Kyria Henry – Founder, Executive Director

Credentials:
Assistance Dog Trainer – Fully Credentialed Master Trainer
Chief ITT Instructor

Kyria Henry was raised with her father’s German Shepherds, and successfully convinced her family to “cross-over” to the Golden Retriever breed, receiving her first puppy when she was 10 years old. Since that time, Kyria has been enveloped in the world of dog training, dabbling in disciplines such as advanced obedience, agility, rally, behavior modification, and scent work; but her true love and expertise is Assistance Dogs.

More About Kyria Henry

Kyria founded paws4people in 1999. During middle school, high school, and college, Kyria worked with her certified Therapeutic Facility and Educational Facility Dogs in nursing homes, hospitals, and special education classrooms. Kyria graduated from West Virginia University summa cum laude from the Honors College with Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, Religious Studies, and Speech Pathology and Audiology, with a specialization in Disability Studies. She then attended Bergin University of Canine Studies, earning a certification in Service Dog Education. While managing multiple Assistance Dog Training Programs, Kyria completed a Master’s Degree from Liberty University in Human Services-Marriage and Family Counseling, during which she assisted in the development of cutting-edge utilization of Psychiatric Medical Alert Assistance Dogs as adjunct therapeutic interventions within Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Exposure Therapy techniques.

Kyria was a 2010 Glamour Magainze Woman of the Year finalist; the winner of the 2011 IKEA Life Improvement contest; the winner of WILMA Magazine’s Women to Watch in 2014; the National Points of Light award in 2015; and the 2017 Coastal Entrepreneur Award – Non-profit in 2017.

Kyria serves as Executive Director of paws4people. She is the Program Director and Instructor of the University of North Carolina Wilmington Assistance Dog Training Program, the first and only comprehensive Assistance Dog academic certificate program at a state university. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry.

Most importantly, she is mom to her Ambassador Assistance Dog, WYATT, and her Scent Detection Facility Dog In-Training, HOBBS.

Terry Henry – Deputy Executive Director Operations & Finance

Credentials:
Assistance Dog Trainer – Fully Credentialed Master Trainer
Chief ITT Instructor

Terry began training dogs over forty years ago. His early focus was with German Shepherds and advanced obedience training. In the late 1990s he was introduced to Golden Retrievers and quickly fell in love with the breed. Terry served in the Military from 1972 to 1977 and from 1979 to 1987. Since his discharge, Terry has battled the symptoms of Complex/Chronic Post Traumatic Stress (CPTS) and Moral Injury.

More About Terry Henry

In 1999, he began training his own Psychiatric Medical Alert Assistance Dog to help mitigate his CPTS symptoms. From 2002 to 2006, Terry and his Assistance Dogs worked in several special needs classrooms, where he developed training protocols and methodologies for Assistance Dog utilization within the special education classroom environment. There, his Dogs worked with hundreds of special needs students, helping them to exceed their Individual Educational Plan requirements utilizing animal-assisted instruction.

In 2009, after a decade of training and working with his Psychiatric Medical Alert Assistance Dogs, he turned his attention to helping Veterans with PTS. He developed training protocols and methodologies wherein a Psychiatric Medical Alert Assistance Dog is used as an adjunct medical device that enables each Client to manage his or her PTS symptom set. Terry has supervised the placement of every paws4vets Psychiatric Medical Alert Assistance Dog with a Client since 2008. He has also expanded the utilization of this unique Psychiatric Medical Alert Assistance Dog/adjunct psychological therapeutic intervention application to other psychological diagnoses such as: Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Dissociative Amnesia (DA), Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), and most importantly, PTS resulting from Sexual Trauma (ST).

Terry was honored as ION TV’s Everyday Hero in 2015; and was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award in 2016.

