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 Dong

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 for nearly ten years in a variety of capacities: staff, puppy-raiser, breeder-caretaker, etc. and is currently raising 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

BC Development Coordinator

Doug began with PADS as co-raiser to Verdot, and now as raiser and breeder caretaker of Pride. Doug’s position as Development Coordinator has him actively promoting and building awareness of the PADS mission and amazing dogs. He also volunteers his time to host our bi-monthly Volunteer Information Sessions. 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.

Karen Jimenez

Office & Volunteer Coordinator
Karen keeps our office running smoothly and efficiently no matter what different projects come up, or how many dogs walk through. Karen started at PADS as an intern, but decided to take on a full-time job because she enjoys working somewhere that changes people’s lives. If Karen were an Assistance Dog, she would be released for social distraction, something that is easy to achieve with our staff.

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 9-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.

Lisa Davis

Canine Programs Coordinator

Lisa works directly with the administration of the puppy program as well as the support of training of our puppies throughout Metro Vancouver. 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.

Tara Dong

Puppy Kindergarten

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

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.

Heather Kidd

Alberta Puppy-Raising Supervisor

Heather oversees the training and development of our puppies and breeding dogs on the ground in Calgary. 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

Apprentice Instructor

Rob works with us as an Apprentice Instructor, teaching our advanced dogs life changing skills. 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!

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 ensuring that our advanced dogs are happy, healthy and cared for. Ashley began volunteering with PADS in 2013 in our advanced kennels.

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.

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.

Christine Coletta


Christine has been involved with PADS since January 2011, when a friend talked her into attending a puppy class. One class and she was hooked on the great work that PADS does and the wonderful people that she met there. A few months later Christine was appointed to the board, where she remains today! Since becoming involved with PADS Christine and her husband Steve Lornie (through their business Okanagan Crush Pad) have proudly sponsored three PADS dogs, Summerland, Garnet and recently Gamay as well as supporting countless fundraising events and PADS functions. Christine splits her time between her home in North Vancouver and her vineyard and winery business in Summerland, where a few retired PADS dogs can be found greeting guests at their vineyard.

Rob Walker


Rob brings to PADS a wealth of business experience and expertise from his role as the assistant general manager of Eagleridge GM. Introduced to PADS by fellow board member and neighbour Rick (who serves as board Vice-President), Rob has served as Board as Treasurer since 2014. In addition to his business acumen, Rob’s love of dogs and giving back in the community made him a perfect fit for helping to shape PADS’ future.

Rob lives in Coquitlam with his lovely wife Tina, two dogs Piper and Rooney.

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.

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