VICKY SPADONI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Vicky has devoted her career to advocating and helping charitable organizations thrive! She has held both long term fundraising and executive leadership positions with charities such as; The Ontario Lung Association, MitoCanada Foundation, The Children's Safety Village of Brant, Operation Lift and now Autism Dog Services.
Vicky resides with her husband Rick and son Adam in Brantford, ON and her step daughter Meagan lives in Hamilton, ON. Vicky and her husband rescue dogs and give them a life of love and respect.
Contact Vicky with your fundraising ideas, she would love to hear from you!
ALLISON SAVARD, DIRECTOR, CLIENT SERVICES
Allison began her interest in the Service Dog field when she began volunteering for the first program in the world to train and place service dogs for children with autism in 1998. In 2002, Allison began her career in the Autism Service Dog industry running a Puppy Program and went on to complete her Apprenticeship Tranining Program to train and place Autism Service Dogs.
Allison graduated with a degree in English from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2002.
Allison joined the ADS team in 2009 to continue her work with children, families and service dogs. Since 2009, Allison has collaborated with other staff to achieve charity status for ADS, accreditation with Assistance Dogs International and has led several special projects for ADS; including the development of manuals and videos for families and educators working with service dogs. Allison currently works part-time for ADS and is responsible for the effective coordination of all things related to families; including those interested in obtaining more information about acquiring a service dog, families on our wait list and families who currently have service dogs. Allison also spends part of her time training future service dogs, researching and writing grants for ADS.
HELEN PRINOLD, PUPPY RAISER COORDINATOR
B. Comm., M.Sc. Animal Behaviour, CPDT-KA
We welcome Helen to the ADS team!
SERENA IVANOVSKIS, TRAINER
Serena was raised with her mom's Irish Wolfhound which she has now successfully bred for over 30 years. Serena entered in the conformation and obedience world at a very young age competing with many different breeds of dogs. She has volunteered as a Behaviourist for several rescues over the years, Serena has also worked in the private industry doing behaviour modification for private clients.
Serena's passion is training working dog breeds. She started over 15 years ago working for a professional K9 trainer learning how to train and handle different types of detection dogs (explosive, arson, drug), Serena's career then expanded to the Toronto area where I was an explosives dog trainer/handler for a private security company for one of the first full time explosives detection dog programs in the city.
Serena also assisted with training the Patrol Dog Handlers and their K9 partners.
Serena has also worked in the private pest control industry training and handling bed bug detection dogs for the Global K9 Detection Services.
When she's not training service dogs she trains and competes with one of her own dogs in a Protection Sport called PSA.
Serena loves to learn and continues to expand her knowledge by travelling all over North America for seminars and workshops.
ERIN FINOCHIO, TRAINER
Erin is a professional dog trainer with over 15 years of experience. Upon graduation in 2003 from Triple Crown Academy for Professional Dog Trainers in Texas, Erin was hired on as an instructor in the school. She has taught in many different disciplines of dog training from basic through advanced obedience and behavior modification, to dog sports such as agility and scent detection. Additionally, she has experience in training Service Dogs for Autism and PTSD. Erin is also a Registered Practical Nurse who worked in the Mental Health field. She is excited to have the opportunity to bring her nursing skills together with her knowledge and love of dog training.
During her downtime Erin volunteers with a local animal rescue organization. At home she has two dogs of her own. She enjoys training and competing with her young German Shepherd Dog in Schutzhund and Scent Detection. Her smaller and older Pomeranian prefers to lounge around and cuddle. When not spending time with dogs Erin, her husband, and their two children enjoy travelling and sports.
Autism Dog Services is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of voluntary community members.
Board Members - 2018
Mike Craig, Chair
Nikki Dobben, Vice-Chair
Husain Gilani - Treasurer
Jordan Pelkmans - Secretary
Fostering the integration of children with autism by training, placing and supporting dogs that offer safety, companionship and independence.
Autism Dog Services (ADS) was founded in 2007 by Wade Beattie, a pioneer in the autism service dog field. In 2013, ADS achieved accreditation with Assistance Dogs International and is also a member of the Canadian Association of Guide and Assistance Dog Schools. ADS makes a very positive impact on the lives of children and their families and is honoured to serve the community with its strong values.
Who We Serve
ADS is a unique and highly effective provider of service dogs for children in between the ages of 3-18 with autism and related disorders in most parts of Southwestern Ontario. All interested applicants have the right to be considered to receive a service dog. Service dogs for children with autism is one of the fastest growing service dog programs in the world. In the 1990’s, 1 in 250 children were diagnosed with autism. Today 1 in 65 children are diagnosed with autism. Since ADS began in 2007, the organization has placed over 85 service dogs.
Each ADS service dog enables a child, who may otherwise feel isolated, to build self-esteem and to fully participate in school and community life.