Watch Our Short Film: Our Name, Our Promise
Dogs for Better Lives is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded in 1977 by the late Roy G. Kabat. Roy worked with exotic and domestic animals for movies and television and had a small traveling circus. After retiring to the Applegate Valley in southern Oregon, he was contacted by the American Humane Association and their headquarters in Denver, Colorado.
A deaf woman in Minnesota had owned a dog that trained itself to let her know when sounds were occurring in her home. As she lost more of her hearing, her dog alerted her to more and more sounds. After her beloved dog died, the woman realized how much she had come to depend on the dog and began a search for someone to train a new dog for her.
The American Humane Association initiated experimental work trying to train dogs to help people who were deaf, and they contacted Roy for advice. After spending two weeks in Denver, Roy returned to Oregon and began Dogs for the Deaf.
Our first location was outside Jacksonville, Oregon, then moved in 1989 to our current 40-acre site at the base of Lower Table Rock in Central Point, Oregon.
In 2017, Dogs for the Deaf was renamed Dogs for Better Lives and celebrated the organizaiton’s 40th anniversary, recognizing the more than 1,300 dog placements that have occurred during that span of operation.
As a national nonprofit, Dogs for Better Lives (DBL) is comprised of regional campuses and satellite offices across the United States. Currently DBL’s West Coast Campus is located in Central Point, Oregon, which includes shelter dog acquisition, breeding program, Assistance Dog training, puppy raiser/breeder caretaker programs, and the majority of administrative staff.
In May 2021, DBL acquired two properties in Falmouth, Massachusetts, which will eventually become the organization’s Northeast Campus, to include Assistance Dog training, puppy raiser program, and doggie daycare services.
Satellite offices are currently located in California, Washington State, Arizona, and New Hampshire.
At Dogs for Better Lives we believe it’s an honor to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and we’re impassioned with what we do. Operating as a team, we put the mission above the individual, trusting in one another to break through challenges and obstacles to maintain our mission of bettering lives by matching people with the amazing dogs we train.
Continuing to be thoughtful stewards of our donor’s dollars, we’re proud to share that 100% of every dollar raised goes towards programmatic services. Administrative and fundraising expenses are full funded by our endowment, specifically the annual interest earned from it, made possible by the past generosity of our Guardian Society members.
Dogs for Better Lives’ mission is to professionally train dogs to help people and enhance lives while maintaining a lifelong commitment to all dogs we rescue or breed and the people we serve.
by keeping their wellbeing (physical, emotional and mental) at the root of all decisions.
by providing our services with kindness, compassion and patience.
by being responsible stewards of our “donor dollars” through mindful and conscientious use of company time and money.
During his time at CCI, the region achieved record-breaking placements including hearing dogs, significantly increased revenue, welcomed a new Chapter to the region, and unveiled and implemented a plan to improve campus grounds. Bryan is passionate about analytics and metrics, introducing several operational dashboards. He also served on the national Strategy and Systems Team which focused on improving business processes. Prior to CCI, Bryan was the Executive Director of the Community Foundation of South Lake (Clermont, FL), a nonprofit which focuses on providing leadership to enhance the quality of life in South Lake County by identifying community needs and seeking philanthropic support to meet those needs.
Preceding the Foundation, he worked as the Development Director and then CFO for Halifax Humane Society (Daytona Beach, FL), a nonprofit that exists to protect animals from cruel, neglectful and exploitative treatment.
Bryan and his wife Rachel have three young children and are looking forward to exploring southern Oregon and the Pacific Northwest as a family.
During her time as Program Director, Sarah oversaw the construction of their brand-new facility in the South Central Region as well as established and maintained program operations for the region. Under her leadership, the region was able to surpass all yearly placement and operational goals and also implemented a new PTSD program that provided assistance dogs to Veterans.
Sarah is a Massachusetts native and recently moved back to the area with her husband Travis and their two dogs, Bowen and Karmen. Outside of DBL, Sarah enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors by kayaking, paddle boarding and hiking.
Prior to joining DBL Harvey worked in senior managerial positions within several national nonprofit organizations, including Restore America’s Estuaries, National Wildlife Federation, and Washington’s National Park Fund. Earlier in his career Harvey worked internationally, serving a 3-year term with the U.S. Peace Corps in Poland, working in Bialowieza National Park (second oldest national park in the world to Yellowstone), overseeing their first-ever national grant funding program.
