Cathy started the CWAC program while working as Executive Director at Friends of Animals, Utah. After spending many years working in animal welfare and rescue, the importance of companion animals and healing effects they had on their people was undeniable, especially for those dealing with trauma. One of Cathy's sustaining goal is to help eradicate the euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals and find them loving homes helping their human counterparts along the way.
Kirsten is an advocate for the unique and incredible human being within each one of us. She helps us grow as individuals and as a team; learning to get out of our comfort zones/ build our skill sets so we can get better and better at what we do and are co-creating here at CWAC with our Veterans, inmates and dogs. She has a deep love and appreciation for our Veterans as one of the most important humans in her life served in WWII - her Grandfather. He lost his youngest brother to the war, arrived at Normandy on Day 2, was a purple heart recipient and could only share small bits of his experience with his family until the day he died at 92 years of age. The profound pain he held didn’t go unnoticed by her. She grew up at the VFW, surrounded by heroes and is passionate about giving back all she can to this community she's received so much from. Any ideas, hopes, dreams you have for how CWAC might better serve our community? Please share them with Kirsten so she can incorporate your insight into the development of CWAC.
Geraldine desperately needed a dog as a stay at home caregiver to her husband with Parkinson's Disease. Ragusa, her Bernese Labradoodle, not only helped her with the companionship of staying home for 7 years to look after her husband but also helped her husband during his anxiety, panic attacks and hallucinations. When her husband passed in 2022 she wanted to help others suffering with anxiety, depression & panic attacks. Since Richie from Faithful K9 Trainer had helped her train her own dog, it was only fitting for Geraldine to come on board with CWAC as Coordinator for North Idaho & Eastern Washington partnering up with Richie from Faithful K9 Trainer, to help CWAC branch out into that region.
Chloe joined the CWAC team in 2018, after her love of dogs, the mountains, and following her gut led her to Salt Lake, a city she had never never even visited before moving. As it turns out, she just happened to land her dream job with Canines with a Cause and has been part of the team ever since. Chloe's favorite part of working with CWAC is witnessing the growth, courage, and strength of both rescue dogs and veterans alike. When not working, Chloe and her small rescue pup spend as much time as they can exploring everything the Mountain West lifestyle has to offer.
Brie has been training dogs with Canines with a Cause since 2016. "Training with the CWAC is just that, 'with' CWAC, we are a team. CWAC came into my life at a pretty low point and was a huge part of helping me get things back on track." Now Brie is a part of helping dogs and Veterans keep or get their lives moving in a positive, helpful way. She is now an AKC certified trainer, an APDT member. With these certifications and involvements, she enjoys learning new skills to help any and all canines and Veterans.
After college Seamus moved to California to pursue a career training assistance dogs and earned his Assistance Dog Instructor credentials. While training assistance dogs Seamus not only got to develop his skills as a trained but he also got to witness how the human-canine bond saves lives. As his career progressed, Seamus started to seek out other opportunities to increase his knowledge in training and canine behavior. He started working with a local rescue group which gave him the opportunity to work with different breeds, temperaments and behaviors. He also volunteered with a police K9 unit where he participated in apprehension training as a decoy as well as search and rescue and drug detection training
Richie is CWAC’s primary trainer for Northern Idaho/Spokane and surrounding areas. He is the founder of Faithful K9 Trainer, completed a 4000-hour training apprenticeship through Dept. Of Labor (Office management and Business Administration services) and has trained dogs for over 3 years with the P.A.W.S. Program, training dogs for Canines With A Cause. Richie is a certified AKC CGC Evaluator.
Dylan found Canines With a Cause while searching for opportunities to make a real difference in other people’s lives. While his previous roles within the hospitality industry could be incredibly rewarding—they typically felt hollow. The desire to change lives for the better, along with a passion for dog training, meant joining the CWAC Team was a perfect fit. Dylan looks forward to using his skills to bring communities together to support our Veterans, inmates and dogs in creative ways. In his free time, Dylan and his pup find a way into the mountains for biking, backpacking and other outdoor adventures.
The opportunity to work with CWAC came at a pivotal point in Christina’s life. After separating from the military and graduating college, she found herself working for a large retail company with no opportunity for truly meaningful work. With CWAC, Christina is now able to return to non-profit work where her love for dogs and helping her fellowing service men and women collide. Christina will use her brand and communication skills to help support this amazing cause and the passionate people behind it.
Mary Ellen Hunter has volunteered for CWAC since it started in 2010. She has worked on many projects over the years. She has hiked with the dogs and taken them on trains, buses and elevators for training. She has worked with veterans and their dogs in training classes which is very rewarding and does special events as needed. Mary Ellen is currently very involved with the prison program which started in 2015. She spends time weekly at the prison training with the inmates and dogs that they live with.
Rhoda is helping CWAC on organizational development matters as well as writing grant proposals. She has 25 years of experience in working with nonprofit organizations and is passionate about animal rescue. Rhoda is very happy to support CWAC and their work to rescue dogs, by assisting veterans and inmates.