As the Executive Director, Dani is responsible for the successful leadership and management of the organization, ensuring the organization’s mission and the strategic direction set by the board of directors is achieved. Dani loves working with dogs and people and got her start as a service dog trainer/instructor, learning the business from the ground up. As an NSD founder and past president of the board of directors, Dani has worked in many areas of NSD’s operations as a volunteer or staff member. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her family, horse, and dogs.
Rochelle comes to NSD with a background in Organizational Development, Social Services and Communications. Rochelle enjoys the opportunities this role provides to meet great people at NSD’s various events, engage and share stories as well as endless opportunities to share her love of photography capturing images of NSD’s beautiful dogs.
Assistant Director of Canine Development
Caitlin comes to NSD with many years in the Service Dog industry. After spending 5 years in Edmonton with her husband and 2 dogs, Caitlin moved home to Ontario to continue pursing her dream of working within the service dog industry. As the Assistant Director of Puppy Development, Caitlin works with all volunteers and dogs in the breeding and puppy program. Caitlin believes it takes a village to breed, raise, and train service puppies and thrives working within a team. Caitlin is dedicated to ensuring all volunteers and puppies have a positive experience on the road to being a Service Dog.
Social Worker, Client Services
Rachel comes to NSD with a Masters of Social Work and a passion for utilizing accredited service dogs in trauma and victim response. Prior to joining the team at NSD, Rachel worked alongside NSD Merel to provide support to victims and witnesses of crime, first responders, and young persons involved in the justice system. Rachel has a keen understanding of both child development and trauma and delivers training both provincially and nationally on the topics. Rachel has had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the incredible impact that service dogs can have on those they interact with and for that reason, chose to join the NSD team and assist in its mission of getting life-changing service dogs to those who need them.
CANINE DEVELOPMENT TEAM
Ellie comes to NSD with a history of working with individuals and families with a medical or physical disability. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in Social work at the University of Montreal, she moved to Ontario to become a Certified Service Dog instructor. Before joining NSD, Ellie worked as a Hearing Dog Instructor, training dogs for the deaf or hard of hearing. As the training coordinator, she works with volunteers and dogs in the training program. Ellie also works closely with Client Services to assists recipients on their journey from the NSD facility to the home environment. Ellie is bilingual in English, French and some ASL however, her pet dog Mac is only fluent in French.
Rachel has been involved with dogs for a decade now, working at animal hospitals and doggy daycares, even running her own daycare/boarding/walking services. She also got involved in many volunteering opportunities such as search and rescue for lost pets, fostering and most recently raising puppies here at NSD. It wasn’t until she moved out on her own that she got her first dog, Kyah. It was at that point that she dove headfirst into the world of dog sports and training to keep up with her new furry bundle of joy. Team Kyah has participated in a number of sports such as dock diving, obedience, tricks, flyball, agility, sprinter, rally, scent work and lure. Her biggest dream was to become a trainer for both puppies and dog sports so she is very excited to start this new chapter of her career with NSD.
Ashley comes to NSD with many years of working with humane society and shelter dogs. For over 10 years she owned and ran a horse farm where she trained both riding and therapy horses as well as teaching lessons and summer camps for all ages and abilities. Through this, she developed a passion for working with animals and children of all abilities. She is excited to be a part of NSD and loves to see how life-changing the dogs can be for the clients. Her love of all animals has been present her entire life and has previously worked for Veterinary Hospitals, dog grooming and owned a dog walking/pet sitting business, She has a Black Lab named Hank and two horses that she competes with – Herc and Apollo.
Mandy comes to NSD having completed a training apprenticeship. She has a passion for working with dogs and has been a puppy raiser for NSD since 2018. Mandy also has a vast knowledge of grooming with 8 years of experience working with dogs in that environment. She enjoys working with the advanced dogs and connecting with clients during team training.
Mara Ioana Howard
Mara graduated from Ryerson University with a bachelor’s in Social Work. She enjoyed working with and caring for animals including cats, dogs, and even a bearded dragon. Mara decided to focus on training animals, with the intention of eventually training service dogs. This led her to enroll in Karen Pryor’s Professional Animal Training & Behaviour program with her miniature Australian shepherd, Iubi (“ee-you-bee”). Iubi’s name means “love” in Romanian and all of his cues are also in Romanian. In her spare time, Mara enjoys biking and discovering new nature trails with Iubi. After graduating from KPA, Mara continued her animal training studies through an internship at a dog training school in Toronto. Mara is excited to have the opportunity to combine her skills in social work and animal training to match service dogs with families.