Outside of DBL, Harvey enjoys peak bagging our PNW volcanoes and is engaged with several nonprofit boards including Sanctuary One and Northern California Weimaraner Rescue. Harvey rescued two of his five Weims, one of which came from NCWR, who now reside on his sheep ranch in southern Oregon.
“Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.” - John F. Kennedy
Meagan always wanted to help her community, so joining DBL was a desirable transition. She grew up hearing about Dogs for the Deaf and the impactful difference the national nonprofit has on hearing clients, among others and knew that she wanted to join their team. Meagan sees her contributions as part of something bigger, bettering dogs and their client’s lives every day. For several years, Meagan fostered one of DBL’s demo dogs, Keen, who is still a special rescue dog in her life.
Meagan grew up locally in beautiful Rogue Valley, where she met her husband Kenny, in elementary school. They enjoy spending their free time traveling, being on the water, and spending time with friends and family. Meagan and Kenny live on a hobby farm in the Applegate Valley with their animals and in November of 2018, welcomed their first child, their son Finn.
Looking to further express her passion for serving people, Trish made a career change to the non-profit sector by becoming the Executive Director of The Arc Jackson County, For People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. During her 20 years at The Arc, Trish led the development of new programs and services unique to the area as well as other parts of Oregon and the United States. One of her signature community events was the creation of Live to Dance with The Arc Stars – an evening showcasing the talents and abilities of people who experience disabilities, while educating the local community that people who experience disabilities are no different from you and her.
Trish currently serves as a member of the Rogue Valley After Five Rotary Club. In her free time, she enjoys a variety of indoor and outdoor activities such as traveling, fishing, camping, golfing, water sports, and spending quality time with her rescue dog Floyd and close friends. Trish, along with her husband Jim, have three children – the oldest two are now attending her alma mater.
Wanda began her career in the Nonprofit sector in 1996 as a grant writer for a Los Angeles based organization that worked with gang intervention and violence prevention programs. Following a decade with Social Service Organizations, Wanda accepted a position as Director of Annual Giving with Long Beach Memorial and later joined the Long Beach Symphony as their Director of Development.
Wanda married her high school sweetheart and eventually moved to Long Beach, California where they raised their three children. In 2014, the two returned to Southern Oregon to experience an adventure in managing acreage and a one-hundred-year-old home. When not at work, the two enjoy working on their home projects and spending time with Samson and Sierra, their two Great Pyrenees, and friends and family.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”. - Martin Luther King Jr.
“Work hard in silence, let your success be your noise.” - Frank Ocean
In addition to working with all the dogs, Sarina loves working with all of DBL's wonderful volunteers and is the first to acknowledge, without them we wouldn’t be able to accomplish all that we do here.
Sarina has always found herself around dogs. with her first one being a Labrador Retriever/Cocker Spaniel mix named Tasha. She was the first dog Sarina trained and had responsibility for and launched her love affair with caring for dogs. Sarina has four dogs at home: Fife, a Lhasa Apso mix, is a Career Change dog from Dogs for Better Lives; Bramble is a Shih Tzu; Darius is a Saluki; and Charlie, a Lhasa Apso mix. I love them all!
I started my career with a degree in Veterinary Technology. In this field I worked for several veterinarians, including a veterinary dentist. I became interested in the behavioral side of working with animals, and started training guide dogs. I learned a lot about training from senior instructors, and placed more than 100 guide dogs teams in the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Canada, and Spain.
The challenge of training a new type of service dog brought me to Dogs for Better Lives. I have enjoyed placing Hearing Assistance Dogs and Autism Assistance Dogs with some wonderful people. I thoroughly enjoy the relationships I have fostered with all the clients I have worked with throughout my career. It will be my pleasure to continue to work in this capacity and help spread the word in California about Dogs for Better Lives. I currently live in Fresno, California with my husband and three dogs.
"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole". — Roger Caras
Being able to help train Assistance Dogs is a dream come true, and Dian is looking forward to the journey of DBL's Northeast Regional Campus becoming an amazing place!
Previous to DBL, Brittany spent time as a Staff Accountant at Moss Adams, a large CPA firm. With a desire to do more for her community, Brittany made the switch from the corporate to the nonprofit sector. Being able to combine her love of numbers, statistics, data, and finance with an organization that changes the lives of people and dogs for the better was a perfect match.
