School of Nursing

Human Health Building, Room 3027
433 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester, MI 48309-4452
(location map)
(248) 364-8733
M-F 8 a.m.-5 p.m. closed daily 12 p.m.-1 p.m.

The Center for Human Animal Interventions (CHAI) Advisory Committee

CJ Bentley

CJ Bentley is an animal behavior consultant and Senior Director of Operations for the Michigan Humane Society. She is the past Executive Director and current member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and has been a canine trainer and behavior consultant for over 20 years. At the Michigan Humane Society, CJ has implemented a canine enrichment program and is their TV and radio spokesperson. Currently, CJ participates on the APDT nominations committee and is a regular contributor to MichigAnimals Magazine.  Her past publications include trainer's tips published in Chronicle of the Dog.  She currently shares her home with her 16-year old so; Scott, and 9-year old red Doberman; Tyde who was adopted at 6 year of age from the Michigan Humane Society, and a 2-year old red Doberman; Rogue, who was also adopted from the Michigan Humane Society when he was 7 weeks.

Dr. Laura Bruneau

Laura Bruneau is an Associate Professor of Counselor Education at Adams State University and holds a certificate in Animal Assisted therapy (AAT). Laura and her dog (Moose) are a registered Pet Partners and Reading Education Assistance Dog team, providing service to the community through an elementary school dog reading program (Tales with Moose) and to the university through a wellness program during finals weeks (Paws and Relax). Additionally, Laura regularly teaches AAT in both core and elective courses, and has presented on the topic of AAT at the state, regional, and national level.

Jennifer Cepnick

Jennifer Cepnick is a Program Assistant for the Animal Assisted Therapy Center for Excellence. She has been with the program since 2013 as part of the initial development team for the Center's implementation. Her responsibilities include ensuring that the implementation process meets the University's requirements while maintaining the integrity of the overall strategic vision for the Center. Jennifer also participates in the Ethics Learning Community on campus.

Jennifer earned her Master's Degree in Public Administration from Oakland University in 2014 and a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy in 2011. As part of her graduate study, Jennifer wrote on the importance of education for vulnerable populations focused primarily on women who are currently incarcerated.  While a graduate student at OU, she was the Treasurer of Pure Michigan Talent Connect; a student run organization that highlights the importance of keeping recent college graduates employed within the state. She was also honored for her academic achievements with her induction into Pi Alpha Alpha for Public Administrators.

Donna Clarke

Donna Clarke, MA, LCPC, is the co-founder and Director of Heaven’s Gift Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, and animal hospice dedicated to providing rehabilitative care for animals unable to be adopted to the community, due to the ravages of severe abuse and/or neglect. In addition to her more than 20 years working directly with animals, she has also provided a myriad of educational programs and seminars for both the professional and private communities on a wide range of animal welfare and behavioral concerns including the integration, understanding, appropriate training, and proper care of animals in the home, the work space, as well as within the integrated family system.

Ms. Clarke earned her Master’s degree in Counselor Education, with an emphasis in Community Mental Health from McDaniel College. Areas of special study include history and methodology of animals in the therapeutic setting, and integrative applications of various animal assistive therapeutic techniques as adjunctive therapies. She has designed coursework to further the education, capability, and awareness of the use of animal assisted techniques in both the therapeutic and non-therapeutic environments.

Ms. Clarke is also a published author and speaker and has been recognized by a number of organizations regarding her work with animals.

Lori Crose

Lori Crose has been with Oakland University since 2000 and is currently the Interim Director of Strategic Programs where she has administrative responsibility for educational programs across the University including credit and non-credit certificates, re-licensure training, certification training and retooling programs at and above the post-bachelor level. She is responsible for developing high quality, new and innovative programming that will align with county, state, and federal employment trends and is charged with connecting them with the government and business communities.  Lori has served as Director of OU’s Personal Financial Planning Certificate Program for the last ten years.

Lori earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration in 2002 from Oakland University and a Bachelor’s Degree from Illinois College in 1981.  She currently is serving as the Central Region Secretary for the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) organization. She recently served as a member of the Oakland County’s Workforce Development Business Roundtable and represented Oakland University Representative on the Oakland County Emerging Sectors Educational Consortium.

