PADS supports people with disabilities and community care providers by partnering them with certified assistance dogs.


Our clients enjoy life-changing independence and wellness through partnerships with PADS certified assistance dogs.

Be YOU. With Us.

We serve communities that are greater and stronger because of their diversity. What makes YOU different is worth both celebrating and cultivating.

PADS is committed to equality across race, gender, age, religion, identity, ability and experience. We invite you to bring your whole self to our team, helping us to change lives, one dog —and person—at a time.


Gratitude | We are grateful for the support of our community and those who share our mission.

Respect | We hold in high esteem those who support our mission with their time, their money, or their actions. We are kind to our dogs and always consider their dignity and health.

Accountability | We exhibit a high level of care and conduct when considering or taking action.

Integrity | We are sincere and genuine when we consider or take action.

Trust | We appreciate those who place their confidence in us, and we act in ways to maintain that level of faith in our mission.

Transparency | We conduct ourselves openly and consider stakeholders and the community as our partners in the fulfillment of our mission.


PADS achieved full accreditation from Assistance Dogs International (ADI) in 2002. ADI is the international body that sets standards for assistance dog training, placement and client care. Members of ADI meet regularly to share ideas and conduct business regarding educating the public about assistance dogs, advocating for the legal rights of people with disabilities partnered with assistance dogs, and the setting of standards and establishing guidelines and ethics for the training of these dogs. ADI has a comprehensive accreditation system and members have to be regularly assessed to ensure they meet the high standards expected of assistance dog programs. We strive to meet or exceed the standards and ethics developed by the ADI Standards and Ethics Committee.

Clients working in partnership with an assistance dog are also key to making the partnership work. Programs have responsibilities towards the clients and clients have responsibilities towards their dogs, which are outlined in these standards.

Laura Watamanuk

Executive Director

Laura is the fearless leader of the PADS Team and self-described Chief Puppy Spoiler.  Laura has led the day-to-day operations of the organization since returning to the role in 2011 (she was previously PADS’ Executive Director from 1994–2001). Laura is passionate about creating partnerships with individuals, organizations and community groups to change lives each day.  Laura’s strong prairie roots not only have her bleeding green but also instilled in her a deep belief that hard work, respect and teamwork are key to success.  She shares her office with the adorable (and ridiculous) retired PADS Breeding Dog Pepper.



Chris is the co-owner of Okanagan Crush Pad, a family-run winery located in Summerland, BC, home to Haywire, Narrative, Free Form and Bizou & Yukon wine brands.  She spent nine years as the founding executive director of the BC Wine Institute and Wines of Canada. She then spent 14 years consulting in the field of marketing, branding and communications and had the privilege of working with many global and domestic brands. 

Christine is widely acknowledged as a driver for change and betterment and is a staunch believer in volunteerism and is extremely excited to be back with her PADS family again. 

Laura Watson

Vice Chair

Laura has extensive experience from local to national boards of directors, with a background in strategic planning and structural organization. Laura is the High-Performance Coaching Advisor with Own the Podium, responsible for executing the world-class Coaching Enhancement Program, supporting Canada’s coaches in the pursuit of excellence in Olympic and Paralympic sport.

Laura attended the Sauder School of Business and the University of British Columbia, where she earned her Master’s Degree in High Performance Coaching and Technical Leadership (MHPCTL). She brings her exceptional coaching and leadership skills to PADS, and a love for her enormous Bernese Mountain Dog, Murphy.

CARA Pavlakovic


Cara brings to the PADS Board a strong background in accounting and diverse financial expertise. This outgoing and experienced advisor loves building relationships, overcoming challenges and developing creative, strategic solutions.

Cara has a Bachelors in Business Administration (Accounting & Finance) from Simon Fraser University and is excited to be combining two of her loves by serving on the PADS board – finance and dogs!


Robert De Klerk

Secretary (Calgary)

Robert has worked in the food business for the majority of his professional career, being President of BFV Trading and Vice-President of Dependable Products Ltd. Robert believes his professional job and the job of PADS are similar in that they both work for the people and work to expand and educate. His job also allows him to take the puppies he raises on business trips to offices, boardrooms and restaurants, increasing public education and visibility.

Robert brings to the Board both a love of dogs and an in-depth Alberta business perspective.



I continue to be amazed at the sincere generosity of PADS volunteers in both their time and commitment to such a good cause. I am lucky to be able to be involved as we all watch PADS grow and move forward. The future of PADS looks ever so bright and with the efforts of staff, volunteers and the Board of Directors we will be able to keep moving forward. I look forward to the coming term and helping to secure the future of PADS.

Kristy James


Kristy is the President & CEO at Burnaby Hospital Foundation.

She is an experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & health care industry. Skilled in Planned Giving, Nonprofit Organizations, Capital Campaigns, Event Management, and Volunteer Management. Strong business development professional graduated from British Columbia Institute of Technology / BCIT.


Bruce Arthurs


Retired – Scotia Wealth Management, Regional Director Partnerships – Western Region.

With 37 years of financial services experience and a proven track record of translating strategy into action for the benefit of all stakeholders, Bruce is an inclusive leader who believes it is the empowerment of individuals and a focus on partnership that makes the material difference for both clients and the organization.