Directors

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Anne Gittinger, National Board Member, Board Chair Emeritus

Anne Gittinger became involved with Canine Companions because she strongly believed in the mission—a marriage of excellent dog breeding and commitment to helping people with disabilities—and saw an opportunity to further the work of the organization. Read more...
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Barrie Graham, National Board Member

Barrie Graham was an early and fervent admirer of Canine Companions and became involved with the organization in the 1990’s while working at Exchange Bank. Although active with other non-profits providing services to people with disabilities, Canine Companions’ unique focus in teaming dogs with people with disabilities appealed to Barrie. Read more...
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Carolyn Hrach, National Board Member

National and North Central Board Member Carolyn Hrach joined Canine Companions for Independence in 1993 as a puppy raiser. Since joining the organization, Carolyn has raised 12 puppies for the North Central Region of Canine Companions. Read more...
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Chris Kittredge, National Board Member

Inspired in 1989 by an article about Canine Companions in Life Magazine, Chris Kittredge immediately applied to be a puppy raiser. Shortly thereafter, her first puppy arrived and the journey to national board membership in 2007 began. Read more...
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Dennis W. Sproule, National Board Member

Dennis Sproule was matched with Hearing Dog Harris, his first hearing dog, in May 1997. As a national board member, he’s made numerous live and media presentations on behalf of Canine Companions. Read more...
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Emily Williams, National Board Member

In 1989, National Board Member Emily Williams responded to an ad in a local newspaper to adopt a Canine Companions for Independence breeder dog. Since answering that first call, Emily has been a caretaker for 11 Canine Companions female breeder dogs and their 43 litters of puppies. Read more...
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Jean Schulz, National Board Member, Board Chair Emeritus

Former President and Secretary of the Board Jean Schulz became involved with Canine Companions for Independence in 1986. Her late husband, renowned cartoonist Charles Schulz, thought the dogs ‘marvelous,’ and so did Jean. Read more...
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Jill Leverton, National Board Member

Jill is a powerhouse volunteer, a two-time Canine Companions graduate, and a great asset. With her current, successor service dog, Willhemina, Jill gives hundreds of presentations to educate the community about assistance dogs and Canine Companions. Read more...
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John Elliott, National Board Member

Serving on Canine Companions’ national board since 2001, John Elliot is currently chairman of the audit committee and a member of the development committee. John has also served as president of the North Central Region board. Read more...
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John Wm. Hopen, National Board Member

John Hopen is a retired corporate jet captain and lives in Sebastopol, California. He currently enjoys his hobbies of woodworking, cars, flying, golf, fishing, and travel. Of particular interest to John is music and music production. Read more...
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Judge Ed Kinkeade, National Board Member

Judge Ed Kinkeade was appointed to the federal bench of the Northern District of Texas in 2002 by President George W. Bush, where he still serves today. Previously, Judge Kinkeade served as a County District and Appellate Judge in Texas from 1981 to 2002. Read more...
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Juergen Rottler, National Board Member

Juergen Rottler is a proven business executive, inspirational leader, independent director, and advisor. He has served organizations ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, such as Oracle Corporation and Hewlett-Packard. Read more...
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Leslie Hennessy, National Board Member

In 1998, Leslie Hennessy became a puppy raiser for Canine Companions based on her desire to give back to the community in a sustained and positive way. She found the Canine Companions mission “compelling.” For Leslie, the joyful work of raising puppies was an important and wonderful way to share time with her teenage daughter. Read more...
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Mel Gottlieb, National Board Member

Mel Gottlieb joined the national board in 2011. He is a member of the development committee and serves as a corporate ambassador for Canine Companions. Read more...
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Nancy Sawhney, National Board Member

While living in San Diego in 1988, Nancy Sawhney chanced upon a display booth for Canine Companions and was thrilled to realize that a Canine Companions assistance dog could help compensate for her own physical limitations. Read more...
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Robin Sanchez, National Board Member

Robin Sanchez joined Canine Companions for Independence as a volunteer in 2006 after attending a graduation ceremony in Orlando. Robin has volunteered thousands of hours in many roles in the organization.Since 2007, Robin has prepared and served lunch on the first day of Team Training to new students. Read more...
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Russ Gurevitch, D.V.M., National Board Member

Russ Gurevitch is a veterinary surgeon and the owner and chief of staff of Veterinary Referral Surgical Service in Petaluma, California. He has been a Canine Companions donor and providing surgical care for Canine Companions dogs since 1978. Read more...
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Wm. Stephen Boyd, National Board Member

Steve Boyd joined the Canine Companions national board in 2016. He is the chief legal officer for Baylor Scott & White Health. In his capacity as chief legal officer, Steve serves as Baylor’s general counsel and corporate secretary. Read More...