In October 2013 the two founders of Kingston 4 Paws Service Dogs met and shared their common realization that Southeastern Ontario lacked any locally based service dog training programs dedicated to assisting children and other individuals living with autism and other physical, emotional and mental challenges.
They began a partnership operating as Kingston 4 Paws Academy to try and fill this gap. Applications for dogs started being received in the spring of 2014 and the first puppies were acquired in February of 2014.
It was soon obvious that the local community shared their vision. Interest and awareness grew very quickly. Encouraged by the response, the partnership was converted into its current not-for-profit corporate status in early November and granted its charitable status on January 1, 2015. By the end of first year of operations there were 10 puppies in training with foster families and 7 approved wait list recipients. Our first trained dogs were placed in the early summer of 2015.
Samantha received her dog training certification through The Animal Behaviour College of California and was mentored and CTDI certified by Kyra Sundance. She has been independently training service dogs for 14 years and companion dogs since a very young age. She has both her ABCDT and CTDI certification and continues to attend workshops in both medical and dog training topics. Samantha has an extensive amount of knowledge with special needs children and adults and has hands-on experience with many mental challenges. Samantha is certified in Mental Health First Aid and sits on the board of directors for Autism Kingston.
Her passion is to help others by training dogs to make a difference in peoples’ lives.
Elizabeth gained experience as a puppy raiser with Autism Dog Services and the Lion’s Foundation of Canada for over 15 years having assisted in the training of more than 20 dogs for those organizations. She brings a lot of hands-on experience to Kingston 4 Service Dogs and her passion for our wonderful dogs shows with each animal she works with.
In addition to her training role Elizabeth is the organization’s principal liaison with the breeders who provide our dogs and our other significant product and service donors.
Heather comes to us with a history of canine commitment combined with client services in the non-profit field, dating back to 2001.
Her invaluable experience and expertise began with fostering puppies and transitioned into coordinating volunteer foster puppy training programs and interviewing families applying for services dogs. Her background also includes training and placing the advanced dogs.
Then a personal experience with a special needs child intensified her passion into working directly with waitlist families. Together with the families as well as organizations, donors and media, Heather endeavours to elevate the awareness and raise funds to train and place these exceptional canines with their recipient families.
Heather’s own furry companions include 2 black labs, 2 cats and a horse.
“There is no way to describe the elation and satisfaction of seeing one of our dogs bond with one of our clients.” — Heather deJong
All of our current board members joined us in November, 2014 at the time of our incorporation.
Marty has recently retired from more than thirty years in the communication technology industry. For the past 15 years he was a senior sales and marketing director with two large multi-national companies that supply data and communication storage equipment and related business solutions to U.S. and Canada corporations. Prior to retiring, he lived in Markham, Ontario and Lexington, Kentucky.
He is now enjoying country life near Kingston.
In addition to the information provided about Samantha in the Staff section, she volunteers with The Children’s Wish Foundation and she is a member of the Board of Directors of Autism Kingston
For many years Elizabeth was a very active independent real estate broker in the Golden Horseshoe region of Ontario, specializing in commercial properties and still maintains her broker’s license. She shares her home north of Kingston with her husband and their three black Labs. Also see her information in the Staff section above.
With more than 10 years of experience helping small businesses succeed, Max joins the board to help harness technology to advance the organization. His love of dogs doesn’t hurt either!
Max is the CEO of Sadlowski Consulting and regularly volunteers his time for multiple organizations throughout Kingston.
He has extensive experience throughout his business career with many charitable organizations, both as a Board member and as an auditor.
Robert’s career as an accountant spanned 32 years with PriceWaterhouseCoopers, twenty-four of them as a partner in their Hamilton and Montreal offices. He retired to the Kingston area in 2005.