The Canine Angels Team
Kelly has a Bachelor's degree in sociology with additional studies in communicative disorders and four years of training in sign language and interpreting (ASL and SEE). She has worked in special education at an elementary school district. She has been raising, socializing, and working with assistance dogs since 1998. Kelly was a therapy dog team volunteer with Therapy Dogs International for five years. She has served as an event planner, fund raiser, and Outreach Coordinator for several service dog organizations and therapy dog groups. Kelly arranges and conducts educational programs on service dogs at local schools. She has also volunteered at an animal shelter.
Head Instructor, Dog Trainer
Sandy is a professional dog trainer and instructor, owning her own dog training business since 1993. She has an AA degree and was certified as an Emergency Medical Technician, and she was a Veterinary Technician for 12 years. She has two years of training in sign language (ASL and SEE). Sandy’s devotion to assistance dogs for children began in 1986. Since then she has held the following key positions in service dog organizations: Puppy Raiser Coordinator, Puppy Group Leader, Trainer, Head Trainer, Training Manager, and Instructor. She personally raised 12 puppies to be assistance dogs and trained over 50 dogs that graduated as assistance dogs. She has been certified as an Assistance Dog Instructor by Assistance Dogs International. Sandy is actively involved in dog rescue organizations. She has also trained dogs for Search & Rescue and for movies and commercials. With her busy schedule, Sandy still finds time for Therapy Dog visits to rest homes and care facilities, participating in a horseback riding program for handicapped children, and making service dog presentations at schools and private functions.
Applications Coordinator, Team Training Instructor, Record Keeper
Sheila started teaching dog obedience classes in 1973. She has raised 10 assistance dog puppies. Sheila is member of the Skyline Dog Fanciers of San Mateo County, the San Mateo Dog Training Club, and the Bay Team (a dog agility club). She was an instructor with the San Bruno Dog Obedience School and San Mateo Dog Training Club. Sheila actively participates in therapy dog activities with her two dogs registered with the Delta Society as Pet Partners. Sheila was an evaluator for new teams for Delta Society and is also rated as a “Canine Good Citizen” evaluator for the American Kennel Club (AKC). Sheila actively participates in agility and AKC obedience competitions with her dogs.
Kerri Van Pelt
Puppy Raiser Coordinator, Breeding Coordinator
Kerri's interest in working with children started when she was 14 years old and her younger sister was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, requiring many hospital visits. This gave Kerri first hand experience with pediatric diseases and care from the patient side, which led to a first career in the medical field, working with patients and assisting doctors in surgery.
Kerri went on to work at Disney in Anaheim, CA. She held several positions which included an executive secretary, catering and weddings assistant and even assisting with the opening of Disney's California Adventure. She loved that work, but due to her own recently diagnosed medical condition, she was forced to give up her dream job.
She has always had a love for animals. Fortunately a co-worker at Disney, Kelly Stack (CAST co-founder), was raising puppies for children with disabilities. This was something she could do that would also tie in with her earlier interest in helping children. She started puppy raising, to date she has raised 7 puppies, whelped 3 litters in her home and has fostered many more. She also visits children's hospitals and assisted living homes with Zimmer and Bella who are certified therapy dogs.
Melissa joined our Canine Angels Team in April, 2015. She moved from Arizona to
Oregon for an opportunity to learn more about working with Service Dogs and
special needs kids. Along with her comes her trusty sidekick Spirit, a fuzzy,
loving, shepherd husky cross. She enthusiastically took on her new role as
kennel and training assistant and arrived just in time to attend her first Team
Training. Melissa now has a real feel for everything Canine Angels has to offer.
Her experience includes working at several dog boarding facilities as well as
spending 5 years employed by a rescue dog organization in Northern Oregon. It's
been great having Melissa on board with us and we are happy having her as part
of our "pack."