Brittany completed her BS in accounting with a minor in economics at Southern Oregon University. While in her accountant role at DBL, Brittany returned to SOU and earned her MBA degree with a concentration in Information Analysis & Decision Making. In addition to her daily duties as Finance Manager, Brittany also created the finance and development dashboards for use in analyzing the trends of the organization.
Brittany met her husband, Jeffrey, while they were both completing degrees at SOU. They have been enjoying parenthood since September 2018 and have one chocolate lab fur baby.
“The great thing in this world is not so much where you stand, as in what direction you are moving.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes
In her current position, she administers the processes from the initial application, through and after placement, while maintaining communications between applicants, clients, and Dogs for Better Lives.
Before coming to Dogs for Better Lives, Sena was a foster parent and volunteer advocate for children in Eastern Oregon where she also worked with developmentally and physically disabled children. Sena also has diplomas in childhood development and family law. With her background in livestock, training horses, and herding dogs and love of animals and people, Dogs for Better Lives is the perfect fit.
Sena shares her life with her husband, David, their two adult sons, and four dogs. When not spending time with her family and pets, you can find her in the garden or on the beach.
“When you do what you love, believe in what you do, and the organization, it’s not work; It’s a pleasure.”
Both Frank and his wife, Paula, are natives of central California, but have lived in southern Oregon since 2012, now living in Central Point. In their spare time, they enjoy traveling together and spending time with their kids and grandchildren. Individually, Frank loves coaching girls fast pitch softball and Paula has never met a craft she didn’t like. Not only does she enjoy them herself, but she also teaches people of all ages how to sew, knit, crochet, cook, and make jewelry.
Originally from Maryland, Emily moved to Oregon for college, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from the University of Oregon. Her love of the outdoors and the Pacific Northwest has kept her in Oregon ever since. Prior to working at DBL, Emily worked with teens as a Crew Leader in a workforce preparedness youth program. The experience of coaching and teaching job readiness skills is closely aligned with training dogs to learn new skills. Learning is learning, whether human or canine. Her philosophy of training is built around establishing a relationship of respect and trust.
Emily shares her life with her partner Alli and their two rescue dogs Jemma and Baxter. When not working, Emily enjoys being outdoors as much as possible – on a trail, on a bike, or on a boat.
Jenny is a Certified Obedience Trainer and has been training dogs professionally for more than 10 years. After school, she started a private dog training business. Jenny has always been fascinated by animal behavior and loves working with people. Growing up, she volunteered regularly at animal shelters, always feeding the stray animals that came around her home and parks and had a natural connection with the animals she encountered.
She knew she wanted to work at DBL because of the opportunity to fulfill her desire, to help people and animals and create a better world for both! Jenny is thankful to have the opportunity to give back.
“Love the earth and sun and animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others... And your very flesh shall be a great poem.” - Walt Whitman
I learned about Dogs for Better Lives through a friend who raised puppies, and worked, at Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) with Bryan (DBL’s CEO!) in Orlando. Seeing her raise puppies and visiting the CCI campus really spoke to me and made me feel proud of what she and CCI were doing. I knew I wanted to be apart of that culture and work for DBL.
I moved to Oregon in September of 2018 and waited very patiently for a spot to open, and applied as soon as I saw one pop up. I am currently the Operations Coordinator and Safety Committee Chair here at DBL. I support all departments here on campus, with the help of my Operations teammates, to make sure all jobs run as smoothly and efficiently (my favorite word) as possible.
“Until we can extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace” - Albert Schweitzer
I could not ask for a better place to work – and feel extremely grateful to be a part of DBL. My passion for dogs (among other animals) and supportive nature makes it easy to come to work every day. In fact, I get excited every morning knowing that I get one more day to contribute in changing someone’s life. My 10 year old Chaweenie Ty comes to work with me every day as well. He gets so excited when we start getting close to campus. It's precious. He is my best friend and I'm so glad he gets to spend my work day with me.
My parents were high school sweethearts at a local high school, have been married for 65 years, had 5 children and still going strong despite us! (just kidding) I also have two children – a marine with a purple heart, and a daughter in college studying accounting. They have given me two beautiful souls called grandchildren whom I adore. My family is the light of my life and I wouldn’t change them for anything.
