Our Staff


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.

Allison Davidson

Finance Administrator

Allison manages all day to day accounting, reporting, payroll and human resources requirements. She is also the Breeder Caretaker for Cleopatra. Allison does all her hard work for PADS out of love for the organization and the sense of family that has grown within it. If Allison were an Assistance Dog, she would be released for foraging for crafty things, one of her favourite hobbies along with walks on the beach.

Tara Doherty

Communication Manager

Tara is responsible for making sure PADS is known far and wide, and that the image we’re projecting is a good one. Tara’s been with PADS since 2007 in a variety of capacities: staff, puppy-raiser, breeder-caretaker, etc. and is currently breeder caretaker to the sweet Miss Cadence. She works for us on Fridays, guiding our communication strategy and is supported by the amazing Kaila. If Tara were an Assistance Dog, she would definitely be released for distractibility – though it makes her great at rolling with the punches we invariably throw her way.

Doug Syms

office & volunteer Coordinator

Doug began with PADS as co-raiser to Verdot, and now as raiser and breeder caretaker of Stud Dog Pride. Doug’s position as Office & Volunteer Coordinator means he is the first face you see when you arrive in the office or attend a volunteer info session. His love of dogs is life long—though as a child he had to settle for pictures of them on his drapes due to allergies.

Heather Nicolau

Admin & Event Coordinator
Heather keeps our office running smoothly and efficiently no matter what different projects come up, or how many dogs walk through. She brings a calm, cheerful presence to our our sometimes crazy, chaotic space and makes sure that all the I’s are dotted and T’s crossed.

Kaila Butler

Communication Coordinator

Kaila is responsible for the day-to-day communication, marketing and design at PADS. Working closely with Tara, she ensures that all internal and external communication reinforce our mission. She has yet to meet a dog she didn’t fall in love with and is mom to a 10-year-old ‘Morkie’ named Jasper. Kaila is passionate about communication strategies that makes the world a better place, part of why she feels so blessed to be working for PADS.

Wendy Proudlock

Alberta Development Coordinator

Wendy’s job is to promote PADS, coordinate volunteers and puppies and assist our Alberta branch of Puppy-Raising. Wendy started as a volunteer over ten years ago because she enjoyed working with dogs and learning how they think and grow, and she says now she thinks and breathes PADS. One of her favourite hobbies is creating things (usually for dogs) like elevated dog beds, challenging toys and equipment for training or whelping.


Jackie Clark

Breeding Program Manager

Jackie makes all the magic happen. She is responsible for selecting breeding stock, performing breedings, delivering puppies and supporting volunteer Breeder Caretakers. Jackie has been with us since she was a volunteer in high school, and she says when it comes to working with PADS, you come for the puppies, but stay for the people. If Jackie were an Assistance Dog, she would be released for resource guarding or vocalizing.

Kaylie Foster

Breeding Program Technician

Kaylie is a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) who was hired to help with the breeding program, as well as the veterinary care for the pups in training. Kaylie was first introduced to PADS through her work at Burquitlam Animal Hospital and she quickly fell in love with the dogs and the people involved. She even adopted released PADS dog, Seven! Kaylie is very grateful to be a part of such an amazing organization.

Margaret Hicks

Training Program Manager

Margaret’s job is to oversee the puppy raising and advanced training programs, perform assessments on advanced dogs preparing for placement with clients and train apprentice instructors. Margaret started working with us because she was interested in human and dog partnerships. If Margaret were an Assistance Dog, she would be released for stealing fruits and veggies from her puppy-raiser’s garden, since sometimes dog treats just don’t cut it.

Ashley Siddals

Apprentice Instructor

Miss Ashley is the result of our “village” coming together to hire a new apprentice during the Pure Gold Litter fundraiser last year. She works each day training our advanced dogs in service dog and hearing dog skills. Ashley started her time at PADS as a volunteer in 2013 in our advanced kennels.