Cece McConnell – Deputy Executive Director Training Programs and Client Services

Credentials:
Assistance Dog Trainer – Fully Credentialed Master Trainer
Chief ITT Instructor

Cece and her husband, Nate share their home and their hearts Facility Dog, EMBER, Breeding Ambassador Dog, SHILOH, and McConnell Household Mascot, Granger.

More About Cece McConnell

Cece was born and raised in South Carolina, where she inherited her parent’s strong work ethic and deep-rooted Southern Values. For many of us, Cece is a pseudo mother figure of paws4people. She encourages staff, students, advocates, inmates, and clients alike, to figure out the problem and work it through toward the desired solution. She is fierce, yet kind-hearted, and above all else, Cece is honest!

As our Deputy Executive Director Training Programs and Client Services, Cece has her hands full. She not only oversees the paws4prisons program, working closely with the WV DOC Administration, but she also helps with the training and instructing of students and clients working towards their final certification in Wilmington, NC. When Cece is not coordinating training she helps paws4people Advocates ensure clients are continuing to follow the process to fulfill their goals.

While Cece has the ability to give some of the most sound advice, her personal motto is really something that rings true for our program, “What strikes the oyster, doesn’t damage the pearl.” Even though we cannot control every aspect of our lives, nothing can prevent us from aspiring to be our best selves. Cece really sets the bar high for paws4people and we are forever grateful to have her on our team!

Jill Rosenblum – Corporate General Counsel

Jill earned a Juris Doctor (JD) from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Policy and Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.

More About Jill Rosenblum

Jill was a hospital attorney at a major academic medical center, and has been in private practice with large and small firms. As a result, Jill’s experience is broad and extensive.

Jill met Terry for lunch on May 27, 2014, met Kyria shortly after that, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Danielle Cockerham – Deputy Executive Director – Public Awareness & Information Technology

Credentials:
Assistance Dog Trainer – Public Access
Chief ITT Instructor

Danielle shares her life with her husband, Tommy, a remarkably hardworking young man, as well as their personal (pet) dog Samson and her Ambassador Dog, WATSON.

More About Danielle Cockerham

She is an incredibly dedicated young woman with a knack to get things done. She is soft spoken, yet observant, and of course a huge dog lover. While moving to Wilmington and buying her first car have been huge accomplishments she achieved on her own, Danielle still accredits her grandmother as the person who helped shape her into the woman she is today.

Upon moving to Wilmington, Danielle enrolled at the University of North Carolina Wilmington where she signed up for the UNCW Service Dog Training Program pilot program. She admits she has been hooked ever since. After completing all four classes, she stayed with the Organization as a volunteer and was hired in the Fall of 2013.

Danielle does a little bit of everything for the organization; from helping the founders and organizers plan day-to-day activities to planning and coordinating large-scale events across the East Coast. As a Senior Staff Member, Danielle participates in UNCW class outings and ITT’s as an instructor. She is humbly patient with both clients, students, and dogs alike; while keeping the tasks at hand and achieving the goals set forth. She describes herself perfectly as an organizer and a problem-solver. Danielle can meticulously plan ahead, while allowing enough flexibility for last minute changes that so often occur.

She has a passion to grow with paws4people and wants to be remembered most as someone who made a difference for those who needed it.

Megan Laughinghouse – Executive Administrator

Megan and her husband Will, share a home with their two beloved dogs.

More About Megan Laughinghouse

She discovered her passion for volunteering after returning to school, simply in an effort to fill her time. When she learned of a UNCW program that offered Assistance Dog Training, she claims no other schools would do. “I would have loved to go to NC State, but they don’t have these dogs!” Within the first week or so of Class 1 she knew she had to focus her energy on helping this organization. Megan witnessed her own dogs help she and Will during their struggles, but witnessing paws4people Assistance Dogs transform the lives of people on the brink of giving up, made her realize she had found her calling. Megan began volunteering in March and was welcomed to the paws4people family in June.

Megan helps with marketing and event planning, while keeping everyone informed with the bi-weekly newsletter. She has also gone completely out of her comfort zone and began helping Renee with newborn puppy care duties.

