Riley’s Angels began after the loss of Riley, Lesley’s first therapy dog. For years, they had visited nursing homes together, where Lesley had witnessed the amazing impact Riley had on residents. To honor Riley and the work she did, Lesley started training therapy dogs to work in hospice and began to research the human-canine bond to substantiate the anecdotal effects she observed (lower blood pressure, less pain meds required, etc.). She then adopted Grace and Chance, who passed all of their certifications at 10 months, and spent their careers working in hospice, with veterans, and in local schools (reading programs). It should be noted that Chance was born deaf, so Lesley learned and then taught him sign language (ASL). Chance was an especially gifted therapy dog and together they used Chance’s unique gifts to reach children, especially those with special needs.
Lesley has trained hospice therapy dogs for 10 years and volunteered in a local hospice organization for those years. Her formal education, an EMBA (emphasis in Servant Leadership) and MEd (concentration in Adult Learning Theory) supports her role in Riley’s Angels (let’s face it, effective dog training is as much about teaching people as it is dogs). She earned a certificate in Animal Assisted Therapy from the University of New Hampshire, her CPDT-KA certification and is an evaluator for several AKC programs, including S.T.A.R. Puppy, Canine Good Citizen, CGC Advanced, and CGC Urban. She is also an evaluator for the AKC Temperament Test and for all levels of Trick Dog certification and a member of the Association for Professional Dog Trainers (APDT). Lesley is a certified Pet First Aid instructor.