Lorraine first got involved with OTD as a volunteer handler back in 2016 with her late golden retriever, Bailey. Seeing the direct impacts that the visits had on individuals inspired her to get more involved with the organization, which led to her becoming an Administrator for OTD in 2018. Lorraine's incredible dedication to elevate the work of OTD in the community forged the path to obtaining her current position as Operations Manager, where she oversees all aspects of OTD from recruitment to volunteer logistics.
In addition to being a full-time staff member, Lorraine volunteers with her Golden Retrievers, Obi and Finn, at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre to provide support to youth patients. Lorraine's former career was in teaching, so she was happy to be able to develop and implement the popular Paw Pal Program during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with local elementary schools, this meaningful initiative supports children’s literacy by writing letters to their Paw Pals, who in turn, write back to the children!
Outside of being a dog-mom to her two Goldens, Finn and Obi, she is also a proud military wife and mom to her now adult son and daughter. When she's not volunteering or working with OTD, Lorraine enjoys reading, walks with her dogs and soaking in the scenic views from her home in the country and spending time with loved ones.
Jenna Hobin joined OTD in January 2021 as a Communications Consultant to provide support with outreach initiatives, fund development and all things communications!
Her professional background is providing Communications support in the philanthropic sector, and is a very proud dog mom to her two English Bulldogs–Sumo and Angus. These two passions made working with OTD a very natural fit for her.
Jenna currently works in a communications role in higher education full-time, and supports OTD on a part-time basis.
In her spare time you can find her taking her dogs on daily walks and car rides to their favourite trails around the city and spending time with friends and family.
Board of Directors
Melanie Mohammed has been a volunteer handler with Ottawa Therapy Dogs and her two dogs, Grits and Beans, since 2013. In winter 2022, Melanie was honoured to be invited to increase her engagement with Ottawa Therapy Dogs by serving as a Director-at-Large on the Board of Directors. A few months later, she took on the role of Chair of the Board of Directors.
By day, Melanie is a federal public service executive with over 16 years experience in various federal departments and agencies. Prior to joining the federal public service, Melanie taught French to children at a local primary school.
Melanie was drawn to Ottawa Therapy Dogs after meeting a volunteer handler and her dog at a workplace charitable event in 2011. Two years later, when Grits – a Border Terrier – turned two years old, Melanie had him evaluated to serve as a therapy dog. Two years after volunteering with Grits at a local facility for residents with dementia, Melanie had her second dog, Beans – a Chocolate Lab – evaluated as well. Since that time – and until the pandemic – Melanie, Grits and Beans volunteered at the local facility for residents with dementia, and at a local hospital. Despite the lockdowns that were initiated in light of the pandemic, Melanie, Grits and Beans still yearned to engage with people across Ottawa who could benefit from animal-assisted therapy. As a result, in 2021-22, they participated in Ottawa Therapy Dogs’ Paw-Pal Program®, and look forward to continuing to do so in 2022-23.
Outside of work and volunteering with Ottawa Therapy Dogs, Melanie enjoys spending time outdoors with Grits, Beans, and her husband, Eric.
Melanie, Grits, Beans and Eric live in Almonte, Ontario.
Krista Walsh-Murray has been volunteering on the social media side of Ottawa Therapy Dogs (OTD) since 2019. In 2021-22, her dog Dax, a 6 year old Shih Tzu, participated in the Ottawa Therapy Dogs’ Paw-Pal Program® as a friend of Ottawa Therapy Dogs. In January 2022, she joined the Board of Directors and is currently serving as the Vice-Chair.
An animal lover who truly believes in the power of the animal/human connection, she is very passionate about the work of the organization and brings 10+ years of project management experience in the non-profit sector to further support OTD in its current and future initiatives.
She was happy when OTD became an official fundraising organization for the Desjardins Charity Challenge because the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is one of her favorite events. A recreational runner, you'll find Krista, along with her husband Dan, participating in different races throughout the year. Dax helps in their training by making sure he takes them on walks multiple times per day.
Krista, Dax and Dan live in Ottawa, ON.
Kristin Harold joined Ottawa Therapy Dogs as a member of its Board of Directors in February 2022. She has a lifelong passion for animals and making a difference in the lives of others and she’s thrilled to combine these interests in her role.
Kristin brings more than 14 years experience to OTD as a non-profit professional and former journalist. She currently serves on the leadership team of a national healthcare professional association and has a broad range of expertise in communications, marketing, fundraising, member and volunteer engagement, media relations, advocacy, and events management.
Kristin lives in St. Albert, Ontario with her husband, Dan, and is a proud mom to Ranger, a chocolate lab, and Scout, a Golden retriever, as well as her four children and eight grandchildren. In her spare time, she loves to watch movies and be creative – whether it’s drawing, painting, writing, or gardening.
Catrina joined Ottawa Therapy Dogs as a member of its Board of Directors in December 2022. She believes in the work of Ottawa Therapy Dogs and wants to share the joy of dogs with the Ottawa community.
Professionally, Catrina is a municipal public servant with experience in various City of Ottawa departments. Catrina is proud to bring her project management and strategic planning experience support OTD. She holds a Masters of Public Administration from Queen's School of Policy Studies.
Catrina lives in Ottawa with her husband, Dan and Golden Retriever, Maui. In their spare time, the trio love to spend time outdoors and enjoy hiking, camping and fishing. Catrina is also an avid reader and novice bird-watcher.
Katrina Benke joined the OTD board as the Treasurer in November of 2022. Growing up in Eastern Ontario animals, but dogs especially, have always played a large role in her life.
Katrina was excited to join the board after moving to Ottawa for a job as an Audit Manager at KPMG. The opportunity to leverage her finance and accounting background and apply it to such a meaningful organization, really drew her in.
She is eager to give back to the community and spread awareness around the positive impact OTD has on the region.