Megan loves all dogs, but will admit she has a weakness for black dogs. When she learned of MATTIS’s unique condition she jumped into the emergency puppy caretaker assistant role. She may never be able to stomach the birthing process, but she is eager to use her other strengths and experiences to grow with paws4people.

Samantha Cleary – Director, Puppy Development Centers

Credentials:
Assistance Dog Trainer – Puppy Development & Public Access
ITT Instructor

Samantha is a vivacious young lady with energy to spare. As a former college athlete, it is only fitting that she found a career that keeps her on the go.

More About Samantha Cleary

She stumbled upon the Assistance Dog Training Program at the end of her junior year at UNCW. After completing classes one and two, and accepting the position as the Puppy Care Coordinator for the Puppy Development Center, Samantha says she knew she was hooked. She completed classes three and four and joined the paws4people team full-time in September 2016.

Samantha is our Director, Puppy Development Centers. She thinks working for paws4people is one of the most rewarding jobs she has ever had. Few other jobs offer the opportunity to help people get back to a better quality of life by using dogs.

Samantha is also working toward becoming an ITT Instructor. Samantha encourages clients to be patient. She says, “I know they are excited to bond, work with and take their dog home, but it takes time.” She truly adds a youthful flare to our team.

Samantha’s parents are her inspiration and their values are evident in the person she is today. While she admits procrastination is one of her biggest professional challenges, Sam strives to bring success to every aspect of the duties she takes on.

Ayla Kamen – UNCW/SDTP Program Assistant & Trainer

Credentials

ITT Instructor In Training 

Ayla is a hardworking woman who is always eager for new experiences. Its no surprise she found a career that keeps her on her toes! After moving here from New York to escape the cold weather, she immediately fell in love with Wilmington. She’s dedicated her life to the well-being of dogs in every area she could find, working in grooming, training, and veterinary industries.

More About Ayla Kamen

Searching for the right fit, she found herself at crossroads and decided to attend UNCW to attain a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. During her last semester, Ayla found an internship with paws4people and jumped at the opportunity.

While juggling work and school, she realized she was hooked when she attended her first ITT. “I was searching for a way to have a part of something bigger. The first time I watched the bond and connection these dogs have with their clients, I knew this is exactly where I want to be”.

Ayla continued to volunteer after graduation and was welcomed into paws4people in June.

Renee Johnson – Birthing & Whelping Master

Credentials:
Assistance Dog Handler

Renee grew up with parents who set a strong foundation for her to always push herself harder. After serving in the Navy, and raising two amazing children single handedly, Renee hit a bump in the road that would forever change her life.

More About Renee Johnson

She was diagnosed with Guillian Barre Syndrome, followed by a cancer diagnosis. The disease had the greatest impact on her life because it affected her ability to walk and her overall mobility. She says, “It really opened my eyes to a world of needing other people for help with everyday things like walking. I think the cancer also played a role in this as well because I found myself having to trust and depend on people for help when I was so used to just taking care of everything myself.”

When Renee found paws4people she knew this organization was where she could be most useful. She has volunteered all her life, but with paws4people, Renee gets see her work in action. She takes her work seriously and appreciates being a valued member of an organization “that is something bigger than myself”.

Renee eats, sleeps, and breathes paws4people since 2012. In fact, her Assistance Dog TRAVIS and Breeder Ambassador AZALEA are the first things she wakes up to most mornings, followed by day old future Assistance Puppies in early stages of training.

This summer Renee, embarked on an organizational first by caring for newborn MATTIS during his most crucial time. Renee alerted the team when she discovered that MATTIS had trouble suckling. Along with the discover, Renee and a small team took on the responsibility of round the clock care for the infant pup. Without her keen eye, and total dedication MATTIS may not have had a chance to be the energetic boy he is growing up to be.

