Board of Directors

The TPOC board members work hard to enhance the quality of life throughout all of Canada.

The Dogs

Judy Sauvé, Chair and Founder

Founder of TPOC, Judy has participated in therapy dog visitation for almost twenty-five years.  Judy is a strong advocate of the benefits of pet visitation.  She enjoys any opportunity to introduce TPOC to communities and new members.  As a Team Leader and Evaluator,  she finds it extremely gratifying to evaluate prospective therapy dogs with their handlers and get them started in this wonderful activity.  Judy resides in Hawkesbury with her husband, Mike, of 49 years.  She shares her home with a very affectionate DLH cat, Missy, a TPOC therapy cat – aka The Boss.  Judy enjoyed visiting with five of her dogs.  Her Sheltie, Maggie, is the founding dog of TPOC’s visitation program.  Over the years she has visited with Goldens, Shelties and a Papillon.  Judy works at a funeral home and is a certified prosthesis fitter for breast cancer survivors.  She enjoys motorcycle touring and spending time with her children and grandchildren.

Diane McTaggart

Dian McTaggart, Vice/Past Chair

Dian has been a member of TPOC since 2003.  She established the Ottawa team and continues to manage the team today.  Dian has two Retrievers – Cody, a Golden Retriever and Benjamin, a Black Labrador Retriever.  Cody recently passed the evaluation and will begin visits shortly.  Dian is a strong believer in the benefits of pet therapy visits and has introduced visits at Algonquin College, and Carleton/Ottawa Universities.  These programs have been very successful.  She looks forward to bringing her skill set to the role of Vice/Past Chair.

In addition to working full-time, Dian is a certified TTouch practitioner, a graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy and is a Clicker Training Partner.  Dian participates in agility, Rally Obedience and has begun classes in scenting.

Lacy and I

Juli Balinsky, Secretary and Director of Evaluators

Juli has been a TPOC member of the Barrie Team since 2011 when she found herself looking for more  enrichment in her life.  Juli has steadily increased her responsibility within Therapeutic Paws of Canada.  From the role of Newsletter Editor, to Evaluator, Secretary and now as Director of Evaluators, Juli is an asset to the organization.  She brings over 25 years of administrative, sales and marketing experience as well as strong organizational and interpersonal skills to her various roles along with her passion for rescue and responsible pet ownership.  She attended York University working towards a Bachelor of Administrative Studies.  She shares her home with her husband of 25 years, Alan, her daughter Ashley and her two dogs,  Great Pyrenees Lacy who is child certified and her Leonberger Harry who is also a therapy dog with TPOC.


Lucas Ng, National Treasurer

Lucas is a graduate from the University of Toronto with a double major in Neuroscience and Biochemistry. He currently works at the Ontario Brain Institute as a Program Officer, where he works closely with universities and companies in the neuroscience space. Previously, he was a Teaching Assistant for introductory life sciences courses and was also a volunteer at an organic synthesis lab. However, despite his passion for science, his love for dogs is unmatched (specifically for Doberman Pinschers).

With his acquired business experience and enthusiasm for helping animals, Lucas will use his experience that he has gained from working in the not-for-profit sector to help the TPOC in managing its financial reporting and donations in addition to ensuring that the organization is in compliance with governmental tax regulations.


Michele Peddle, Director of Team Leaders

Michele is retired from the new home construction industry after 21 years experience in the GTA.  She started out as a Customer Service Manager for over 1,000 homes and completed her career as a Finish Superintendent.  She is married with 3 children and 4 grandchildren.

Michele has been involved with TPOC since 2010.  She has visited in hospitals, nursing homes and currently at Ontario Shores Center for Mental Health Sciences in Whitby.  As the Co-Team Leader for Durham Region, Team Leader for Bowmanville and District Team Leader for Ontario, Michele has assisted in the Evaluation process and training of 35 new Teams in her area.