Breeding and Animal Health Coordinator
Rachel comes to NSD with over 6 years of experience working and volunteering in the service dog industry. She started this journey at the University of Guelph where she began fostering service dog puppies and has since raised 6 puppies. Her past experiences in whelping, neonatal care, puppy training and veterinary care will be a great asset to the NSD team. Rachel enjoys hiking with her pet Molson (Moe for short), relaxing at the cottage and advancing her dog knowledge however possible. Rachel is looking forward to working and getting to know all the volunteers that support NSD with their ongoing mission!
Puppy Health Coordinator
Chris is the go to person for a Career Changed Dog. Chris’s love of children and dogs inspired her to get involved by volunteering in many areas at NSD, primarily with Puppy Raising, breeding, and the NSD Board of Directors in which she was a member prior to her current staff position. The most rewarding aspect of her position is the happiness the dogs bring to NSD’s clients, whether it’s a Certified Service Dog, Skilled Companion, Companion or a family pet. Chris loves to spend time with family and friends, travel, sew, read, walk, and take special care of Yoshee, one of NSD’s retired breeding females.
Operations Assitant and Puppy Program Support
Emma comes to NSD with an academic background in business and hospitality. She attended the University of Guelph where she studied business and majored in Hotel and Tourism. She then studied Event Management at Conestoga College. After seeing service dogs in training all over the University of Guelph campus, she became a puppy raiser for NSD in 2019. While raising her first NSD dog, she fell in love with the NSD community and culture, which led her to immerse herself in several volunteer opportunities. Emma is looking forward to expanding her knowledge of dog training and sharing her love of NSD while getting to know the volunteers who support NSD’s mission.
Lindsey comes to NSD with an academic background in Recreation and Leisure. She has always been an avid volunteer and began volunteering with NSD in 2018. With her passion for volunteering, she fit right into the Volunteer and Puppy programs – working with our many volunteers. Lindsey believes transparency and consistency are vital with all volunteers and looks forward to getting to know everyone and joining in the life-changing journey NSD strives to provide.
Fund Development Specialist
Lynne comes to NSD with over 10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector in various roles including, volunteer management, public and community relations, grant writing, special events fundraising and as a Deafblind Intervenor. Outside of work, Lynne enjoys live music, movies, travel, and loves spending time with her partner, family and close friends. Lynne is a rookie dog enthusiast and the only member of the NSD team that has never had a dog but is happy being an Aunt to the many beautiful dogs that she is lucky to be surrounded by every day. Lynne looks forward to a long career at NSD and to working closely with members of the community, and the amazing team of staff and volunteers to make an impact on the lives of our clients.
Cindy comes to NSD with 15+ years of experience in the hospitality business. She started out as a suite hostess at the Kitchener Auditorium and has worked in many areas of the hospitality industry ever since. Everywhere from Terminal Manager of Food & Beverage at Toronto Pearson Airport to General Manager of Premium at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton. Cindy has managed many large-scale events in the premium areas though out North America such as Rogers Cup, Honda Indy, BNP Paribas Open in Palm Springs, Texas Motor Speedway 500, Four Seasons in Toronto to name just a few.
Cindy: “I am so happy to be working with the National Service Dogs. How lucky am I to do what I love and be around these special dogs daily. It is a great feeling knowing what I do helps make a difference in people’s lives. I am truly grateful to be a part of this amazing team.”
Digital Content/Communications Coordinator
Emma graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a specialization in marketing. She has been volunteering in the service dog industry for the past 3 years, raising future service dogs. She believes that teamwork and communication are pivotal and cannot wait to connect with volunteers, coworkers and stakeholders. She is excited to work in the social media marketing space and take on any challenges that come her way!
Margie has been NSD’s Bookkeeper since 2001. She continues to keep our books in order while also handling our payroll and tax receipting. Working for NSD has become a love for Margie, not only with our adorable and lovable four-legged wonders, but the two-legged dedicated staff as well. In her spare time, Margie loves scrapbooking, spending time with her hubby and daughter, and making others smile!