With our large Newfoundland therapy team based in the mountains of Western North Carolina, and throughout the country, we spread hope and healing to those who are protecting and caring for others, Veterans, Military families, Firefighters, EMS workers, doctors, nurses, and other essential heroes. They need our help.
Suffering exists in our communities as a result of illness, trauma, substance abuse, and the existing systems that perpetuate inequality. We embrace inclusion and celebrate diversity, for only by unique perspectives and life experiences can we truly help every person, who needs our gentle giants.
First of its kind in the country, led by Patti Sutherland, at Owen Highschool in Buncombe County, NC, this unique program started with a goal of reducing high school dropout statistics for at-risk teens and ended up boasting a 100% graduation rate. The Hudson Ambassador program graduates are paying forward that gift by joining our Newfie Therapy team.
Co-Founder Patti Sutherland is a national Animal-Assisted therapy expert with 25 years of dog training experience. She worked as a teacher and public education administrator and is a former President of the Southeastern Newfoundland Club. She's been training and caring for giant Newfoundlands for more than 20 years, and her Newfies have earned top awards at the Westminster and National dog shows. Her team of 8 Therapy dogs (with five more in training!) are making a difference every day!
Co-Founder Lisa Schiller is an award-winning Sundance filmmaker with over 20 years of operational leadership, marketing, and non-profit management experience. Her work with her therapy dog partner Chewie, helped inspire the mission of the organization.
Co-Founder Benita Edds is a US Olympian and a nationally renowned trainer of Newfoundlands in obedience, water rescue, and draft training. She serves on the Newfoundland Club of America's Working Dog Committee and is a National Judge. Her Kennel TimberKnoll Newfoundlands have produced a #1 Newfoundland nationally, 'Amelia', and her Newfies have earned over 300 AKC & NCA titles.
Kajal Schiller identified the Newfoundland dog as the breed she wanted to train in therapy and water rescue work to help her mother overcome a life-threatening brain tumor. Since that time, she's volunteered hundreds of hours helping ensure the foundation's success. She's currently attending Princeton University, focusing on Global Health.
Brian Benton puts his MBA on TimberKnolls Spirit Cove's board of directors, serving as our Treasurer. He works for Duke Energy and has served in many volunteer positions, including Assistant Cub Master for Cub Scouts, serving as the treasurer of the board for Socrates Academy. Brian is an Eagle Scout and has a passion for working with Newfies and helping people.
Ken Freeman is a retired USAF Colonel who leads our advisory team in regards to designing our Veterans assistance programs. During Ken's career with the USAF, he led a large training group that included working dog teams from across all military branches, making him uniquely qualified to understand the positive impact of working animals on the lives of Veterans. Ken has led several large military and industry organizations with over 30,000 people and budgets exceeding $250 million during his professional career.
The organization is dedicated to all of the Veterans and first responders in our families. Including Jonathan Edds, who lost his life in Iraq and all those who have served or have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.