Dawn Richard Cook – MA, LPC Director of pMET

Credentials:
Assistance Dog Handler

Dawn and her husband live with Facility Dog, RUPP. She believes being the child of a military veteran had an impact on her life. Among other things it taught her one of the greatest lessons in life is to be open to and respectful of diversity.

More About Dawn Richard Cook

As the paws4people Medical Evaluation Team (pMET) Director, Dawn has a chance to work with client’s who are frustrated with the way their lives are going. Her role can best be described as an Advocate, Liaison, and Helper.

She chose to begin volunteering as a way to give back to the community. Dawn couldn’t find a more fulfilling position than one that improves the lives of others while sharing her love for dogs. She firmly believes everyone should let their faith be bigger than their fears, and she tries to live by this motto in her own life.

While she may think of herself as quirky for her fondness of odd over even numbers, it is her desire to make a real difference and impact on the lives of others that make us proud to have her on our team.

Victoria Willetts – pMET Case Manager

Credentials:
Assistance Dog Trainer – Public Access

More About Victoria Willetts

Victoria became involved with paws4people through UNCW’s Assistance Dog Training Program (ADTP) and assisted in the placement of her first dog, TRASK, with a veteran client. She continued her education and received her master’s in psychology from UNCW with AIRLIE at her side. AIRLIE was a staple in the research lab and sparked her interest in applying assistance dogs to work with victims and child witnesses of domestic violence who experience post traumatic stress.

Since, Victoria has focused on applying her degrees in psychology to working with clients and their dogs in training while continuing to assist with training numerous dogs for public access. As a member of the paws4people Medical Evaluation Team (pMET), Victoria is able to apply her knowledge of psychopathology and co-morbid disorders while assisting the organization with new clients and their treatment teams.

Victoria and NORAH are attending The University of North Carolina at Charlotte where Victoria has been accepted as a doctoral candidate studying posttraumatic growth and interpersonal relationships. Victoria and NORAH work as a team to help individuals who have experienced traumatic events along their road to recovery. In their free time, they visit local nursing homes, libraries, churches, and schools, giving elderly adults and young children the chance to experience the healing powers of a service dog.

In her spare time, Victoria furthers her education in classical dressage and spoils her fur babies, assistance dogs in training, and her rescue dog, Livvy.

Cathy Demeroto – Relationship Development Officer

Cathy and her family wake up to demands of two sweet Golden Retrievers named LOONA and Daisy.

More About Cathy Demeroto

Cathy is a Relationship Development Officer and oversees our Puppy Development Center for the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Cathy received her Juris Doctor with Honors from The George Washington University and her BA from Boston College graduating Magna Cum Laude.

Cathy has extensive experience in non-profit management, special education law, public policy, organizational development, and fundraising. Not only does Cathy supervise and train new volunteers, but she also breeds Goldens and donates them to paws4people.

Like so many of us, Cathy joined the paws4people team because she wanted to be a part of something that could make the world a better place. She is a well-balanced person who strives to instill greatness in her children and believes in standing up for what you believe in.

Bailey Moore – Director, Special Programming

Credentials:
Assistance Dog Trainer – Puppy Development & Public Access
ITT Instructor

Bailey is a vibrant young woman who, like so many of us, started as a student in the UNCW SDTP, then a volunteer, and has recently joined paws4people team as a part-time staffer.

More About Bailey Moore

She has spent the past several years with paws4people, and can honestly say she get out of bed for the organization, or the Dog she’s training rather, since they are very insistent on a prompt breakfast. For Bailey, working for a non-profit is very rewarding because she is able to improve the lives of other people while working with some life-changing Dogs.

If she were to describe her job to someone, she would say, “I help teach students how wonderful Service Dogs are and how much they can help people in need!” She recently achieved a major milestone watching a Dog she worked with for many, many months as a Puppy and then again as a Big Dog earn his Black Vest. This was Bailey’s greatest professional achievement yet!

