Danielle Forbes, Executive Director
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.
Judy Frank, Fundraising Coordinator
Judy works on NSD’s Fundraising Team, developing and delivering fundraising programs, ensuring appropriate recognition and support is provided to clients and stakeholders. Judy is motivated by the reward of returns not measured in profits, but rather by lives being enhanced. NSD’s outstanding reputation and commitment to improving the wellbeing and quality of life for so many is what brought her here. In her spare time, you will find Judy cycling or hiking the trails with her Golden Retriever, Tango.
Garry Stephenson, Breeding and Puppy Program Manager
Garry is responsible for breeding our puppies, placing them in foster homes through our Puppy Program, and developing our weekly puppy training classes. Garry began training dogs in 1966 and progressed to working with Seeing Eye Dogs in 1980. Dogs are a lifelong passion for Garry and seeing a trained dog help a client is his biggest motivator. Outside of work, Garry is kept busy running his hobby farm, and he has a passion for anything that moves. His personal dogs and fancy chickens keep him busiest, but he always finds time to fit in animal rescue work.
Chris McArthur, Puppy Program/Companion Dog Coordinator
Chris is the go to person for becoming a Puppy Raiser or applying for a Companion or 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, read, walk, and take special care of Yoshee and Ricki, two of NSD’s breeding females.
Cathy Klein, Puppy Program Assistant
Cathy has an extensive background with both dogs and people. Her years as a puppy raiser, teacher and professional coach make her a welcome addition to the NSD team. As an experienced trainer who has taught children and adults for the past 30 years, Cathy is deeply committed to facilitating learning for both people and pups. She is thrilled to be joining the NSD community, and looks forward to her role as a Puppy Program Assistant. Cathy was a member of Canada’s women’s national soccer team; she is no stranger to hard work! Outside of her work at NSD, she enjoys coaching soccer and developing innovative programs for children of all ages.
Tamara Leniew, Program Manager
Tamara provides support and information to all Certified Service Dog applicants during our intake process. She helps facilitate Certified Service Dog for PTSD placements, and provides follow-up support and recertification testing for our working Certified Service Dog Teams. Her experience in family support and mental health provides her with the people skills to help balance out our team of canine professionals. Tamara definitely enjoys the dogs at NSD, perhaps a little too much, right Garry? As a proud mother of two girls, Tamara is always busy outside of work life with family activities and loving her rescued pet dog, Jackson.
Annie Bankes, Client Services Coordinator
Annie is thrilled to be part of the dedicated and inspiring team at NSD, where she has found the unique opportunity to combine her degree in Social Work with her love of animals. In her spare time Annie enjoys performing improv, exploring the outdoors with her partner, and hanging out with their two feline friends and NSD Ambassador Dog, Tandy.
Vicki Zettler, Trainer/Instructor
Vicki’s passion for dogs led her to begin volunteering with NSD in the evenings, and providing a finishing home for mature dogs in their final months of training. Vicki’s favourite part about working for NSD is the variety, as every dog and day is so different. She also loves getting to know the clients, and seeing the bond develop between the client and their dog. Outside of work, Vicki enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and daughter, as well as her Cockapoo, Sophie.
Carol Matthews, Trainer
Carol is a professional dog trainer with over 15 years experience in the field. Her training experience includes obedience instructor (all levels), agility, flyball, behaviour assessment and modification training. She also has experience handling/training explosive, narcotic, arson and land mine detection dogs, police and security dogs including patrol/personal protection and tracking dogs. Carol also has over 5 years of animal care and veterinary medicine experience. Carol is thrilled to be a part of the dedicated and inspiring team at NSD.
Melissa Ruf, Trainer
Melissa comes to NSD with 8 years of experience as a professional trainer and instructor working with family companion dogs as well as dogs in shelter care. She brings with her a passion for working to strengthen the relationship between dogs and their families through education and training. When not at work Melissa loves to spend time outdoors with her own canine crew canoeing, hiking and especially skijoring.
Megan Ireland, Trainer
Megan has spent the last 7 years training dogs in basic to advance obedience, behavior rehabilitation as well as 2 years of experience assisting with on going training for patrol, bomb and drug detection dogs. She shares a passion for helping both people and dogs and is very excited to be apart of the NSD team.
Jill, Finlayson, Trainer & Volunteer Coordinator
National Service Dogs has always been a big part of Jill’s life. She started volunteering with NSD over 10 years ago as an evening volunteer for her high school community service hours. That quickly progressed into weekend sitting. She continued to weekend sit during her summers home from university. Eventually, Jill got involved with the puppy raising program and is currently raising her second NSD, Doon. Even though Jill graduated college with an Exercise Science degree and is now a Registered Kinesiologist, She couldn’t shake the idea of changing people’s lives with dogs!
Margie Rolston, Bookkeeper
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!