Who We Are

Carole J. Shay, LPC

After training service dogs as a puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) over a 10-year period, Carole, along with husband Dodd, founded Alaska Assistance Dogs (AAD) in 2001 to bring service dogs to Alaskans with special needs. Carole was a ranger managing visitor centers and environmental education programs for the U.S. Forest Service in Bishop, California, when she attended a recreation training oriented towards special needs vacationers. One of the speakers used a wheelchair and talked about CCI; Carole signed up to become a puppy raiser. Within two months she had her first puppy… and as they say, the rest is history. Carole trained with Dr. Bonnie Bergin of Assistance Dog Institute (now Bergin University of Canine Studies) in Santa Rosa, CA. Dr. Bergin founded the concept of service dogs in 1975 and started CCI. Alaska Assistance Dogs specializes in Therapeutic Service Dog Training (TSDT), a program incorporating therapy into service dog training to promote healing and improve mental health for children, teens and adults.

Carole has a BA in psychology/sociology from Whittier College, BS in environmental sciences from Sierra Nevada College, MSCP in Counseling Psychology from Alaska Pacific University, and is a licensed Psychological Counselor in Alaska. She has an extensive background with animals, both domestic and exotic, as a San Diego Zoo keeper, Project Wild and Project Wildlife volunteer, Veterinary Technician, and volunteer or employee for animal shelters in Alaska and California. As a clinical therapist, Carole incorporated service dogs and service dog training into her therapy with children, teens and adults in her own practice, Head, Heart & Tails, LLC, and as an employee of Alaska Children’s Services and Alaska Family Services. Carole has enjoyed traveling the world since college from China to Africa, most countries in Europe plus extensive travel in the United States.

Dodd C. Shay

Dodd grew up in a small town outside Philadelphia, PA, called Rose Valley. He enlisted in the Navy in 1963 and visited many exotic ports, such as Cannes, Athens, Barcelona and Istanbul, on the U.S.S Saratoga CVA 60. Dodd’s working career began after two years at the Antonelli School of Photography in Philadelphia; the call of the wild took him to Alaska to homestead and help build the Alaska pipeline. His long career in construction and building inspection culminated as a business owner in Wasilla, AK. Although retired, Dodd still is involved in pushing for higher earthquake standards and compliance in the Mat-Su Valley.

Dodd became a service dog trainer in his own right in 2010 after attending Dr. Bonnie Bergin’s summer service dog trainer’s seminar. Dodd is training service dogs full time and working to make AAD a self- sustaining nonprofit. Dodd’s special service dog interests include diabetic-alert dogs, dogs to assist individuals with Autism and cancer-alert dogs. Dodd observed that research indicated dogs are capable of detecting breast, bladder and lung cancer as much as four months before modern medical equipment, but few are currently being trained.