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Jackie Kelly


Jackie entered the dog training field while working on her farm - originally training show horses. After the farm, she continued her passion by training dogs. Over 13 years ago she started working with Therapy Dog teams. She has trained over 160 Therapy Dog teams in the triangle area. These bonded teams are well respected, compassionate and skilled to handle any situation.


Karen Callaghan

Director of Operations and Certification Evaluator

Karen manages our memberships and volunteers. She is responsible for making sure that all dog health records are kept current and that all therapy teams are in compliance with our requirements to ensure that safety is kept to the highest standards. She processes requests from organizations needing our services. She also coordinates our volunteers and matches the appropriate dogs with visits to facilities and people in need of comfort during illness or stress.  Karen received her business degree from Monmouth University in New Jersey.  She has two french bulldogs. Violet, (the black and white pied), and Lily, a certified therapy dog.  

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Ali Shubert

Certification Evaluator

Ali Schubert is a class of 2023 vet student at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine. She grew up with dogs and riding horses, and is currently studying to become an equine veterinarian. In the fall of 2019, she started fostering Oakley, a sweet puppy with cerebellar hypoplasia, a condition that makes Oakley unbalanced and prancy. Together, they worked together starting at beginner training up through therapy certification. Now, while earning her veterinary degree, Ali and Oakely visit neurologic rehabs when they're not hiking or visiting breweries.

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Dr. Maureen Hartford

Gold Certification Evaluator and Consultant

Maureen is our public relations liaison, member of our Planning Board Committee, and our evaluator for our Gold Therapy Dog certification. Maureen and her dog Clancy, a certified Therapy Dog, have been actively volunteering as a team for over 8 years.  Dr. Hartford is the retired President of Meredith College, were she was the first female President. A native of Charlotte, N.C., she holds a Bachelor of Arts in French and a Master of Arts in College Teaching at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Her doctorate in higher education administration is from the University of Arkansas

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Drew Mason

Certification Evaluator

Drew is on course to graduate with a degree in Exercise Science from UNCW in 2023 with plans to continue onto chiropractic school. He is also a licensed Massage Therapist. Drew grew up on a farm with all kinds of animals from goats to horses but enjoys spending time with dogs the most. He first started volunteering for a class project and made his way to becoming a Therapy Dog Handler with his dog Paisley pictured here.

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Deborah Poling


Deborah is a member of our Planning Board Committee.  An interior designer by trade, she graduated from the School of Interior Architecture from University of Oregon.  Her love for dogs has always been a part of her life while living in the states and abroad in Germany.  Deborah’s dog, Wilbur, is a therapy and agility dog in training.


Elaine Greitzer

Child Therapy Visit Consultant

Elaine has been involved in reading programs for children with her dog Lucy in North Carolina. For several years she has provided Dogs With A Purpose with invaluable information from working directly with children. Giving us insight on what methods work well with canine therapy and children. Under our “Lucy’s Corner” page you will some of her terrific ideas.  

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Kylee Sainsbury


Kylee has a Bachelor of Business Studies in Finance and Information Technology and a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration from Massey University, New Zealand. She has over ten years of experience as a management consultant. She is the proud parent of Brody, an English Springer Spaniel who has three years experience (2015-2017) with Therapy Dogs International and Dogs With A Purpose.


Cole Benjamin

Certification Evaluator

Cole is originally from Florida and relocated to the Cary area almost six years ago with his wife. He is a civil engineer specializing in water resources. Dog dad to two Australian Shepherds, Oakley who is eight years old, and Ozzie who is eight months old. Cole began training Oakley in 2018 at Jackie’s  Basics & Beyond, where Oakley became certified as a therapy dog. He hopes for Ozzie to follow in his big brother’s footsteps. Cole and his wife enjoy taking their fur babies brewery hopping, hiking, and anywhere the pups can go swimming!

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