My husband put me through college mid-life as I was not happy career-wise at that time. Although challenging to have two young children and attend college full-time, I got it done and am forever grateful to him for allowing me to grow. God Bless his soul.
I’ve worked in the advertising & marketing industry, for a popular political news site, a grocery store, and a kitchen cabinet company. I’ve done it all. This is by far the most rewarding contribution and I’m happy to be here.
“Well done is better than well said.” - Benjamin Franklin
Today, she helps Dogs for Better Lives cultivate authentic communities through inclusive marketing as the Digital Marketing Manager. In the past, she’s orchestrated large scale endurance events and launched dozens of products as a marketer, graphic designer, and product manager. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design from the University of Missouri and she has several digital marketing certifications including Google AdWords, Hubspot, and Hootsuite.
Lacy has built her career with grit and determination in a variety of roles and industries that keep her engaged and looking forward to each day with new challenges and accomplishments. In addition to being a digital marketing manager, she is a strong communicator, adobe suite guru, and self-proclaimed social butterfly.
Looking to make a meaningful contribution and serve with an organization that serves families affected by disabilities, Lacy made a career change to become part of the Dogs for Better Lives team. In her free time, she enjoys running, traveling, camping, and spending time with her two children, Brooks and Norah.
"Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value." - Albert Einstein
"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind." -C.S.Lewis
Jess knew she wanted to work for Dogs for Better Lives when she heard that they rescued shelter dogs and trained them as assistance dogs. Growing up Jess and her family were involved with dog rescue and foster puppy raising. Working at DBL meant she could still be involved in both the rescue world and assistance dog world. She and her partner live in Tacoma, WA with their 4 dogs and an occasional DBL canine guest.
“In every age, no matter how cruel the oppression carried on by those in power, there have been those who struggled for a different world. I believe this is the genius of humankind, the thing that makes us half divine: the fact that some human beings can envision a world that has never existed.” - Anne Braden
While working and raising my family, I also found time to volunteer for youth football & baseball programs in various positions, volunteered at my church, and was a volunteer firefighter while serving on their board as the secretary. I transitioned to the Human Resource field as a HR Manager and Office Manager for an in-home care company in 2014. I currently serve on the local board of directors for Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and will be the board’s Treasurer in 2020.
I chose to work at Dogs for Better Lives because I wanted to be surrounded by people with the same passion that I have. Being a part of the DBL team, I work to create a positive & supportive culture for my team and organization as we all strive to better people’s lives.
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” - John Lennon
“I’m ready, I’m ready!” - SpongeBob SquarePants
“Find a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”
Prior to DBL, Nicole worked in and around Minneapolis, MN, where she grew up, in customer service, banking, and as part of the administrative team at a law firm. She then moved to southern Oregon and worked with her dad in home restoration, and finally landed a spot at DBL that allowed her to be a part of something that works for the greater good. Nicole is very passionate about helping others and feels grateful to work for an organization that combines her love of dogs and helping people.
Nicole now works remotely from Tacoma, WA, where she lives with her partner, Jess, and their four rescue dogs, Teddy, Simon, Teva, and Sydney.
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.” - Amelia Earhart
Emilia ultimately arrived in Alaska and found a job as a dog groomer, working for a family friend. Through this job opportunity she realized how rewarding life is when working with animals and wanted to continue a career path with dogs specifically.
Emilia moved to southern Oregon in December 2019, accepting the position of Kennel Technician with Dogs for Better Lives. Recently, Emilia was promoted to Trainer Assistant and Interim Kennel Coordinator. Emilia is currently working through her apprenticeship, to become a certified Assistance Dog Trainer and hopes to eventually work in a regional satellite office, further helping to expand DBL’s organization and continue bettering lives of our dogs and the clients they serve.
The opportunity came when I was asked by trainers when they came to visit the local shelter where I worked. I swooped up the opportunity to do more with animals. I’m not just saving lives, I am helping people in need while having the chance to bond and work with dogs. Seeing how they grow and learn is very fascinating.
Currently, I'm an Apprentice Trainer working for DBL certification, focusing on training Assistance Dogs to either alert to sounds or to help children with autism.
"Life is for living not just existing."
In 2006 she was hired on as an Instructor Assistant at Canine Companions for Independence. She completed an apprenticeship there to become an accredited instructor under Assistance Dogs International and trained service dogs for CCI until 2013 when she made the move to Southern Oregon and joined the Dogs for Better Lives staff.
