Laura O'Kane / Founder and Executive Director
Laura O’Kane founded Paws and Affection in August 2013. Laura is the Executive Director of the organization and spends her time raising funds to care for and train the P&A team of dogs, managing day to day operations, and overseeing the training department. She plans events, works with volunteers, interviews applicants, and helps with the training of dog/recipient teams. Laura has a hands-on approach to leading the team and enjoys building relationships with staff, fosters, volunteers, recipients, donors, and the community. She believes in a team atmosphere and open communication to create an environment of happiness and success. Laura is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and spent time in the classroom assisting in the training of in-home pets in basic obedience and manners prior to starting Paws and Affection. Laura has a B.S. from Virginia Tech and in September 2011, she completed the Teach the Teacher Course at Canine Assistants in Atlanta, GA under the direction of Jennifer Arnold. Laura and her husband Chad live outside of Philadelphia with their 2 children and P&A Ambassador, Rosie.
Jessica Gwiszcz / Marketing Coordinator and Facility Manager
Jess creates and maintains the P&A social media presence to keep the community up to date on the great work being done at Paws and Affection. She also manages our website, facilitates community outreach communication, executes fundraising events, and oversees facility operations. Jess graduated from La Salle University in 2018 with a B.A. in Psychology. While in school, she volunteered at P&A starting in early 2017 and completed the P&A Internship Program that summer. She then returned as an experienced volunteer for the rest of the 2017/2018 school year. In May 2018, Jess came on staff as our part time Marketing Coordinator and since then has become an integral part of the team. She is now full time and has taken on managing the facility and all that goes along with keeping things running smoothly.
Angie Greenway / Trainer
Angie takes our team of dogs in training from the time they arrive at P&A through all the phases of development. From basic skills to service dog tasks. From potty training to trips into the city via train. She assesses the progress of each dog and creates the training program that works best for their wants, needs, and skill set. Angie is dedicated to helping dogs by strengthening the relationship with their people and teaching them to communicate with one another. She is passionate about canine behavior and keeps her education current by attending national conferences, seminars, and workshops. She is a graduate of the Karen Pryor Professional Animal Training Program (KPA-CTP), a member of APDT (Association of Professional Dog Trainers), and is an Associate Certified Animal Behavior Consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Angie lives in Maryland and shares her home with 4 Border Collies, Moss, Ben, Liz, and Kassie, and her Golden Retriever, Josie.
Julia Hopkins / Service Dog Trainer
Julia teaches our pups the skills they need to succeed as future service dogs. She focuses on the more advanced service dog tasks after the dogs turn one. In addition, she works with our recipients following placement to make sure their relationships are flourishing and their skills are staying sharp. Julia began at P&A as a volunteer and before that, volunteered at Providence Animal Shelter in Media. Julia is a Temple University graduate and also earned her certification in dog obedience training from Animal Behavior College. Julia grew up with two labs and now has a blue heeler named Bodhi for a best friend. She and her fiancé share their home with Bodhi in Conshohocken.