Rick Yount has served in the field of social work for twenty-five years. He has involved Animal Assisted Therapy in his practice for the past fifteen of those years. Rick holds a BA degree from West Virginia University and a MS degree in Assistance Dog Education from Bergin University of Canine Studies (BUCS). He combined his social work knowledge and experience with his service dog training background to develop a novel intervention to help service members with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Rick created the Veterans service dog training therapy program "Paws for Purple Hearts" (PPH) as his Master's culminating project at BUCS.
Rick's new program concept, involving Veterans with PTSD in the training of mobility service dogs for fellow Veterans, yielded very positive results. Rick was the Founder and Director of PPH from 2008 through 2011. He has presented the program concept at forums including the VA National Mental Health Conference and the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies.
Meg Daley Olmert
Director of Research & Development
Meg Daley Olmert is a leading expert on the biology of the human-animal bond. Her ground-breaking book, Made For Each Other: The Biology of the Human-Animal Bond (DaCapo, 2009) is the first book to explain the brain chemistry that flows through—and between—all mammals forging deep social bonds between the species. This newly-discovered brain network also activates a powerful anti-stress response that creates the physical and psychological sense of wellbeing we experience through friendly contact with animals. Meg lectures widely and is a media consultant on this subject. She has also produced and written documentaries for Emmy Award series such as Smithsonian World, National Geographic Explorer, The Discovery Channel Specials, and PBS’ The Living Edens. Meg lives on the Eastern shore of Maryland with her husband and kayaking cats.
Dog Program Director
Molly Morelli earned her BS in Behavioral Psychology at West Virginia University. She has been involved in service dog training for nine years after first working with Golden Rule Assistance Dogs as part of her BA field placement. Molly served as the Dog Program Manager at Bergin University of Canine Studies for six years prior to assuming her position with Warrior Canine Connection.
Director of Communications & Government Relations
Patty Kennedy served on the Staff of the United States Senate for 23 years, including 13 years as an aide to former Senator John Warner (VA). In January 2009, she retired from the Senate Staff to pursue her passion for animals helping people and the human animal bond. Having grown up in the Army, Patty knew immediately after meeting Rick Yount that she wanted to support his efforts to provide service dog training therapy to Combat Veterans suffering from the invisible wounds of war. She served as the Administrator of the Patient Service Dog Therapy Program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center before joining the staff of WCC.
A former puppy raiser for a guide dog school, Patty is the author of Through Otis’ Eyes: Lessons from a Guide Dog Puppy, winner of a Maxwell Award from the Dog Writers Association of America, and Bailey Bymyside: Golden Lessons for Life. Patty and her husband Kevin have two children and live in Vienna, Virginia with their golden retriever.