Our Mission: To use the joy of dog training in support of behavioral therapy professionals in their effort to nurture empathy and nonviolent problem-solving skills.



GOAL 1: To create the infrastructure and resources to support expansion of services in the Portland Metro and surrounding areas.

We identified the following steps to achieve this goal:

Updated: Find a way to have online sessions with the kids

Initial Goal: We need to adapt our normally hands-on sessions to activities that can be done online. We propose this be done by connecting handlers to kids via tablets at both ends. We are actively seeking funding for tablets for each handler, and a smaller set to be located at client facilities, and handlers are exploring activities that adapt well to this new environment.

Result: Thanks to a wonderful grant for the local employees at Boeing, we secured tablets and related supplies. However after many many attempts to work out the problems with connection timing issues, etc. we recognized that this would not be viable way to initiate a relationship between a child and a dog. 

New goal, to be actively pursued as we begin in-person visits:

  • Each handler will have a tablet LOADED with tools and videos to be used as a resource during a visit. E.g., music to dance to, Dog Vision app (shows what dogs sees vs. what humans see), video snippets of how positive training is used throughout the world on ALL species (especially including examples where a child is the handler).
  • A stripped down tablet will be placed at client facilities that request it so that communications can happen between a child and a team THAT HAS ALREADY ESTABLISHED A RELATIONSHIP.

Recruit, train and support more volunteer dog/handler teams!

Steps toward this goal to include but are not limited to:

  • Recruit and train new teams.
  • Streamline and enhance the training/evaluation process so that four teams can be certified in six months or less.
  • Leverage video training capabilities whenever possible
  • Supplement the existing apprenticeship requirement to demonstrate all 3 stages of intervention at a DV shelter with an alternate single day “lightning round” in an environment simulating the shelter.
Create a sustainable financial plan.

Steps toward this goal to include but are not limited to:

  • Finalize a “Grant Application Kit” of up-to- date information for use by all members of the organization reaching out for support.
  • Make every effort to continue increasing our buffer of cash in the Savings Account so we can continue operations during underfunded years. One year buffer now in place.
  • Formalize Policies defining:
    • Management of organizational monies (savings, checking, and credit) – Assigned to TINA
    • Scholarship criteria – Assigned to LINDA – define method for obtaining board approval – majority rule
    • Guidelines for assessing the value of organizational participation in local fundraising and promotional events. Assigned to LINDA – create a basic form with questions that will help the board decide – majority rule
    • Donor relations, from thank-you to keeping the relationship alive with tidbits of news. NEW VOLUNTEER POSITION?
Provide a strong support system for approved S.T.A.R. team handlers.
  • To include:
    • Identify a suitable location and hold regular group practice sessions bi-weekly. Assigned to REGINA/BOB
    • Continue to identify presenters and content for 2-3 continuing education workshops to help S.T.A.R. teams stay on top of their game.
    • Encourage continuing education in related disciplines (scholarships to outside classes/events). Now ongoing policy
    • Move documentation online wherever possible
    • Catalogue ONLINE the lending libraries of books/videos and their location
    • Catalogue ONLINE a props inventory – LINDA to start, others to contribute
GOAL 2: To create and nurture healthy relationships with client organizations.

We identified the following steps to achieve this goal:

Define realistic screening criteria to be used in evaluating and prioritizing various types of potential client relationships.

Types of relationships to include but not be limited to:

  • Ongoing weekly visits at a specific facility, 1 or 2 children at a time (examples: DV shelters, residential treatment facilities) typically over an extended period of time
  • Annually repeated short series of small group classes (example: elementary schools) or multi-week summer schools.
  • Special Projects tailored to match a specific client (example: HomePlate video project)
  • One-time events/sequences for larger groups (examples: Girl Scout summer camp; Adelante Chicas, workshop on “Consent”)
  • One-time very short duration meetings with pairs of children at events.
  • NEW: We have cautiously started meeting with children/young adults on the spectrum and their professionals. We will develop suitable guidelines as we progress.
Do not take on new clients until we have:
  • Applied the previously defined screening criteria
  • Verified that we have appropriately trained teams to support them
Examine each client’s method of connecting with at-risk youths, and where suitable create intervention models that support those methods.
  • Whenever possible, co-train with client staff (e.g., PBIS training)
  • Conduct limited-term Special Projects to experiment with and evaluate the effectiveness of new tactics. Example:
    • Special Project: HomePlate support ( a ) their focus on helping youths prepare for and move into jobs in the real world and ( b ) their support for immigrant Muslim women by creating a monthly dog-training job where the participants help train the dogs for short videos.
Provide clients and potential clients information that clarifies and validates our program.
  • Create a professionally filmed/edited videotape illustrating our process and linking what they see to their own priorities.
  • Create a brochure which succinctly describes in terminology appropriate for therapy professionals what our program does and does not do. This brochure will include the evidence-based assessment by Pacific University.
GOAL 3: Continue to capture all forms, procedures, expenses, guidelines – EVERYTHING needed to intelligently guide others to replicate our program elsewhere

We identified the following steps to achieve this goal:

Make all training content web-accessible
  • All documents and class videos for out Basic Competency Test Preparation classes are now on-line.
Track and Build Contact List
  • Create a list of interested organizations, building on contacts made at ClickerExpo and elsewhere
Create a full-featured workshop on how we work, etc.
GOAL 4: Promote values of diversity, equity, inclusion and access throughout every facet of our organization

We identified the following steps to achieve this goal:

Review all of our hard copy and electronic documents and other communications, both internal and public facing, to ensure that our language is free of negative gender, ethnic, racial, class, and economic stereotypes. As appropriate, use these communications to actively promote DEIA values.
  • We have updated the language in our online recruitment form for HomePlate youths, and the “Report Cards” our child volunteers give incoming teams to offer non-binary pronoun and gender identity choices.
  • We have added a tool on our website that checks for exclusionary language (Yoast SEO’s new opt-in feature) and are working through the pages to correct any problems reported.
Establish a library of DEIA resources and training tools for our handlers and other volunteers to keep them abreast of current issues and effective strategies. Include DEIA discussions as a regular part of meetings.

Existing reqirements for handlers is completion of specific online Oregon Coalition Against Domestic & Secual Violence (OCADsv) classes for Domestic Violence advocates. These classes include:

  • Anti-Oppression, Dismantling Racism, and Cultural Competency:
    Definitions and Dynamics of Oppression
    Tactics of Oppression
    Impacts of Oppression on Survivors and Our Work
    Definitions and Dynamics of Racism
    Racism in Context
    Strategies for Allyship
  • Roles and Responsibilities of a Community Based Advocate
    Types of Advocacy
    Advocacy Skills
    Culturally Appropriate Services
    Crisis Response
    Safety Planning


Actively work to attract and retain handlers and other volunteers who reflect the diversity of our client base. Seek and participate in outreach opportunities within diverse communities.