Board of Directors

President – Linzey Zoccola  – Dog Trainer On Wheels <Linzey Zoccola is a technology dependent, power wheelchair user living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. After receiving her first service dog in 2001 she became an active volunteer in the industry. Linzey has attended many Clicker Expos (innovative animal training expo), and various other training seminars by leaders in the industry such as Kathy Sdao. Linzey has volunteered with Penn State Medical School as a patient in the annual Patient Project since 1998. She was an intern prior to becoming the Puppy Program Coordinator at Susquehanna Service Dogs from 2006 until 2009 when she founded Phoenix Assistance Dogs.

Treasurer – Elizabeth Barna  – Trailblazer

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Elizabeth Barna has led an accomplished life both professionally and personally all while leading the path as an individual with a disability. She was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy in 1982. Elizabeth used the assistance of two service dogs from Canine Partners for Life from 1994 until 2012. Elizabeth graduated from Immaculata University in 2003 with a BA in English and a minor in Communications. Upon graduation in 2003, Elizabeth moved in with her fiance, Joe, and began working with JEVS Human Services. In 2013, she left JEVS to teach her son full time at home. In 2004 Elizabeth’s lifelong dream, something every doctor said couldn’t be done – happened when she gave birth to her healthy baby boy, Max. Max is a bright and eager 10 year old and Elizabeth’s pride and joy. She currently volunteers as a moderator on social media for Phoenix Assistance Dogs.
Secretary – Gail Diem  – From Babies to Puppies, She’s Got Ya Covered

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Gail Diem has more than 20 years of experience on numerous committees for the Muscular Dystrophy Association including Parent Advisories, Shamrock sales, Gala’s, 16 years of Ride For Life chair member, and 16 years on local Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon committees. Beginning in 1998 Gail built an in-home Daycare which was a 4 Keystone STAR facility from the ground up. While in the field still, Gail earned her Early Childhood and School Age Professionals (CKC)/ Pennsylvania Big Ideas Framework (Big Ideas) and Individual Professional Development Plan for Early Childhood and School-Age Professionals (IPDP) certificates. From 2001 – 2009 Gail raised more than 10 puppies for Susquehanna Service Dogs. In 2008 Gail left the early childhood industry in order to care full time for her daughters medical needs. She has raised 6 dogs for Phoenix Assistance Dogs of Central PA.

Officer – Dr. Amanda McKenna Lee, OM  – Doctor by day, outdoor enthusiast by night, and overall dog lover.

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After graduating from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2009, Dr. Amanda Lee continued on to her Pediatric Residency at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Lee, who is bi-lingual in English and Spanish is thriving as a Pediatrician at Yakima Valley Farmworkers Clinic in Toppenish, Washington. In her spare time she loves cooking, traveling the world, and hiking and camping with her two rescue dogs Suki and Gauro.
Officer – Jill Tice  – Mom by Day, Dog rescuer by Night.

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Jill Tice is a leader in the rescue world. As founder of the PA chapter of Pet Matchmaker Rescue, established in 2003, Jill has pulled and saved over 2,000 dogs from death row. Jill has donated more than 5 puppies to Phoenix Assistance Dogs and continues to evaluate for future candidates. Jill and her husband are raising their 2 boys and enjoy participating in their sporting events!
Officer – David Zoccola – He’s got a Tune in his Heart and Pup in his Home

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David Zoccola attended Millersville University from 1975 – 1981 and has extensive background in reading classical music. He has developed a private piano studio which he has run for 30 years full time, and although it is for all ages and skill levels, he excels with students with a variety of disabilities, especially autism, and young children. David Zoccola has an extensive amount of experience in performing including church organist for 3 years, over 1,000 gigs as a solo pianist performing all styles, and five year member of a local New Orleans style band which gives him a great deal of public relations knowledge. David also runs a full restoration, rebuilding, and tuning piano service. David and his wife are Breeder Care Takers for Phoenix Assistance Dogs.

