The Warrior Canine Connection team is growing! We are pleased to welcome some new faces to our pack both at our Healing Quarters in Boyds and at the Menlo Park VA in California. We are very excited about the wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise that these new team members bring to our team, please join us in welcoming them on board!
Katherine Kane joined the WCC team in September in a special 11-month role as a volunteer coordinator through AmeriCorps and Volunteer Maryland. In her position, she assists with all things related to volunteer recruitment, including retention and creating and refining systems.
Katherine got involved in the AmeriCorps program because her passion is tied to serving our Veterans. Her plans post-WCC include attending graduate school so she can achieve her career goal to become a military psychologist.
“I really like the mission and the people — it’s been a great experience so far,” said Katherine. “My goal is to be a military psychologist, so this opportunity is an invaluable step in that process. Not to mention being around these puppies every day – that’s definitely an added bonus.”
Katherine grew up in Greensboro, N.C. and attended Guilford College, where she completed a double-major in psychology and criminal justice. She also competed on the school’s tennis and swimming teams.
When not working, Katherine enjoys reading, yoga and she recently started kickboxing.
Jody Neal also joined WCC in September as a dog program administrative assistant.
“What I love about working for WCC is that everyone is working for the same end result and mission,” said Jody. “I love that everyone here loves their job and that each day at WCC is different. Having the dogs and puppies around is truly therapeutic and healing. I have always wanted to give back to Veterans because of what they do for our country, and this is such a rewarding way to do that.”
Jody’s role is part-time, and when she’s not at the WCC Healing Quarters, she can often be found working as a crossing guard for the Montgomery County Police Department.
Jody grew up in the Maryland suburbs and completed her education there; she earned her advertising design degree from Montgomery County Community College and her one-year certification in business administration from the Katharine Gibbs School. She put her experience and degrees to good use by serving in various administrative capacities in the private sector prior to joining WCC.
When not working, Jody enjoys caring for her two horses, Beetle and Galley, and her two Jack Russell Terries, Grizzly and Maizie.
Also joining WCC in September is Service Dog Training Instructor Shelley Smith, who is based out of WCC’s location at the Menlo Park VA.
Shelley has worked in animal welfare her entire professional career; she has vast experience in animal sheltering with dogs and cats, animal intake, behavior, fostering and adoptions and animal-assisted interactions.
She earned her degree in literature from California State University Bakersfield and later continued her education at the San Francisco Academy for Dog Trainers. She says she’s excited to be putting her skills to work with WCC.
“I love it, it’s fantastic,” it actually combines two of my most passionate topics, which are dog training and the welfare and well-being of Veterans,” said Shelley. “I feel incredibly lucky every day to have the chance to do this — to work with Veterans and to use my skills as a dog trainer to help them is a humbling experience, I love it.”
A true animal-lover, Shelley has a 13-year-old Lab from the Oakland Shelter named Enzo and three cats (and, yes, she says they all get along): Caterpillar, Pinot and Elroy.