned into becoming our Volunteer Coordinator. Dayna is in charge of all things volunteers, from recruiting and hiring, to supporting along their journeys, and everything in between! Dayna has many years of experiencing working with volunteers and her background in working in rehabilitation services and her certification in dog behaviour and training methodology make her a perfect fit for Dogs with Wings! Dayna loves working at Dogs with Wings because she gets to work with the two things she loves most, people and dogs! In her spare time, Dayna is kept busy by her three dogs (Finnegan, Ozzy, and Lucy), her two cats (Bilbo & Sassy), and her Gecko (Lizzy). Her love of animals is real!
Meet Michelle, our Calgary Volunteer Coordinator!
Michelle has worked at Dogs with Wings for five and a half years! As our Volunteer Coordinator in Calgary, Michelle recruits and hires puppy raisers and boarding homes for our Calgary program and coordinates events in the Calgary area for community awareness and fundraising! Michelle comes to DWW with a Bachelor of Arts in English and prior to working at DWW she was a fashion buyer in Toronto and Calgary! Michelle loves working at Dogs with Wings! She considers herself lucky to have a job where she gets to work with “wee” puppies and see the excitement when volunteers meet their foster pups for the first time and when she watches those relationships grow and evolve! Michelle loves seeing the puppies develop their skills and loves watching their personalities develop. Her favourite part is watching her 8-week-old foster puppies eventually be placed with a DWW client. For her, there is nothing more rewarding as watching a pup fulfil their destiny and give our clients their wings to independence! Fun fact! Michelle used to be a very competitive equestrian rider, specializing in 3-day eventing and cross-country trials!
Meet Heather, our Health & Breeding Manager!
Heather has worked at Dogs with Wings for almost two years! Heather is responsible for the health and welfare of our in-training puppies and dogs and monitors their overall health and veterinary needs. Heather also managers our breeding program, including our seven breeding dogs and is involved in the selection of breeders for DWW. Heather also oversees our whelping program and works with our volunteer whelping homes to take care of our breeding females and their puppies! Heather loves working for Dogs with Wings, in an environment where she can share her passion to work with animals and to be part of creating a lasting impact on those in our community.
Heather loves animals, especially dogs! Her love of animals began when she was a child, growing up on a small, hobby farm with bearded collies. After receiving her diploma, Heather began her career as a Vet Technician working in emergency care and in small animal practices and owned a pet spa and boutique, grooming cats and dogs. After working in this career for 20 years, Heather moved from Eastern Canada to Edmonton and worked as the Operations Supervisor at the Edmonton Humane Society for five years before coming to DWW! At home, Heather’s love for animals is clear! Heather and her family have seven pets! Seven! They have two dogs, two cats, two parrots, and an iguana!
Meet Veronica, our Instructor & Training Lead!
Veronica has worked at Dogs with Wings for four years! Veronica is our Instructor on staff and oversees our training departments in Edmonton and Calgary and works with her five trainers and our foster families. Veronica trains the advanced dogs and places our Autism, Service, Facility, and Companion Dogs with our clients. Veronica leads Team Trainings and provides follow up care to clients and placed DWW dogs. Veronica came to DWW with a background in training and showing Golden Retrievers and Pugs. She showed her dogs in obedience and won the Junior National three times and was Runner Up one year. Veronica has a degree in Sociology with a major in Criminology, from the University of Alberta and received her Instructor title last year! Veronica loves her job because it combines her two passions, training dogs and helping people! Her favourite part is being able to work closely with our volunteers and clients. She loves when she sees the bond develop between the dogs and their volunteers, and then their clients.
Veronica’s life has always been about dogs. She has been in whelping boxes before she could walk and she owned her very first dog when she was 11! Veronica currently has a Golden Retriever, named Theo, and DWW’s Ambassador Dog, Knut!
Meet Taylor, our Apprentice Instructor!
Taylor has worked at Dogs with Wings for four years! Taylor works with our adult dogs to train their advanced skills, and shadows and works with Veronica, our Instructor, to place Assistance Dogs with clients. Taylor came to Dogs with Wings with a background in dog training at Petsmart where she trained pet dogs for four years and worked at a boarding and training facility before she landed at Dogs with Wings. In total, Taylor has 8 years of experience training dogs! Taylor’s favourite part of working at DWW is being able to watch the dogs grow up and seeing the difference that they make in the lives of our clients. She loves seeing the client and dog teams take on the world! Outside of DWW, Taylor has three pet dogs! Hemi, her eight-year-old Husky, Odin, her six-year-old Poodle, and Reign, her three-year-old Labrador Retriever. In her spare time, she takes agility classes with Reign!