Through her role at paws4people, Bailey hopes to continue to grow as an individual, making good use of her favorite quote, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” She wants to really make sure that she is motivating and empowering the students she works with so that they are able to reach the same successes that the program was able to help her attain.

We are so happy to have Bailey on the team. We have watched her grow through the program and have seen her confidence blossom.

Randy Powers – Relationship Development Officer

Credentials:
Assistance Dog Handler

Randy first discovered the paws4people organization/family in March 2016. In April 2016 he became a Volunteer Community Liaison for paws4people and shortly thereafter a client. Randy attends many fundraising events throughout the year, but his primary focus is during the Combined Federal Campaign (Sept – Dec), when his goal is to visit as many Government agency fund raising events as possible and to share the paws4vets mission.

More About Randy Powers

As a child growing up, Randy’s family were snowbirds and moved from Gaylord MI, to Bradenton, FL with the change of the seasons. After graduating high school he attended Community College before enlisting in the United States Air Force in 1982. His first duty station was RAF Mildenhall, England, where he met and married his wife, Donna. After a 4-year assignment, Randy received his first stateside assignment to Nellis AFB, Las Vegas, Nevada. After serving another four-year assignment at Nellis AFB, Randy Honorably Discharged from the USAF to pursue a career in Civil Service, U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP) where he was able to spend more time with his wife and two children.

Shortly after beginning his career with the FBOP, Randy joined the Army National Guard (ARN). In November 1990, after only one weekend drill with the ANG MP unit, he was activated and sent to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm to set up and activate/operate Enemy Prisoner of War Camps. Additionally, his Unit performed a full range of military police operations, served as customs agents during redeployment of forces and became involved in supporting humanitarian relief operations for refugees and repatriated Enemy Prisoners of War.

After returning home from ODS, Randy Honorably Discharged from the ARN to return to his family and a full-time FBOP career as a Correctional Officer. It was not long before Randy began volunteering in the community, both as a soccer coach for his children’s soccer teams and mentor in the “Big Brother Program.” Randy’s military training, supervisory experience and people skills, coupled with his willingness to relocate to FBOP locations in other Stateside locations, helped him to further his career and achieve positions of increasing responsibility to include: Supervisory, Inmate Systems Manager, USP Atlanta, GA; Inmate Systems Specialist, FBOP Central Office Washington, DC; Inmate Systems Manager, United States Penitentiary, Allenwood, PA, Associate Warden, Metropolitan Correctional Center, New York; Inmate Systems Management, Assistant Administrator, FBOP Central Office, and Chief of Field Operations, Privatization Management, FBOP Central Office. Randy retired from the FBOP in 2012 with 30+ years of honorable Federal service.

Shortly after being introduced to paws4people, Randy knew he had found his purpose post-retirement. He is in his element when he is working with his wife, Donna, and his Assistance Dog, MORGAN, to raise awareness and promote paws4people, paws4prisons/paws4vets; three programs that he knows changes, and even saves lives each, and every day!

Carol Mitchell – Client Advocate

Credentials:
Assistance Dog Handler

Carol is a dedicated mother of two adult sons, Rob and Jeff. She enjoys spending her time with her boys and her husband, Doug, of 47 years. Carol joined paws4people through paws4vets. She credits paws4vets for saving her son’s life. She says, “There is no way to adequately thank someone for the gift of your child’s life.”

More About Carol Mitchell

While Carol modestly describes herself as a helper, the passion she brings to her position as a Client Advocate means so much more. They share their home with Jeff’s retired Assistance Dog TAZZIE and his current Assistance Dog, AUSTIN. It is very obvious that helping veterans through a similar time as Jeff experienced has truly became their entire family’s mission.

She had a hard time giving in at first, but encourages others to take a leap of faith. This program helped her son when everything else seemed to fail. Carol believes this is what makes her position as a Client Advocate so natural. She can provide others with insight and understanding as new families enter the program.