Dine at Isaac’s For PAD!

If you’re local to Lancaster, dine with us on Wednesday, March 11th from 5pm – 9pm at Isaacs (4 Crosswinds Drive, Lititz, behind Pizza Hut!) and 25% of your bill to be donated to our program!  Take out and gift cards purchased during that time also count!  Don’t forget your voucher though – only diners with our voucher count!

LPN Stephanie Merrell sees first hand how assistance dogs benefit her patients:

Service dogs have played a vital role in creating independence in many of my patients. People without disabilities often take for granted small things, like being able to pick up something they’ve dropped. Without a service dogs assistance, this can be an insurmountable task for someone with a disability. Not only do they provide comfort and companionship, but they help instill confidence that their owner can achieve both large and small daily living tasks.

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To download and print, right mouse click and go to file, print!  The fliers are double sided and 2 per page, so invite a friend – please!

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What will your donation go towards within PAD?  PAD is 100% volunteer based, meaning your donation goes directly towards our dogs in training and not a salary!  Some of our costs are:

  • $150 one year of flea and tick prevention medication for one service dog in training
  • $120 one year of heartworm prevention medication for one service dog in training
  • $275 to spay or neuter and microchip one service dog in training
  • $250 for hip and elbow x-ray evaluations for one service dog in training
  • $30 for one service dog in training harness (including patches)
  • and many, many more!

Last time we raised almost $400 at Isaacs!  Let’s try to raise $500 this year!

Therapy Dogs by Phoenix Assistance Dogs

Since 2009 we have fully trained and certified 6 full time working therapy dogs. Our therapy dogs do not provide the simple affection based therapy that is typically found in nursing homes and hospitals. Rather, our therapy dogs are a unique blend of assistance trained tasks and therapy connections. They work in schools for children with emotional and behavioral disabilities, Autism and IU13’s. They also work hands on with therapists providing private counseling sessions.

Some of the tasks they are taught to do are (but are not limited to): Deep Pressure, Grounding, Nudge a Client on Command, Interrupt Self Harming or Repetitive Behavior, Escort Client From One Room to Another. All of our Therapy Dogs pass the same high standards Access Test that our Assistance Dogs are given before becoming certified, showing they are effective, safe and extremely well trained. These are not private individuals pet dogs. They are dogs that were raised and trained with the intent to be working Therapy Dogs. Many of them were released for medical conditions that disqualified them from being Assistance Dogs, but not Therapy Dogs!  Please contact us with any questions!

PAD Creekside Kennel Irvine – Available For Adoption


Irvine was donated to us at eight weeks of age by his breeder Creekside Kennel, with his littermate Gunner.  While Gunner is out going and enthusiastic, Irvine is reserved and timid.  He is being release from our assistance dog program due to this gentle cautious temperament.  Being in public worries him, as he never knows exactly what to expect.

Irvine will do best in a quiet home with adults only or kids over 13 years of age.  He makes great bonds with dogs but may take time learning to trust a new canine companion.  He is very laid back in his dog play and does wonderful with cats and other small animals.  Irvine loves to snuggle with his humans and would enjoy if his new family would be very affectionate with him.

Irvine has mild grain allergies and should be kept on a grain free diet.

He is quiet, house trained, crate trained, up to date on his vaccinations, microchipped and has a solid basic obedience foundation.   His adoption fee is $800, will come with his AKC documents and we will consider out of state adoptions.

To apply please email info@padcentral.org

Fundraising for PAD Gunner!

We are raising the funds to purchase one particular health guaranteed puppy to raise as our first potential stud dog, who will be the future of service dogs helping the disabled in our community. This 5 week old puppy, PAD Gunner, comes from generations of champion dogs ranging from obedience titles, show titles, and hunting titles.  Bred by <Creekside Kennels in North Carolina.