In 2020 Andrea made the move to Valatie, NY to better serve DBL’s East Coast and Midwest clients. She is currently living with her three dogs and her fifteen year old kitty on a large piece of rural property surrounded by turkeys, deer and various other wildlife.
David holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration/Marketing from Southern Oregon University. Founder of two sales representative businesses, he has been active in the electronics industry since 1987.
David and his wife Sandy own Mother Earth Pet Products, makers of SuperEssentials, a health supplement for dogs. A holistic veterinarian recommended the product to them to boost the health of their pet boxer, Tucker, following two bouts of cancer in 2012.
They purchased the business in 2016, after the founder moved to Europe. Since Tucker is alive and barking today, Sandy and Dave
want to make sure other pet owners can use the product to help keep their dogs healthy.
David and Sandy are known to spoil their animal companions, including their horses, dogs and cats. They love their Boxer Boys, Tucker & Bodie. Tucker is a rescue dog that enjoys singing and opening the front door, while Bodie just wants to play all day.
Community service has always been important to David. He currently serves on the Board of Craterian Performances in Medford and formerly served on the Board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Rogue Valley. David spent many years coaching youth soccer in Southern Oregon and enjoys working with young people.
Being involved with Dogs for Better Lives enables David to give back to the community, helping both people and dogs to have better lives. David joined Dogs for Better Lives’ national board in Winter 2019.
Bill holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in History with a minor in Business Administration from Southern Oregon University. Bill and his wife are raising four daughters and have a small Maltese/Poodle named Toby who was a career change dog.
Bill's family has been involved in serving families affected by disabilities for years and looks forward to helping as Dogs for better Lives continues to expand in this area.
“I am very honored and humbled to join the board. Having grown up in southern Oregon I have a great love for this area and the community and certainly have a familiarity with this great organization. I look forward to contributing to DBL for many years to come.”
Blake joined Rogue Credit Union in 2013 and in 2014 assumed his current role as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. He received his Masters of Accountancy from Brigham Young University and received his CPA designation in 2001. In his current role with the bank Blake oversees Investment Services, the accounting department, investments, asset liability management and business analysis functions of the Credit Union.
Blake has more than 18 years of experience in financial services including auditing of community financial institutions while with Price Waterhouse Coopers and Deloitte & Touche. He also held positions as a Controller for six years and a Treasurer for two years at two different community banks.
More recently Blake has sat on several boards and been engaged in his local community, including a homeless shelter for women and children, working with United Way, involved with Junior Achievement, and volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America.
Upon returning to Medford, Oregon, Dunbar established his career in the health insurance industry where he eventually opened his own agency, Rogue Benefit Planning. At RBP they specialize in helping employers understand the rules and regulations of the Affordable Care Act and finding a suitable benefit program that meets the needs of the business and the employees.
Dunbar is excited to be a member of Dogs for Better Lives’ board, a part of the organization, and its growing model in helping dogs and people alike. Dogs and people hold a special place in Dunbar’s heart. He knows the many values a dog can bring into a person’s life, whether living with a disability or not. He also feels that everyone should have the opportunity to live a full and happy life and enjoys helping people achieve that.
Dunbar and his wife are parents to two beautiful little girls, and owners of a Black Lab, Shi-Tzu, and a Calico Cat. In their spare time, they love going to the mountains, fishing, and backpacking.
Tim is the Director of Finance and Administration for the Department of Ophthalmology at University of Washington School of Medicine. He has worked in medical school administration roles for more than twenty years.
“I believe in the mission of Dogs for Better Lives and its ability to engage with different groups and provide needed services,” stated Tim Cibula. “I appreciate the opportunity to work with this excellent organization and look forward to watching it grow.” Tim’s longtime love of dogs, passion for the critical work nonprofit organizations endeavor on, and his desire to help create an impactful difference, make him a great fit for the DBL board of directors.
The Cibula family lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Sherry and Tim Cibula have three kids: Joe, Ben, and Clare, all of whom are in college currently. The family enjoys camping and hiking together in the Pacific Northwest. They recently lost their beloved Trixie, a Blue Heeler / Border Collie mix who herded them for thirteen years.
Tom is the Chief Marketing Officer for Lithia Motors Inc., one of the nation’s largest automotive retailers operating dealerships across the U.S. Prior to joining Lithia, Tom practiced branding and regional marketing at advertising agencies BBDO and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. Tom has a B.A. in Advertising from Michigan State University and a M.B.A. from the University of Oregon.