Dana Gallagher

Lower Mainland Puppy Raising Supervisor & Advanced Dog Training

Dana Gallagher rejoined the PADS team in 2016, nearly twenty years after volunteering in university. She had her mid life crisis early, leaving her career in communications after realizing her passion lay in working with people and their dogs. You may recognize Dana and her many dogs from their performances with SuperDogs. As a professional trainer, coming from a dog sport background, Dana brings a different perspective to service dog training. Dana thinks she is extra lucky because she gets to work with the raisers and their puppies, and as an advanced trainer.

Heather Kidd

Puppy-Raising Program Manager

Heather oversees the puppy-raising program in Alberta & BC and equips our Puppy Program team to grow and lead our ever growing team of raisers.  In addition to her busy role leading, she also teaches the classes for our Calgary volunteers.

She brings to PADS vast experience in training both dogs and horses and keeps us all on our toes with new techniques and strategies for making our pups successful. She’s mom to the three C’s Cassie, Corbin and Callie. If she were a service dog she’d get top marks for diversity of skills.

Rob Mackay

Advanced Dog Instructor

Rob works with us as an Advanced Dog Instructor, teaching our advanced dogs life changing skills. He has succesfully completed an arduous ADI apprenticeship to have achieved this title. When he’s not training assistance dogs he’s a fan of his lovely wife Nicole and sweet (PADS Released) pup Nova. If Rob were an Assistance Dog, he would definitely be a Labrador (and either would be the most willing service dog ever or would be released for foraging)…don’t let his lean appearance fool you, he can find food from 5 buildings away!

Lisa Davis

Advanced Dog Trainer

Lisa works as an Advanced Dog Trainer at the Burnaby campus. Lisa started as a volunteer with us in 1996 and she says work at PADS is very fulfilling and challenging, and she loves watching the dogs communicate, whether it’s with humans or other dogs. If Lisa were an Assistance Dog, she would be released for dog distraction, since we have way too many cute dogs.

Ron Tymrick

Client Services Manager

Ron teaches team training classes, conducts follow-up visits with clients, provides support for our graduate teams and keeps PADS on track with ADI training and placement standards. Ron has been dedicated to PADS since the very beginning because he says it allows him the opportunity to help people live a more confident and fulfilling life. If Ron were an Assistance Dog, he would be released for prey drive, because sometimes its hard to resist the chase.

Tara Doherty

Puppy Kindergarten

Tara’s been with PADS since 2007 in a variety of capacities: staff, puppy-raiser, breeder-caretaker, etc. and is currently breeder caretaker to the sweet Miss Cadence. She teaches puppy kindergarten to our newest recruits (human and canine) and loves helping our volunteers as they begin their journeys with their little pups.

Our Board

Nancy Kemble


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.

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.

Jessica Sanders


Jessica is a designated CPA with many years of expertise. Her background and experience has focused on operational financial analysis on project, department and organizational levels. With recent focus on team leadership and financial client reporting her skills will support and excel PADS 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.

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.

Rick DeHart


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 to 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.

Kim Gramlich


Kim has worked in the field of Victim Services for over 20 years, and has helped introduce Canine Assisted Intervention dogs into the field. Kim knows first-hand how having an Assistance Dog can benefit her area of work because she works with PADS’ dog Caber everyday. 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 times! Melanie and her family live in Vancouver and look forward to the day when they can raise another PADS dog.

Matthew Mills


Matthew joined PADS in 2000 and has been involved with both the Vancouver and Calgary operations. Since 2010, Matthew has been in Calgary, working with start-ups to achieve scalable growth, and struggling companies to turn them around to operational efficiency and profitability. Matthew has served on the Board from both cities, and brings his entrepreneurial perspective to the table. He is a Project Manager for a commercial construction company in addition to running two small businesses. From the first puppy that Jackie put in his arms to raise (Barley), he was hooked. Matthew says he “joined for the dogs, and stayed for the people.”

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