As a successful Realtor, Carol enjoyed contributing to her family’s household and taking some pressure off her husband, Doug. She is a driven individual who is always looking for new opportunities to help. Carol hopes to one day find a special donor to help fulfill the dreams of helping paws4people grow to serve by the hundreds.

Susan Parker – Client Advocate

Credentials:
Assistance Dog Handler

Originally from Pennsylvania, Susan always enjoyed being around dogs and had numerous pets growing up. In 1986, after high school, she moved to Northern Virginia with her family.

More About Susan Parker

While working at a kennel she expressed an interest in grooming animals and was encouraged by her employer to attend Maryland School of Dog Grooming. She graduated from there in 1987 and began working full time as a pet groomer. Susan met her husband Walter in 1993 during the time of the Country Line Dancing craze. They were members of two line dancing/couples teams performing at events throughout Virginia. They later married October 1994 and together they have a son Michael who is the joy of their life. Susan homeschooled Michael from 7th grade to 12th grade and he graduated in 2014 with REACH Homeschooling Group.

In 2013, Susan found paws4people through a google search. Her husband was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in 2010 and was suffering from complete memory loss from the illness and later extreme PTSD from his experiences in the Vietnam War. She knew dogs could help with the hearing/seeing impaired and she had read where dogs sense an oncoming seizure for people suffering with epilepsy. Why not people suffering with PTSD? She began the process of seeing if her husband would qualify for a Service Dog and in April 2014, JACKSON picked Walter at the bump in West Virginia. Susan and her family knew early on they wanted to help paws4people in some way, they attend as many bumps, training and fundraisers they can. Speaking to people about paws4people and how JACKSON has helped Walter and their family as a whole.

Susan is the MST/ST Client Advocate for paws4people. She is a voice for the clients should they have any questions or concerns. She provides information and support to the clients she is assigned to. Susan feels she can lend an understanding ear to those suffering with unseen wounds of a traumatic event and/or illness.

Along with her husband, Susan enjoys the outdoors and traveling throughout the country. She enjoys photography and her interests are all types of photography but mostly she loves capturing those candid shots. Other hobbies Susan enjoys is scrapbooking, an endless venture for someone who loves to take pictures!

Kimberly Nottingham – Client Advocate

Credentials:
Assistance Dog Handler

In May 2010, Kimberly Nottingham became involved in paws4people when she and her husband, Scott, first attended a benefit for the organization. They were so impressed with what they heard and saw that they knew they wanted to get more involved and a relationship was born. Kimberly is the Client Advocate for privately owned dogs within paws4people.

More About Kimberly Nottingham

She has always loved animals and currently has two p4p dogs: IVY, a Social Therapy Dog and TYBEE, a Breeding Ambassador Program Dog. Kimberly and her son, Connor, use IVY in assisted living homes to work with dementia patients and at schools for stress relief. TYBEE will be used for breeding for future p4p service dogs. TYBEE also attends events as a p4p representative and visits schools at exam times for stress relief. Kimberly graduated from the University of Georgia and has backgrounds in non-profit management, education, and communication.

Leslie Fuller – Client Advocate

Leslie and her two children live in Bucks County Pennsylvania. She grew up loving animals, but had the most special bonds with horses and dogs. Leslie was so passionate about animals that she even took on the challenge of training Seeing Eye Dogs through 4-H Program in Morristown, New Jersey.

More About Leslie Fuller

Leslie became a Client Advocate for paws4people after her daughter became a client. Leslie’s daughter Allyson lives with PTSD as a result of a sexual assault and also struggles with anxiety and Bipolar Disorder.

FLINT has forever changed the Fuller family dynamic and inspired Leslie to dive into the paws4people family.

As a Client Advocate, Leslie finds herself answering client questions or directing them to the right people if she herself is unaware. Leslie takes great pride in her work for the organization and especially enjoys helping people with their Pay-it-Forward campaigns.