Throughout his career, Tom has served a variety of non-profit organizations. “The commitment of the Dogs For Better Lives team to their clients and their dogs is impressive. I’m eager to support them to help even more people.”
Tom and his wife have three children and a German Shepherd named Nala. “I’m amazed by the symbiotic relationship between people and dogs and I believe we’re just beginning to understand the full benefits of these partnerships.”
Doug Hexter was raised in New England and currently resides in Western Massachusetts. He is CEO and founder of WoofTrax, a brand engagement platform that promotes healthful dog ownership by connecting pet brands, pet parents and animal non-profits in a mutually beneficial way. WoofTrax is a pet-focused fitness app designed to engage pet owners around their daily dog walk, by linking each walk with the chance to earn donations for their chosen animal non-profit.
Prior to founding WoofTrax, Doug was in technology development for several small and large companies including America Online and GE Capital.
Doug received his Masters from Cornell University and a BA from Franklin and Marshall College.
She started her career in Chicago but ended up finding herself in Southern California. While working as a manager of a large publication design department, she headed over to Epson to work as a merchandising manager. She met her husband, who is a Creative Director, and owned his own marketing and design agency, in the early 1990s. Jensen joined his agency and added many more clients, mainly in consumer electronics industry.
Jensen’s initial interest in Dogs for Better Lives was sparked by their work with Autism Assistance Dogs. She worked with children with autism while in college and has several friends and acquaintances with children on the spectrum. She also has a love for dogs and understands how their fierce sense of loyalty and unconditional love can bring so much joy and comfort to anyone’s life.
“I’m so grateful to Wanda Cockey for nominating me for this position on the board of directors for Dogs for Better Lives,” stated Patty Jensen. “This organization is a perfect fit for my professional background and my passion for dogs. I look forward to participating in helping DBL further their cause and expand their reach."
Jensen is excited to join the board of directors for Dogs for Better Lives and contribute on many different levels. Patty brings a strong knowledge of marketing, networking, and design to the table. Furter she is interested in helping to recruit for the Young Professionals Board (CA) as well as promote the National Ambassador program to prospective new volunteers.
She and her husband have one adult son and have always had dogs as part of their family. First there was Sophie the Great Dane–a kind and gentle giant. Then came Lucy a Jack Russell Terrier. Lucy came to work every day until a mailman complained of her barking at him. So, when Lucy had to stay home, we adopted a companion for her, a Pomeranian with three legs named Desi. Lucy passed away and they are now looking to increase their family once again.
Patty Jensen joined the board in July 2021.
As a lover of all animals, it was only later in life, that she realized the importance of the animal/human connection; CarrieJo trained her dog Shep to receive his Canine Good Citizen (CGC), allowing them to visit Memory Care Units. Seeing the joy, love, and connection a dog can make with humans has forever changed CarrieJo.
“Through my own experiences, it was important to me, to join an organization that represents a blend of dog lovers, and people who want what’s best for their well-being,” stated CarrieJo Hoelzel. “It's an honor and privilege to serve on the Dogs for Better Lives’ Board.”
Over the past 13-years, CarrieJo’s career in the hearing health industry has allowed her to work closely with providers and doctors who serve patients with an array of hearing health challenges. Currently, CarrieJo works as the Senior Director, Customer Experience, leading the Customer Experience Team for Lantos Technologies 3D ear imagining.
CarrieJo joined the board in April 2021.
At 80 Henry is a retired journalist and still active author, having written ten books, including Traveling with Service Animals: By Air, Road, Rail and Ship Across North America, with Christine Goodier, also a DBL client. They are at work on a new post-pandemic edition of that book.
He is a graduate of Trinity College (Connecticut) and Northwestern University, and spent a 41-year newspaper career as an editor, critic and columnist for the Wilmington (Del.) News Journal, the Chicago Daily News, and the Chicago Sun-Times. He, his wife Debby, and Trooper winter in a retirement community in Evanston, Illinois, and summer in a log cabin on the shore of Lake Superior near Ontonagon, Michigan.
Henry joined the board in April 2021.
