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Our Founders

Alan Levine and Sophie

Our founder is an AKC Certified Training Evaluator and a lifelong proponent of how people make better dogs and how dogs make better people.

 

Alan Levine has been training dogs for over thirty years. Throughout this time, he has engaged with hundreds of people from various therapy dog organizations both throughout the country and in various countries throughout the world. Prior to chartering Certified Therapy Dog, Inc. Alan was the Director of Training for a long-established therapy dog organization with members residing throughout the country. Following an early and serious life altering event, Alan has dedicated his life to bringing joy to others with his Furry BFF Sophie. To date (early 2021), she and he have logged over 5000 therapy dog visits across all of the venues listed below. Sophie took second place in both the 2016 and 2020 AKC National Therapy Dog Humanitarian of the Year Awards. She has appeared on AKC-TV.

 

To see Sophie and other therapy dogs in action, please click the following link. While the entire video is awe inspiring, Sophie’s segment starts at (11:40.)

https://akc.tv/watch/6/5768/episode/event-akc-heroes-epsiode-2?ctx=/watch//5/5766/season/akc-heroes



Alan’s experience, knowledge and gentle way with both people and animals have led him to create a genuinely superior training, evaluation and visitation program. He is a Certified AKC Training Evaluator and conducts AKC level evaluations at local/regional AKC Dog Shows. Following the passing of his long-time mentor (see below), Alan has made it his personal mission to continue the enormous value of Comfort and Therapy Dog work in such places as nursing homes and memory care facilities, hospice, hospitals, schools, library reading programs, the Juvenile Courthouse in Palm Beach County, Court diversion programs for teens, school based psychological counseling sessions and the like.

 

Alan has been asked to speak before AKC sponsored dog clubs and is constantly recharged when, in the course of people saying ‘goodbye’ and ‘thank you’, they add... “You saved my life today.” (These exact words  are actually spoken many, many times.) He can offer countless additional stories about the incredibly wonderful effects of a loving and well-trained therapy dog.

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Evelyn (Lynn) Hoffman

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Lynn Hoffman (May 7, 1939-July 7, 2019) was a pioneer in the world of therapy dogs and, immediately upon her passing inspired the creation of Certified Therapy Dog, Inc. that very same day. Certified Therapy Dog, Inc. is dedicated to continuing the legacy of Lynn Hoffman who, with therapy dogs, inspired through courage, healed with kindness and inspired so many to look beyond themselves…to reach out from their heart and to bring happiness into the lives of our fellow human beings.

Our Amazing Directors
 

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Christine Strich is our Director of Volunteer Services. She is delighted to be working as the volunteer coordinator with Certified Therapy Dog Inc. Through her involvement with coordinating therapy dog visits, she has seen (first hand) the joy and happiness that pets bring to so many people. Both she and her husband, Marc, have gone through the Certification process with their Golden Retriever, Oliver; and they have been recently joined by another Golden Retriever pupp...Teddy... in this endeavor.

 

Relocating to Florida in 2013 with her husband for a job transfer, she

was able to continue her roll in Regional Property Management, with up to 105 properties across the country. Since retiring in 2020, she has volunteered for a variety of local non-profits; as the absence of business travel requirements no longer limit her ability to serve our community.​

Christine Strich earned a bachelor's degree from Western Illinois University with concentrations in Finance, Real Estate and Insurance. This facilitated a broad career in Retail, Commercial Real Estate, and Agricultural management rolls incorporating her operational, organizational and marketing skills.

She lives with her husband, and the golden retrievers in Wellington. Whenever possible, they visit their two wonderful children in Wisconsin and California, along with relatives in Illinois. 

Dr. Ruth Levy is our Director of Strategic Services Development

and has a Golden Doodle, Cooper, who has become a Certified Therapy Dog. 

 

She is a mother of two children and a grandmother of three. Having recently retired and relocated to Lake Worth Beach with husband Steve (who will be retiring from his law practice in the near future), she immediately jumped in to the CTD program. Ruth and Steve are passionate about assisting people that may benefit from the Certified Therapy Dog, Inc. (CTD) program. They feel that they are “paying it forward” and enjoy creating and observing the joy and comfort that therapy dog visits can bring. 

 

Ruth is an accomplished educator, as a former Superintendent of Schools in Connecticut, and as an Adjunct Professor at Central Connecticut State University. In those, and previous, capacities, she has concentrated on districtwide continual growth and improvement, the needs of those requiring Special Education as a Disabilities Specialist, Educational Diagnostician, with a focus on emotionally disturbed and neurologically impaired children.

 

With a Doctorate in Education from the University of Harford, a Masters of Arts Degree in Special Education from Kean College, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from Rider College, Ruth brings a tremendous amount of experience as CTD continues to develop optimal services for those we assist.

 

Ruth’s background, experience and enthusiasm are, and will continue to be of great value and inspiration to expand the impact of the CTD program in the communities we serve. 

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Wilma K. Deutsch is our Director of Children's Service and has bred several Portuguese Water Dog litters, raised, and trained the pups and currently has two Portuguese Water Dog, Moses and Zipporah, who have recently become Certified Therapy Dogs.  She is a mother of 3 children and a grandmother whose son developed many serious physical disabilities.  Her son loved animals, particularly dogs.  Through her son, Wilma learned to work with deaf and blind individuals as well as those with other types of handicaps; and understands the challenges that they and their caregivers face. Wilma is passionate about assisting people that may benefit from the Certified Therapy Dog, Inc. (CTD) program. She feels that she is “paying it forward” and enjoys creating and observing the joy and comfort that therapy dog visits can bring.

 

Wilma is an accomplished attorney, licensed Florida real estate agent and a successful independent businesswoman. Prior to becoming an attorney, Wilma taught school in New York. She remains active in the political arena and has served as Committee Woman in Bucks County, PA where she wrote By-Laws and got them passed by the district. More recently she was a member of the Palm Beach County Executive Committee where she worked tirelessly as Committee Woman for her Congressional District in Boca Raton, registering people to vote and informing them of current issues. 

 

Wilma’s background, experience and enthusiasm are, and will continue to be of great value and inspiration to expand the impact of the CTD program. 

Naomi Wagner is our Director of Administrative Services. She is delighted to be working as a coordinator extraordinaire with Certified Therapy Dog Inc. Through her involvement with CTD, she has seen the joy and happiness that pets bring to children and the aged, alike. Since relocating to Florida in 1994, she has worked for a variety of non-profit organizations; and feels "at home working with the kind people who volunteer with their pets." 

Naomi Wagner recieved a bachelor's degree in Art Education with a specialization in Puppetry. She spent her early years traveling the world puppeteering with various professional puppeteer groups. She performed in distinguished arenas such as the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center. 

Until recently, Naomi worked with the Palm Beach County School District. She lives with her husband, mother, and adorable rescue pup, Roscoe. She has three wonderful children. 

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