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Each of these areas are uniquely important for an assistance dog stud. Champion obedience titles show a desire to learn and obey commands, while champion hunting titles show natural desire to retrieve and have a gentle mouth. Equally importantly, the champion show titles show solid physical stature which is crucial for pulling a wheelchair and mobility work. In addition, this puppy has multiple generations of health tests dogs in his background and comes with a solid “hip contract” meaning they guarantee his hips to be free of Degenerative Joint Disease.

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In order to continue meeting the needs of individuals living with a broad range of disabilities, we are working towards starting a small breeding program. This small breeding program will provide our program with puppies of suitable health and temperament in order for us to continue with our mission – to locate, raise and train dogs to provide greater independence to individuals living with a broad range of disabilities as well as to mentor and teach individuals that are training an assistance dog either for themselves or for a loved one. To read more about our program, and what sets us apart from other assistance dog programs please go to our <website.

Our fundraising goal covers:

Puppy cost
Flight for pick up and delivery
Veterinary costs for 2 years
Basic Training Gear
Quality dog food for 2 years
Hip, Elbow and Health Clearances at 2

To contribute, please go to our <FundRazr page! Or email us at info [at] padcentral.org for alternative ways to contribute, more information, or with questions!

Looking Towards The Future

After years of focusing solely on rescue and shelter puppies/dogs, we have decided to begin working with very small, highly devoted breeders to grow our program.  We don’t take breeding lightly, and will continue to always work closely with the community to bring in suitable puppies and dogs from our local shelters, rescues and as in the past, even test dogs within families that are in need of placing them.  Unfortunately, the dogs within the community that are suitable for assistance dog work are hard to come by and our waiting list for assistance dogs is growing by the month.  So in order to meet the needs of our local individuals with disabilities we have made this choice to begin working with breeders.  We do not have any specific breeding plans currently, but wanted to share the news with you as you are sure to see some changes in the future!

PAD Davy’s Fundraiser

PAD Davy visited our wonderful veterinarians today because we were concerned with one of his eyes.  Our team was very disheartened to learn that sweet Davy has entropion in one of his eyes that requires surgery.  Thankfully, the veterinarians are positive that with surgery, PAD Davy will be able to continue training with PAD and have no lasting affects!  If you’d like to read about entropion, you can click <here.

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PAD Davy’s medication prior to surgery (scheduled for 2/19/13), surgery itself, and post op medications will be approximately $1,500.   Please consider making a small donation to help Davy get back to his training!  You can donate by clicking below or email us (info[at]padcentral.org) if you’d like to donate directly to the veterinary clinic!

Please consider sharing this on your blog or facebook page!

PAD Davy

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PAD Davy is an incredible  7 month old Labradoodle puppy, who was donated by the wonderful breeder Bad Company Labradoodles.  For those of you that know PAD Charming Charlie, the same breeder graciously donated him, too!  After volunteer trainers Alicia Gautille and Laura Stumpf tested his litter, he was chosen and began training in PAD’s small puppy program.  PAD Davy Jones’ Locker (named after the pirate because he was donated on National Talk Like a Pirate Day)  is learning the necessary skills to become a solid working dog.  Around 1 year he will meet any potential partners on our waiting list, and be preliminarily matched with the most suited partner.  Once matched he will be trained for the specific needs which could be: pulling a manual wheelchair, alerting to sounds, retrieving out of reach items and more!

Breed: Labradoodle
Interests:
  • Snuggling
  • Making eye contact with his big brown eyes
  • Playing with PAD Kingsley
Favorite Treats:
  • Freeze Dried Chicken
  • Two Pups Pastries (carob anything)
  • Salomi
Favorite Links:

Growing Puppy Program!

Our waiting list of partners in need of a life saving fully trained assistance dog is growing, which means we need to grow the size of our Puppy Program!  Before we begin the search for more puppies, we need to recruit and train valuable volunteer Puppy Trainers!  Please consider how allowing a puppy to come into your home for approximately 2 years can change someones life forever!

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