Trisha Eagan, Certified Human Animal Intervention Specialist (CHAIS)

Even before she went to kindergarten, Patricia (Trish) Eagan had begun her life-long learning journey with animals. Fueled from her heart and soul, nurtured by strong mentors, and supported by her family and friends, Trish’s work with animals grew from rescuing animals in need, to working as a veterinary assistant, becoming a nationally certified Western Equestrian coach, to her most recent passion: working with animals to help and support humans.

In her current professional role as Director of the Student Health Centre at the University of New Brunswick, Trish recently embarked on an exciting, new path of learning about mental health and wellness.  She became a certified facilitator of the Changing Minds program with the Canadian Mental Health Association, and quickly recognized the powerful potential of merging the Human Animal Bond (HAB) field with preventative health outreach programming on a university campus.  In earning Certification as a Human Animal Intervention Specialist (CHAIS) through Oakland University, Trish gained clarity about how to effectively implement Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) while keeping animal advocacy at the forefront.  The university community setting has become the perfect melting pot for this work, enabling thousands of students to benefit from carefully planned and supported opportunities to interact with dogs and human volunteers.

Trish and her canine partner, Rosi, hold Therapy Dog certification status with both River Valley Obedience and Field Trail Club and Saint John Ambulance hospital visitation programs.  So far, they have logged over 80 hours of solo and team visiting, interaction with more than 1750 clients. And this is just the beginning…

Dr. Aubrey Fine

Dr. Aubrey Fine received his graduate degree in Psychology from the University of Cincinnati in 1982.  Dr. Fine is has been on the faculty of California State Polytechnic University since 1981, where is currently a professor in the College of Education and Integrative Studies. He is also a licensed psychologist who opened his practice in Southern California in 1987, specializing in treating children with ADHD, learning disabilities, developmental disorders, and parent/child relations.

He has been recognized by various organizations for his work with children, animals, and the community, including the Wang Family Excellence Award for Distinguished Professor in California State University System, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, and the 2006 Cal Poly Faculty Award for Community Engagement.

Along with many distinguished publications, Dr. Fine has published several books in the field of animal therapy, children and sports psychology. Perhaps his best known works are: The Handbook on Animal Assisted Therapy: Theoretical Foundations and Guidelines for Practice, Afternoons with Puppy: Inspirations from a Therapist and his Animals. Now a noted advocate for Animal Assisted Therapy, Dr. Fine has studied this field for over three decades with children as well as the elderly, and strongly integrates AAT into his research and applied practice.

Colleen Pelar

Colleen Pelar believes that good communication is at the heart of healthy relationships. Since 1991 when she began training dogs, she has been dedicated to helping people better understand the dogs they love. Her three books – Living with Kids and Dogs...Without Losing Your Mind, Kids and Dogs: A Professional's Guide to Helping Families, and Puppy Training for Kids – all emphasize compassion, commitment, and communication. Colleen is the training manager of All About Dogs in northern Virginia and has earned the Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) titles.

Dr. Leslie Stewart

Dr. Leslie Stewart, a licensed professional counselor, is an assistant professor of counseling at Idaho State University. She completed her PhD in Counselor Education and Practice with a cognate in experiential and creative approaches to counseling and supervision at Georgia State University in 2014. Leslie has over 20 years of experience riding, training, and showing horses in equitation, showjumping, and dressage. In addition to facilitating therapeutic horsemanship as a former Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH, Intl.) instructor, Leslie has incorporated animal assisted therapy with a dog and a rabbit in mental health in college counseling and juvenile detention settings, as well as in clinical supervision. Leslie has experience designing and implementing AAT counseling programs in college counseling centers, and has served as a professional consultant regarding AAT to private psychotherapy practices in her area. Leslie’s primary research agenda includes animal assisted therapy in counseling and supervision, currently resulting in more than six refereed publications and eleven professional presentations on the topic.

Melissa Winkle

Melissa Y. Winkle is an occupational therapist in private practice, at Dogwood Therapy Services and an assistance dog trainer for Assistance Dogs of the West in New Mexico. She is President of Animal Assisted Intervention International and Animal Humane New Mexico- Warm Hearts Network.  She is a researcher, a writer, a practitioner, and speaks internationally on disability, integrated & community based program development, animal assisted interventions, and assistance dogs.