Sue Grundfest (Founder and President)
Having created and managed Corporate Volunteer Programs for The Estēe Lauder Companies Inc. for 24 years as Vice President of Community Outreach, Sue is devoting her time in “retirement” to developing unique programs utilizing the human-animal bond. Sue’s commitment to animal-assisted therapy started with one fluffy white poodle named Coco the Love Dog. An insulin-dependent diabetic who spent many years blind and deaf, Coco set the standard for animal-assisted therapy dogs and lived a life of courage, love and inspiration. She lived fifteen years giving to others before succumbing to cancer in 2010. Since then all the Love Dog therapy teams carry on her legacy.
Sue is a Licensed Pet Partners Team Instructor and Evaluator for Animal Assisted Interventions. The Love Dog Adventures therapy program is a Pet Partner Community Partner Affiliate which means that all the therapy teams have been trained, tested and insured by Pet Partners, considered the Gold Standard of animal therapy organizations.
Coco the Love Dog came into Sue’s life when she herself was recovering from a life-threatening illness. Since then Sue has adopted three dogs in Las Vegas from various rescues and their message is one of acceptance, working through adversity, finding the life-work balance that fulfills your purpose and the celebration of the healing power of pets. Kirby was only with Sue for a short four years but made a huge impact on everyone he worked with. Now Benny and Petey carry on their legacy and are both special needs poodles.
Since relocating to Las Vegas, Sue has focused on creating unique animal-assisted therapy programs serving the community.
Lindsay Pearlman (Secretary)
Lindsay grew up in Connecticut and moved to New York City as a teenager. She attended the New York Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management. She has worked at Tavern on the Green in NYC and the Wynn Las Vegas as an event coordinator. Ms. Pearlman has also volunteered her time by contributing her talents in the event and fundraising areas to several nonprofits. In her “spare” time, Ms. Pearlman was a competitive bridge player and teacher and travelled throughout the U.S. and abroad to compete in bridge tournaments. As a teenager, she represented the U.S. as a member of the U.S. Junior team at the World Championship in Paris. Ms. Pearlman became involved with Pet Partners (when it was known as Delta Society) as she encountered therapy dogs when her family member was at Ronald McDonald House as a child. Her dream was always to have her own Pet Partner dog and she adopted Atlas, her Newfoundland, when he was just a pup. She found out he would always be a special needs dog surviving numerous procedures on his front legs before he was a year old. She never believed he could become a Love Dog but he passed the Evaluation with flying colors … and no special accommodations! This is Ms. Pearlman’s greatest achievement and joy.
May 2017 update: Atlas lost his battle after only four years and will be remembered always as one exceptional therapy dog.
Even though Susan’s roots go back seven generations in Pittsburgh, PA, she considers herself a “westerner” at heart. Susan grew up in Northern California where she graduated from California State University at Chico with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Arts. For the past 28 years Susan has been in the Film, Television, Video and Live Event industry as a scriptwriter, video producer, and production coordinator. Susan has been with the Sands Expo and Convention Center for the past 10 years where she coordinates the Internet and Networking needs for clients such as Intel, IBM, Microsoft and AT&T. Susan became a Love Dog team with her beautiful Yellow Lab, Ginger. When Ginger was young, Susan started taking her to the dog park so that she could socialize with other dogs. However when they got to the park, Ginger wanted nothing to do with the dogs and went right up to the humans, with tail in full-wag mode! Susan instantly saw how Ginger interacted with the humans, and how the humans interacted with Ginger, and she knew right then and there that both she and Ginger had a destiny. Susan now is training her new Yellow Lab, Angel, who will carry on Ginger’s legacy one day.
Susan is an avid reader and loves movies, especially the classic films and glamorous stars of the golden age of Hollywood. Susan and her husband, Billy, enjoy being with friends and family, and they especially love hanging out with their pets.
Diane Woodward (Vice President)
Diane Woodward thinks of herself as a “Community Advocate.” She spends many hours with Cocker Spaniel rescue in Las Vegas and has fostered many herself. In 2009 she became an Honorary Board Member for the Nevada SPCA and gives a lot of her time to organizing special events for several animal-related charities. Ms. Woodward has a Master’s Degree in Human Development and has worked with children and teachers to develop curriculum for preschoolers through first grade. She has also been involved with federal programs for the aged. Ms. Woodward lives with her husband Ron and their two beautiful cocker spaniels Baxter and Ginger.
A rare Las Vegas native, Leslie started working very young, forsaking college to begin her career serving the public at 18 years old. She spent the next 30 years working for the City of Las Vegas in eight different venues, from the legal to finance to public works offices, ending up as the assistant to the City Surveyor. After retirement, Leslie’s new “career” began in animal advocacy and rescue. One of her Italian Greyhound rescues, Dash, led her to animal assisted therapy as he displayed such a natural love for people, especially children. She and Dash found Love Dog Adventures in 2012 and they have loved their new job ever since. They prove that the best therapy dogs don’t have to be fluffy!