Jennifer has been a part of 4 Paws since she started volunteering in 2000. Her passion for the 4 Paws mission led her to begin a career with the organization; she started as a part-time trainer in 2003 and then accepted a job in the training department after graduating with an associates degree in Human/Social Services from the University of Cincinnati and a bachelors degree in Human Services: Mental Health from Northern Kentucky University. Jennifer enjoyed a leadership role in the training department while also training service dogs for clients, managing the women’s prison program at Lakin Correction in West Virginia, coordinating both the service dog in training and guardian programs.
In 2015 she moved to administration as Associate Director. She has lead many of the programs in the administration department while also working closely with client families to support them through the entire service dog placement process, from the initial application to assistance after the dog is settled in the client’s home.
In September 2022, Jennifer was promoted to the role of Executive Director and continues to be passionate about the mission of 4 Paws and the exciting future ahead! Jennifer lives in Xenia, OH with her husband, Bryan, her two children, and Fab Flunky Crosley. In addition to her professional role, she also enjoys volunteering as a weekday/weekend foster for dogs in advanced training.
Erin is a Dayton, Ohio, native who fell in love with 4 Paws as a volunteer trainer during her college years. Instead of following a career path with her history degree, she joined the 4 Paws team immediately after graduation. Erin oversees the 4 Paws breeding program, which ensures our future service dogs have the health and temperament necessary to be successful when placed with a client family. Her in-depth knowledge of the dogs in the program aids her when evaluating dogs for our advanced training program. As a result, a high percentage of our dogs are successfully placed as task-trained service animals.
In September of 2022, Erin was promoted to Associate Director and oversees many operational aspects of 4 Paws including finance, HR, technology, inventory, etc. She has a strong vision for the future and the expertise to continue to make a huge impact on the mission.
KaLynn joined 4 Paws to combine her three passions: working with dogs, helping children, and volunteering. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in counseling at Grace College, she began working in volunteer management at nonprofits such as the Appalachia Service Project, the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Miami Valley. KaLynn loves engaging people in a rewarding volunteer experience.
In October 2022, KaLynn accepted the role of Development Director and is excited to bring her passion for program development to the 4 Paws fundraising process to ensure that 4 Paws is financially able to support our mission!
When KaLynn is not working, she loves to play board games, go hiking, and spend time with her husband, family, and friends. KaLynn is also a Volunteer Trainer and loves socializing service dogs in the 4 Paws training program.
Dr. Ruth Keller, DVM
Dr. Keller joined the 4 Paws family in November 2015. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Valparaiso University in 2007 and she graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. After graduation she worked in a few different small animal clinics in both Illinois and Ohio before joining the 4 Paws team. Dr. Keller lives near Columbus, OH with her husband Zach, their cat, and their fabulous 4 Paws flunky, Argus. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with her husband playing tennis and she is very active in her church. She also enjoys rooting for the New York Yankees and the Green Bay Packers. She wanted to be a veterinarian for most of her life because of her love for animals. Dr. Keller thought that 4 Paws was the perfect combination of her veterinarian career and giving back both to animals and people.
Jessa has been a part of 4 Paws for Ability since her graduation with a bachelors degree for Bennington College in 2008. After a brief time in the kennel she realized her love of training and has changed the lives of many dog and clients over the years. She stepped into the position of Training Director in mid-2020 after 12 years with 4 Paws. An Ohio native, Jessa spent her formative years on her parent’s horse farm and has spent her life surrounded by, and working with, a variety of animals. Jessa has been an integral part in the development of 4 Paws and her passion and commitment to the program is commendable. She lives in Xenia with her husband and menagerie of animals – including dogs, of course.
Peg Walsh Bernert
Training Director, 4 Paws Alaska
Peg Walsh Bernert has had a lifetime passion for all things pertaining to dogs, but it wasn’t until her 3-year-old autistic son Leo was lost and presumed drowned that she entered the service dog world.
That day, after her son was found safe and her heart had recovered, she realized that a trained dog could have tracked her son.
That’s the day she found 4 Paws for Ability. Since receiving her son’s service dog in 2007 Peg has been affiliated with 4 Paws as a client, foster puppy parent, and finally completed a training internship at 4 Paws in August of 2011. She lives in Anchorage, Alaska with her husband Dave, son Leo and, of course, many dogs.
Service Dog in Training Director
Lynn began her 4 Paws for Ability journey as a Volunteer Trainer during her college years. She founded the 4 Paws for Ability student organization at Ohio State University and began working at 4 Paws prior to graduation in 2016. In 2017 she was given the position of University Program Coordinator and has lovingly supported thousands of Volunteer Trainers throughout their journeys and was promoted to the Service Dog in Training Director in 2021.
Lynn lives in Xenia with her husband, Ryan, and their three dogs Butch, Loki and Singer. When she isn’t at work, or even in Ohio for that matter, Lynn can’t get enough of the beach. She is especially partial to Venice Beach, FL., where her parents live and where she and Ryan were married.
Kayla was born and raised in Xenia, Ohio. She was familiar with 4 Paws simply by living so close to headquarters and through her mom’s 4 Paws work matching dogs with children. Kayla started working at 4 Paws for Ability as a kennel staff member. She was promoted to Kennel Staff Manager in 2020 and loves working with the newborn puppies and seeing them grow and progress through their service dog journey. The mama dogs are her absolute favorite.
When she isn’t at work, Kayla enjoys spending time with her husband and son. She absolutely loves cruises, especially if they are headed to Cozumel, Jamaica or Half Moon Kay.