Keva currently resides in the Twin Cities. She is the Director of Marketing for Amplifon Hearing Health Care where she works with health insurance companies to provide hearing benefits for their members. Prior to joining Amplifon in September 2016, Keva did both marketing and product strategy for Blue Cross plans in North Carolina and Minnesota, as well as pharmaceutical sales. Keva uses her diverse experience to uncover new ways to make health care better, easier and affordable. She welcomes the opportunity to do the same thing for DBL.
Keva graduated from Marquette University with a BA in Marketing and Public Relations, and earned her Master of Business Communications degree from the University of Saint Thomas in 2009. She is passionate about learning and truly believes, “the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do (Steve Jobs).”
Keva and her significant other, Rick, are proud parents to their three dogs, Jack, Russell, and Lucy, and their cat, Angel.
Jeff started his business career working as the office manager for a small Southern Oregon office furniture manufacturer, Muvag Trading Company, putting his education to use immediately after graduation. About one year later he departed Muvag to team up with longtime friend, Scott Hansen, in his newly formed telecommunications brokerage, GCW Communication Consultants, LLC. Jeff and Scott proved to have a strong working relationship and continued building GCW even when Jeff lived in Corvallis, Oregon for a period of three years while his wife DeAnna attended Oregon State University’s College of Pharmacy.
While living in Corvallis, Jeff continued to expand his knowledge of sales, marketing and technology while working for Pacific Coast Publishing and for Arch Wireless.
Upon returning to Medford, OR in 1998, Jeff and Scott were again in full force. GCW had expanded at this point to encompass a full suite of telecom products for their customers and was continuing to grow. In 2000 they accepted positions with Rio Communications (later known as Rio Networks) a completive local exchange carrier (CLEC) and Jeff become the regional sales manager of what was at that time one of the first statewide facilities based private phone companies in Oregon.
After nearly a 3 year stint with Rio, Jeff and Scott joined together in 2003 with longtime friend and NFL veteran Chad Cota to form Prime Time Ventures, LLC and purchase InfoStructure, a longstanding and reputable ISP in Southern Oregon and began its transformation into a telephone service provider or CLEC. Jeff still maintains GCW and some of its agent channel activities, but his primary focus is building InfoStructure, its client base and service offerings which now include traditional Local & Long distance phone service, Web Conferencing, Conference Calling, Business VoIP and SIP Trunking. InfoStructure also provides business Internet services like DSL, Cable Modem, T-1, DS3, Fiber, Ethernet over Copper, Private Line, MPLS, Web Hosting and Email.
Today InfoStructure has grown into a flourishing telecom and internet service provider and in July of 2013 completed the acquisition of Rio Networks – the same company which inspired its endeavor into the telecom industry. Serving thousands of customers throughout Oregon as well as across the US, the company has grown steadily and profitably, even through economic downturns, to become the reputable telecommunications enterprise that it is known as today.
Jeff has also partnered with Scott and Chad in other endeavors - most recently the drive-thru specialty coffee business, where together they own and operate The Human Bean of Reno with two successful locations in Reno, NV. Jeff and Chad bought out Scott’s Human Bean shares at the end of 2017 and are currently building two new locations – one in Reno and one in Sparks, NV. Plans are currently in place to build an additional 4 locations in and around Reno over the next 3 years.
Through perseverance and dedication with ample doses of integrity and faith, Jeff has accomplished a high level of success in business and yet has the drive and ability to not only continue in that success but strive for more.
He is a dedicated family man and shares four vibrant young children with his wife of 24 years, DeAnna Rhoden. Also dedicated to community support projects, Jeff invests his personal and company resources toward those efforts as often as possible. Over the years he has donated time and money to projects and organizations such as Living Waters Church, Boy Scouts of America, Rotary International, CASA, Compassion International, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Crater Foundation, Red Cross, Kids Unlimited, Hearts with a Mission, Mobility Unlimited, Sparrow Clubs and many more.
Jeff is a long time Chamber member and served two terms on the Medford Chamber Board. He has been a member of or served on boards for other local business organizations as well including; Sothern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Northwest Telecom Association, Talent Chamber, Rogue Nexus and Southern Oregon High Performance Enterprise Consortium (SOHPEC) and Central Point Rotary.
Lisa has a close connection with the mission and vision of Dogs for Better Lives. She has friends and family who are deaf, on the autism spectrum, or have a service dog due to other health challenges. “I am very honored to have the opportunity to join the DBL Board,” stated Lisa. “I’m looking forward to working closely with DBL in the pursuit of placing more Assistance Dogs with people whose lives will be significantly benefited by having a wonderful, loving dog to assist them.”
