PADS breeds, raises, trains and supports certified assistance dogs, partnering them with people living with disabilities, and with community care professionals.


PADS strives to become a pre-eminent, internationally recognized source for dogs certified to ADI standards by providing top quality breeding, training and program delivery in the assistance dog industry.


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.

Rick DeHart

 Board President

 Rick currently works in the architecture and design field with his own design and renovation general contracting firm. Rick has done work in places like Amsterdam and the Sunshine Coast, and often uses his experience and connections in the building trades for projects onsite at PADS. He first became involved in the Board when he was introduced to PADS by Laura, and he says he has stayed because of the exceptional service PADS provides. Rick’s favourite breed of dog is German Shepherd, but Labradors are a close second.

Robert De Klerk

Director (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.

Erik Hoibak


Erik is a labour lawyer in Burnaby, British Columbia.  He graduated from UBC’s Allard School of Law with a Juris Doctor in 2015 and was called to the bar in 2016 after completing his articles. Erik completed his undergraduate studies at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario and holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Political Science and Native Studies. He works as a staff representative with the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union in their Advocacy Department.

Dr Greg Phillips


Greg attended the University of Alberta and graduated with his Bachelor of Medical Science in 1982 and his Doctor of Medicine with distinction in 1984.  In 2001, Greg wanted to change his life, be better to himself as a person and be closer to family.  So, he moved back to BC and set up his full-service family medicine practice in West Vancouver where he can spend more time with his patients and get to know them.  An active and loving dog owner, Greg has a 7 ½-year-old Wirehaired Pointing Griffon named Viggo.  In 2004, he lost Angie (Angel), a 14-year-old Golden Retriever whom he rescued from neglect when she was 6 years old.  Greg is hoping to add a Spinone Italiano to his family next year.

Nancy Kemble

PAST President

Nancy works in the Financial Services community, focusing on Financial Planning and Wealth Management. Her job requires her to be able to connect with people and learn about what they need and how to meet those needs, something similar to the job of PADS. Nancy says spreading awareness about PADS through professional connections brings her great joy, humility and satisfaction. To Nancy, PADS means friends and family, but it also means knowing you are making a difference in the world.

Jessica Sanders


Jessica is a designated CPA with many years of expertise. Her background and experience have focused on operational financial analysis on project, department and organizational levels. With a recent focus on team leadership and financial client reporting, her skills will support and help PADS excel in the future. As an avid dog lover, the work PADS does is very meaningful and important to Jessica. She is very excited to help shape the future of PADS.

Kim Gramlich


Kim has worked in the field of Victim Services for over 20 years and has helped introduce Accredited Facility dogs into the field. Kim knows first-hand how having an Assistance Dog can benefit her area of work because she works with PADS Accredited Facility (AFD) Dog Caber every day. She became a member of the Board after discovering PADS while looking for a school that could provide a dog to work with her at the Delta Police Victim Services. Kim has continued to be a member of the Board because of her desire to play a role in PADS’ future.

Melanie Hanson


Melanie is a strategic operational leader with over 17 years of progressive experience in world-class research environments. As a former puppy-sitter and raiser (of Robo placed in 2007), Melanie brings a diverse set of skills and experiences onto the PADS Board.  As a Director since 2007 and Past President (2011-2012), her expertise in strategic planning, communications, grant writing, laboratory and facilities management, budget management, logistics and cost control have supported the continued growth of this beloved organization through thick and thin! Melanie and her family live in Vancouver and look forward to the day when they can raise another PADS dog.