Meet Chihiro, our Edmonton Puppy Leader!
Chihiro has worked at Dogs with Wings for two years and is responsible for coordinating the training of our Edmonton puppies from when they turn eight weeks old to when they leave the puppy program at 16 months old. Chihiro works with our volunteer Puppy Raisers to support the training and learning of our puppies in the second stage of their journeys! Chihiro loves working at Dogs with wings to help those in the disability community who need our help. She loves dogs, but helping people is where her passion lies! Chihiro is a current student of the Karen Pryor Academy and loves travelling to new places. Although her favourite part of travelling is coming home to her two dogs!
Meet Tia, one of our Trainers!
Tia has worked at Dogs with Wings for 2.5 years! She started at Dogs with Wings as our Admin & Fund Development Assistant and as of this year has joined our training program! As a Trainer, Tia works with our adult and young dogs to help to refine their skills both at Dogs with Wings and in public spaces. Tia’s favourite part of working at Dogs with Wings is seeing the clients meet their Assistance Dogs for the very first time and seeing it all come together at our Annual Graduation Ceremony! Outside of Dogs with Wings, you’ll find Tia cracking sarcastic jokes and comments, and watching movies. Some of her favourite movies include Meet me in St Louis, Singin’ in the Rain, Casablanca, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, It’s a Wonderful Life, and all Disney movies!
Meet Stephanie, our Enrichment Trainer!
Stephanie has worked at Dogs with Wings for two years! She recently became our Enrichment Trainer and was our Kennel Assistant before. As an enrichment trainer, Stephanie does body conditioning with our dogs, provides mental and physical stimulation to our dogs, cleans and sanitizes our kennels and equipment, and works with our Instructor and trainers to take our dogs to off-leash dog parks and on neighbourhood walks. Stephanie loves working at Dogs with Wings because she enjoys seeing all the dogs with their different personalities, especially when they learn new skills! She also loves the joy that they bring to our clients' lives. In her spare time, Stephanie volunteers at the Edmonton Humane Society, hangs out with her two cats, and loves TV. Her favourite things to watch are Harry Potter, Disney, or anything with superheroes!
Meet Dana, our Calgary Puppy Leader!
Dana has worked at Dogs with Wings for just over one year and was a volunteer puppy raiser before that! Dana trains our puppy raisers and their puppies and teaches weekly training classes in various locations throughout Calgary and area. Dana is responsible for teaching our volunteers how to reach their puppies basic obedience, health and grooming, appropriate behaviours, foundational skills and commands, and public access skills. Dana and her puppies also attend different community events and assist in fundraising initiatives! Dana loves being able to help train, guide, and facilitate our puppy raisers and DWW puppies to becoming an Assistance Dog for a deserving person in the future. Dana has experienced this first hand with her second puppy, Jagg, who graduated as an Autism Service Dog last spring.
Prior to joining our staff team, Dana was a stay at home parent to her two girls, and before that, she was a flight attendant and commercial pilot! Dana loves to spend time with her current foster puppy, DWW Razz and her other dog, former DWW Ember. She enjoys spending time with her husband and her daughters and loves to ride horses, go snowmobiling, and hiking with the dogs.
Meet Rebecca, our Grande Prairie Puppy Leader!
Rebecca has worked for Dogs with Wings for eight years! In her position, Rebecca works with our Grande Prairie puppy raisers to train and raise our puppies for the first year of our program! Rebecca enjoys working at Dogs with Wings because she believes in the program and the fact that we do not charge for the dogs for our clients who need them. Rebecca believes that giving back to the community is extremely important and she feels that she can use her skills in a worthwhile manner. She also loves working with puppies and their people!
Rebecca has been training dogs professionally since 2000 and is the owner/operator of Partners Naturally in Grande Prairie. Rebecca has various certificates for training, ranging from behaviour to sports. She competes with her own dogs in agility, obedience, rally-0, dock diving, and for fun she does trick training, scent detection, and tracking! Fun fact! Rebecca shares her home with four dogs, 3 cats, 2 kids, 2 horses, and a husband! She has also clicker trained her horses! So cool!
Introducing our newest staff member, Jeffrey!