Lisa has always been an avid dog lover and currently has 2 black lab mixes she and her husband, Tom, adopted from local animal shelters. One of the dogs, Coal, has become an excellent hiking partner on weekend trips.
Seibert and her family have had a love for dogs for many years. Her daughter raised puppies for both Guide Dogs for the Blind and Dogs for Better Lives while in high school. Both her daughter and son have also volunteered at Southern Oregon Humane Society. Her daughter now lives in Florida with a career change dog from Dogs for Better Lives, named Barnum. Her son lives here in Southern Oregon with his best friend whom he adopted from SoHumane, Louie.
Local community service keeps her busy and she has volunteered in training events with ACCESS and is an active member of the Rogue Valley After Five Rotary Club.
She is a graduate of Fresno State where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and earned her Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership at Gonzaga.
Dr. Rose is an MD Physician and joined Salisbury Pediatric Associates in 2012. She has a special interest in special needs children and integrative medicine. Dr. Rose has studied with several Naturopathic physicians and integrates supplements, herbs and homeopathic treatment into her pediatric treatment plans.
Dr. Rose completed her undergraduate studies at Salem College and medical studies at Medical College of Georgia followed by the completions of her internship and residency at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.
Since 1996, Dr. Rose has been a Hearing Dog client of Dogs for Better Lives. Now with her third Hearing Dog Delight, a 3-year old black Labrador, Dr. Rose continues to be alerted to the phone, smoke alarm, oven timer, alarm clock, name call, and door knock. Delight does this by tapping Danielle’s leg with her nose and then leading her to the sound. With bringing her Hearing Assistance Dog to work each day, Delight is not only able to benefit Danielle, but also comfort the young patients she visits with who may have anxieties about visiting the doctor’s office.
In addition to being a Dogs for Better Lives’ client, Dr. Rose also serves as a National Ambassador for DBL, regularly presenting about the organization to local and regional community groups, such as her state chapter of Hearing Loss Association of America.
Dr. Rose is excited about Dogs for Better Lives’ development of their Autism and Facility Dog programs for people who experience Autism and other disabilities. Serving as a Board Member for Dogs for Better Lives is providing Dr. Rose with a wonderful opportunity to speak with community groups about the value of an Assistance Dog and how they better people’s lives, including her own.
Dr. Rose lives in Mooresville, NC with her husband Cameron, Hearing Assistance dog Delight, and their cat Earl Gray.
Stacy is an avid runner, having completed a dozen marathons, as well as a long-time motorcyclist and former motorcycle instructor. She enjoys traveling to explore new places and after many years of supporting DBL finally got to tour the facility and see its growth while on a 27-state cross-country road trip in early 2019.
Stacy has served on a number of nonprofit boards in the past and is excited to help lead DBL into the future. Dogs have brought joy and richness to her life and she is constantly awed by what they can do for people as part of a DBL team.
"I'm always amazed at what dogs can do in service of us humans, and I'm thrilled to join the board of an organization I've long supported to help guide it in the continuation of its excellent work."
Garrett received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Georgetown University Law Center, where he served as an Executive Editor of the Georgetown Environmental Law Review. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Classics, Political Science, and History from the University of Oregon’s Robert D. Clark Honors College, where continues to be active in supporting the mock trial team and forensics program.
“DBL is a forward-thinking organization that is actively working to transform the way that persons with disabilities and dogs interact with the world,” said Garrett. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of such a cutting-edge program and to help change lives. I am committed to ensuring both its growth and long-term success.”
1. ADI-Assistance Dogs International
A coalition of members representing organizations and individuals training and placing Assistance Dogs. The purpose of ADI is to improve the areas of training, placement, and utilization of Assistance Dogs.
2. IAADP-International Association of Assistance Dog Partners
A non-profit cross-disability organization representing people partnered with guide, hearing, and service dogs.
3. ADA-Americans with Disabilities Act
Information on service animals and the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as ADA information on public access for individuals with assistance dogs.
4. Assistance Dog Laws
Assistance Dogs in public and in the community.
The Assistance Dogs International Standards and Ethics Committee has developed minimum standards and ethics which all member programs must follow. This active committee updates existing standards and develops new ones. These standards are the backbone of the ADI accreditation and guide programs.