Jasmine, Michele’s 6 year old Pooh-Pom has been Michele’s visiting partner since joining TPOC.  Jasmine is a Certified Therapy Dog, and now a Child Certified Therapy dog.  She started visiting at the age of 2.  Jasmine has 5 levels of obedience training and 1 level in trick training.  Jasmine is known as the “boss” locally, as she has helped Michele mentor all 35 new Teams.

Sharon McKeil, Director

Sharon possesses a diversity of administrative experience demonstrating time management, organizational skills and strong interpersonal skills. As well as earning an Early Childhood Education Diploma and Ontario Teachers Certificate, she successfully completed a course in Computer Business Applications Specialist. Sharon is the President of BARK (Bytown Association for Rescued Kanines). Each year Sharon organizes a fundraiser Walk-a-Thon in Ottawa for BARK – a no kill rescue group. This is an extremely successful event and all proceeds are used to assist in re-homing and rehabilitating rescued dogs.

Marg McEwen’s loving companion Duke

Marg McEwen, Director of Marketing

Marg has had a lifetime of experience with both 2 and 4-legged animals! A graduate of McGill University with a B.Sc. in Agriculture and of Queen’s University with a B.Ed., she has always valued the human-animal bond. For over 35 years she has owned/trained her own Labrador Retrievers. Out of this respect for the breed, Casey’s Cause (offering advice and assistance to guardians and rescue organizations) was created in memory of an exceptional rescued Lab, who was a TPOC member and left his paw prints on the hearts of those they visited. Marg and her young Lab, Duke, continue to visit the Veterans’ Hospital in Ste Anne de Bellevue. Her next goal – to achieve an open-door policy for pet therapy in the Quebec school system – is in the early stages of acceptance and development.


Lise Laurin, Director of Membership

Lise is a retired employee of Bell Canada.  Her career spanned over 30 ½ years with the last 20 years of as an Executive Assistant for Assistant Vice-Presidents and General Managers.

Lise resides in Quebec, near Hawkesbury, and shares her home with her husband Richard to whom she has been married over 45 years, their wonderful little dog, Max, who just turned 6 years old,  2 lovely cats, Rominet and Moustache who are now 14 & 10 respectively.  She also has a dove who is one happy bird or else thinks life is one big joke as she laughs all the time and a lovely little canary who sings his little heart out day in and day out.  What a beautiful sound!

Lise also helps her husband’s French speaking customers who need help with translation or interpretation with the office in the States.

Lise has always had animals and is an avid animal lover.  She joined TPOC in Nov 2011 and really enjoys volunteering with this organization!



Irene Valmas, Director of Communications & Public Relations

Irene graduated from York University with a BA (Honors) in Kinesiology and Health Sciences.   Irene is Founder of Core Kinetics Fitness, Wellness and Exercise Rehabilitation in Toronto.  She is a Fitness/Lifestyle Consultant, Pilates and Yoga Instructor, Personal Trainer as well as a Nutrition Consultant.  Irene has developed health and fitness programs with Sick Kids Hospital and has participated as guest speaker as part of the alternative health unit for the Toronto District School Board.  She has experience composing educational packages and handouts, as well as, business and program proposals.  Irene will share her experience in management of social media with TPOC.


Mark Grant, Director of Fundraising

A retired business executive Mark has been involved with dogs since 1976 owing and showing Saint Bernards in Canada and the USA. Mark has extensive experience managing All Breed Championship Dog Shows and Trials, is the President of the Saint Fanciers of Canada and Past President of the Halifax Kennel Club. Mark and his Saint Bernard Hercules joined TPOC in May of 2008. Today Mark and his TPOC Certified Dog Coal (another Saint Bernard) visit nursing homes, long term care facilities, high schools and participate in the TPOC Paws To Read (R) Program hosted by the Halifax Regional Library.

As the Team Leader and Evaluator for the TPOC Halifax Team Mark is actively involved promoting benefits of Pet Therapy Programs and evaluating new prospective therapy dogs and their handlers in the Halifax area.

Mark and wife live in Bedford, Nova Scotia.