* Indicates that they are currently serving on the Board of Directors
ABOUT Josephine DeAngelis – President*
Josephine and her Bulldog Lucy and Tessa are advocates for reading appreciation in our community and the value and freedom it holds. They have quite the following at local libraries.
They hope to increase the joy of reading by engaging children to read to Lucy, Tessa and our Angel Readers.
Lucy has over 325 visits and her stories can be found on Facebook and YouTube at Lucy’s Library.
The newest addition to her family is her rescue Tessa, an American bulldog mix. Tessa has become a therapy dog as well in 2021 and is quite the happy pup.
Josephine is retired from working in cardiac safety for clinical trials where she performed critical analysis and presented to sites worldwide. She has instructed dance classes to children for 11 years both competitive and for enjoyment. When not working, she, Lucy and Tessa can be found in her garden with her husband Jerry.
For the past 8 years, Josephine and her dogs attend rally classes weekly at the Canine Academy.
As President her main goal is to bring members together so that we can continue to bring the benefits of comfort and joy to our community.
As a CGC evaluator and therapy evaluator for Angel on a Leash she values the importance of on going training for handlers and their champions and provides mentorship to all members.
ABOUT Michelle Sparling - VP and acting Secretary*
Michelle is the Vice President of AOAL. Currently Michelle is also filling the role of secretary as we search for a permanent secretary.
Michelle searched for a dog for many years. Being allergic to most fur babies, she was thrilled to discover she was not allergic to the Portuguese Water Dog breed and welcomed Maverick to the family. Being an active dog, Michelle knew Maverick needed a job to do and pursued therapy work. Maverick became a therapy dog in September, 2019 and has been involved in children’s reading programs. Michelle is eager for the pair to explore more therapy work opportunities. In Maverick’s spare time, he enjoys visiting with all of his neighbors both human and dogs alike, going for long walks, jumping in big piles of leaves, romping through creeks and walking in the snow.
Michelle works for Networks for Training and Development, Inc., a training and consulting non-profit with strong ties to the disability community.
ABOUT Ellen Idelson - Treasurer*
Ellen is an accountant by trade. She will be retiring in April from the Philadelphia ophthalmology firm where she has been working for the last 18 years.
Ellen has been an active volunteer for a number of organizations including the New Jersey based ARF (Animal Rescue Force) and docent for Graeme Park, the only existing provisional governor's mansion in Pennsylvania.
Ellen has a connection to AOAL through her husband Ira, the AOAL website administrator, and their dog, Thor. It was Ellen's urging that prompted Ira to get Thor certified for therapy work. Ellen is a Champion Support member.
We welcome Ellen to AOAL
ABOUT Linda Weingard –Membership / Event Coordinator*
Linda is a Registered Nurse and has worked at the American Red Cross for 35 years. She has been actively involved with AOAL from the start.
Linda is an avid animal lover, her menagerie has included reptiles, fish, spiders, rodents, birds, pot-belly pigs, cats and dogs. She currently has an African Grey parrot, a Sulcata tortoise, a Blue Tongue Skink, a Flemish Giant bunny, and a large Koi pond.
This crowd is rounded out with 3 dogs. Abby, who was deserted in the woods as a puppy. Torga is a Golden/Lab mix puppy that Linda is training to be a service dog for Canine Companions for Independence.
Linda and Phoebe, a Boxer/Pit mix started their therapy work in 2019. Phoebe especially loves going to the elementary school and interacting with children. You will see them at senior facilities, events and wherever they are needed. Linda's grandchildren, Colin and Alyssa, love to help during Therapy dog training and testing. They are great "distracters". Linda lives in Bensalem with her husband Jim.
ABOUT Shirley Miyahara – Liaison*
We are very excited to have Shirley on the AOAL board. AOAL members will all benefit from her positive, cheerful attitude. Her expertise with training and knowledge with the AKC makes her the perfect fit to round out our board.
Shirley has been training dogs personally for over 25 years. She has competed in the AKC obedience ring and in the sport of Schutzhund with her dogs. She has earned titles in both rings and has competed with her dog Scout in Agility. Scout was also a therapy dog. Shirley has been working at The Canine Academy since 2000. She is a member of APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers). She is also certified as a Pet Dog Trainer by the CCPDT (Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers). Shirley is certified in Canine CPR by the Red Cross and is an American Kennel Club CGC (Canine Good Citizen) Evaluator as well as an evaluator for AOAL therapy dog testing. Shirley currently is a Champion Support Member and is looking to bring one of her dogs into the therapy field again.