She is best described as caring, supportive, and professional and we couldn’t be more proud to have her on our team.

Janet Wall – Client Advocate

Credentials:
Assistance Dog Handler

Janet is a mother of two very special young boys. She thrives on her children and her desire to help others.

More About Janet Wall

Her family joined ours while fighting a long and rough battle with pediatric mental illness with her eldest son, Riley. Janet was so overjoyed with the total transformations they saw when CANYON entered their lives that she decided to wanted to be more involved with the foundation and agreed to take on the role as a client advocate.

She fits into her role perfectly, being described best as a helpful, dependable and trustworthy person. Janet can empathize with many of our families. She is quick to remind Client’s during stressful times to “trust the process, and to ALWAYS PET YOUR DOG!”

We are so grateful to have Janet as a part of our Client Advocate Team!

Ashley Currin – Client Advocate

Ashley is a wife and mother above all things. She lives every day for her children. They motivate her and make her want to be her best self.

More About Ashley Currin

Being the first person in her family to earn a college degree, Ashley proved to herself that she is capable of anything she puts her mind to. She thinks meeting and marrying her husband, Matt, has had the biggest impact on her life. Ashley said, “Until he came along, I was leading a very textbook life: born and raised in the same town, graduated college and was planning on finding a job in the same town using my degree. I met and married him very quickly, and life changed in the blink of an eye.”

After experiencing life with an active duty Marine, they all too soon began dealing with the medical retirement process after her husband was diagnosed with PTSD.

Ashley now enjoys her life as a stay-at-home mom, and while her husband’s diagnosis may not be for the faint at heart, it has led her family to the paws4people organization, and ultimately has guided her toward her life’s work. We are so lucky to have Ashley on our team. As an Advocate, she not only helps answer client’s questions, but Ashley can empathize with new clients by sharing her own life experience.

She understands the program is unconventional, but she has seen firsthand how a dog name CHAMP brought her family back together and gave her husband a new lease on life.

Angaleen Hess – Client Advocate

Angaleen is a little powerhouse. She takes responsibility seriously and was honored to be able to add the role of Client Advocate to her busy schedule. Angaleen is a wife and mother of two, who proudly put herself through nursing school. She received her LPN just one year after graduating high school. Her determination and drive makes her a great role model for her family and ours.

More About Angaleen Hess

Angaleen discovered our organization after her husband Dustin, a former Virginia State Trooper was diagnosed with PTSD. She saw the way the TAHOE and the staff and volunteers help people like Dustin, and knew she had to help however she could.

Angaleen is a compassionate, supportive, and friendly person, which makes her a natural at her role as Client Advocate. As the wife of a client she can relate to many families, and wants to help them understand the process and utilize their new support system. She is proud to be a part of the paws4people family and we are so lucky to have her on board.

Mark McCann – Staff Advocate

Credentials:
Assistance Dog Handler

Mark is a father first and all else second.

More About Mark McCann

His son Ryder was born a month early. While in NICU, Mark reached out and touched his newborn son’s hand and at that very moment his life was forever changed. Mark will be the first to tell you Ryder is his greatest personal accomplishment and watching him grow and succeed gives him the greatest source of pride. Mark and Ryder share their lives with Facility Dog PALMER.

As a 5th grade teacher at Pine Valley Elementary School, Mark has worked hard to prove to school officials the benefits of using a dog in the classroom. By incorporating PALMER into the curriculum and culture at Pine Valley he helps students reach their academic and behavioral goals. Everyone on campus benefits from PALMER’s presence. In their free time, Mark and PALMER enjoy catching waves on their surfboard at Kure Beach.

As a Client Advocate, Mark strives to help others with any questions that may arise during training and after they receive their dogs. He is honored to be the only male advocate currently on our team.

As a handler, he can relate to the situations that arise, and his patience and easygoing attitude make Mark a great person to talk to.