East Bay Chapter

Northwest Region

East Bay Chapter Leadership Team

Pam Durkin, President

Responsible for providing leadership for the chapter, leadership teams and committees, including presiding at leadership, chapter and strategic planning meetings. The president also acts as liaison between the regional center and the chapter and works with chapter to attain goals.

Pam has been donating to Canine Companions for 6 years. After retiring 3 years ago, she started volunteering with the East Bay Chapter. Been a chair for DogFest all three years and Vice President of the chapter for the last two. Often puppy sits for our dogs and litters.

Karen Cervantes, Vice President

Provides support to the president and committees in needed areas, and focuses specifically on leadership team and committee recruitment, development and mentorship.

Karen was first introduced to Canine Companions as a puppy raiser back in 1998.  In 2014, she was reconnected with the organization and East Bay Chapter when her family became Breeder Caretakers to Minerva. They have had 4 litters to date and are looking forward to more miracles in the making.

Dawn Abrahamson, Secretary

Responsible for keeping records of leadership team meetings, chapter meetings and maintaining the chapter yahoo group.

Dawn is a Graduate with Hearing Dog Every. She graduated on March 3, 2017 and has been involved with the East Bay Chapter since April 2017.

Claudia Bensley, Treasurer

Responsible for managing receipts and requests for payments and tracking chapter income and expenses.

Claudia became interested in Canine Companions two years ago and has chosen it as her retirement crusade, being a dog lover and prior Physical Therapist. She has two male breeders, Willard and Bowie.

Nancy Missildine, Community Awareness and Outreach Chair

Responsible for researching opportunities and creating a planned approach for opportunities to educate the public. Engaging and supporting Chapter volunteers for events is important to the success of this Committee and these events.

Nancy started volunteering for Canine Companions for independence in 2012 as a puppy raiser.  She is currently co-raising Casey with Cheri Van Pelt .  Nancy is also a  Breeder Caretaker for Genie and her daughter Tigris. Tigris is expecting her second litter in March 2018. 

Christine Strena, Speakers Bureau Chair

Responsible for coordinating guest speakers for presentations for the chapter and for keeping a library of current documents/presentations for events.

Christine has been involved with Canine Companions since 1998 when she discovered they provided assistance dogs for people with Multiple Sclerosis. She is our Speakers Bureau Chair and is happy to help get the right speakers into your organizations to learn more about us and the great work our dogs and volunteers are doing.  Many of our volunteers have joined us after meeting some of these wonderful dogs at these events so please contact Christine to set up a speaking engagement in your organization. 

Sharon Mosbaugh, Breeder Caretaker Coordinator

Provide support for and encourage communication between breeder caretakers. Responsible for keeping list current and tracking litters annually.

Sharon started with Canine Companions and her first pup, Urseline II "Sally" in 1998.  She graduated as a facility dog and amazingly came back to her to work alongside her as a teacher’s helper in school.  She and her husband Bill raised another pup, Dundee "Shug" and he, Sally and Rose worked in her classroom daily until she retired. When they moved to the East Bay she felt there was a need for a local chapter, and she obtained permission to start one. She feels such satisfaction to see how our chapter has grown and flourished here. Currently Bill and Sharon have great fun co-raising 3 CCI breeders and having pups in their house most of the time.

Cheri Van Pelt, Puppy Raiser Coordinator and Trainer

Responsible for training classes for the chapter, maintaining current puppy raiser list and puppy raiser communication.

Cheri started volunteering for Canine Companions for Independence in 1999 as a puppy raiser. She is currently raising Commander who enters professional training in Feb 2018 and she is co-raising Casey with Nancy Missildine. Cheri is also the East Bay contract trainer and teaches puppy classes on some Saturday's each month.

Natalie Abbott, Graduate Coordinator

Research and develop support programs for graduates including, but not limited to: scheduling opportunities for graduate dogs to play, working with graduates and staff to develop skill- building workshops and welcome new graduates. Responsible for maintaining graduate list.

Natalie has been partnered with Service Dog Cassius for five years and has been an active member of the chapter since then. She has also helped with DogFest many of those years.

Dave Lasker, Chapter Website and Monthly Newsletter Coordinator

Maintain chapter website and calendar, add new stories to our webpage and publish/distribute monthly newsletters.

Dave has been involved with Canine Companions since 2009. He became friends with a graduate who has a Service Dog and they invited him to Canine Companion’s annual fundraiser in Santa Rosa, where there was a talk on puppy raising. He had recently retired, and was trying to figure out what to do with his life now that he was all grown up. He is now raising his 6th puppy, Brinks.

Rachel Sheppard, Facebook, Instagram and Meetup Group Publisher

Responsible for publishing chapter Facebook and Instagram posts in alignment with Canine Companions standards. Also responsible for posting pertinent events to chapter meetup group.

Rachel originally learned about Canine Companions for Independence during her time in the Animal Science & Management program at UC Davis. In 2014, while attending Santa Clara University Graduate School of Business she was looking for local volunteer opportunity where her social media skills could be useful, and found a perfect opportunity with Canine Companions for Independence East Bay Miracles.

Andria Dickson, Chapter Historian

Responsible for maintaining annual summary information on the East Bay Chapter for historical purposes.