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Board of Directors & Full-time Staff

Positive Paws K-9 Angels is under new management as of May 2022, meet the new team!

Dulcey Fuqua

Board of Directors Member

Hi there! My name is Dulcey Fuqua and I am a board member of PPK9A. I had been contacted about doing some photography for PPK9A and I first brought of my two girls to PPK9A in January of 2022 for socialization and training. In spending time doing photography, I immediately saw what an amazing place this organization was, the impact of the community outreach, how great the staff were and how it truly brought out the best in my pups!

With a background in psychology, community programming, dance and love for working with children, I have accumulated a wide range of experience and skills. I am the founder and executive director for my own nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, Old Dominion Performance Arts Studio, and while we are in our 22nd year, we have downsized and I now am getting to take some time for my other passions, dogs and photography!

My husband and I have 4 rescue pups and have always been active in advocating and volunteering for local rescues and our local shelter. Being part of PPK9A, is a wonderful expansion of my volunteer and community involvement. My hope is that my pup Teeva will complete her therapy certification so we can do more outreach together and my youngest pup, Kimba, will continue to blossom with her involvement at PPK9A, wherever that leads for her.

I look forward to serving PPK9A alongside with the wonderful staff and fantastic board members. I hope my experiences and skills can contribute to the further development and community success of this wonderful organization.

Cassandra Harding

Board of Directors Member 

Hello! My name is Cassandra Harding, and I’m so pleased to be a new board member at PPK9A. I have seen first hand the power of a therapy dog in hospital settings, hospices, and nursing homes during my nursing career. Therapy animals bring such joy to the faces of patients and medical staff alike, and give such a welcome break in settings often overwhelmed with difficult decisions and pain.

I learned about PPK9A when I was looking to have my rescue pittie-puppy, Patrick, trained for therapy work after recently moving to Virginia. I came in to have Patrick assessed for the socialization program and it wasn’t long before Patrick was CGC certified through the AKC, and I found other like-minded people changing our community through their service. I found myself drawn in and was quickly volunteering my time and resources to a group of people that are focused, tenacious, but also wonderfully friendly and welcoming to a couple of newcomers. It wasn’t too long before I was asked to become a board member and am so excited to be a part of this newest chapter.

I am excited to continue my volunteer work with this wonderful non-profit as an assistant trainer, and have become a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. I have enrolled in the new premium professional C.L.A.S.S. curricula through APDT and look forward to expanding training opportunities at PPK9A. Patrick has enjoyed working towards his AKC Trick Dog title as well as taking Rally Novice Courses, both of which have helped him become the well rounded dog that he is! I am also adopting a black lab puppy named Henry soon, and look forward to working with Shelli to get him set up wonderfully for his AKC S.T.A.R Puppy award and whatever else Henry shows us he likes to do! 

Robin Hopkins

Board of Directors Member

My name is Robin Hopkins and I'm a psychology professor at Mary Baldwin University. My sweet girl, Denali, has been going to Positive Paws for socialization and therapy dog training since she was a puppy (March 2021).

I joined the board of directors of PPK9A in January 2022 because I love their mission, and I am specifically hoping to connect the Mary Baldwin community to this great nonprofit. I've been able to connect some students to Positive Paws for volunteering opportunities, the Psychology Club organized a self-care event during midterms and finals week that included having therapy dogs come to campus, and I'm working on creating a Community Engaged Learning component to my Learning and Memory course that would involve working with PPK9A.

I believe my background in research and teaching allow me to serve the nonprofit through my critical evaluation, data analysis, and communication skills. One way I'm looking forward to contributing to our goals as a nonprofit is by applying for grants.

I'm excited to contribute to the growth of this great organization!

Sharon Betlej

Board of Directors Member & Staff

My name is Sharon Betlej and I live in Staunton. I'm a member of the socialization team and serve on the Board of Directors. I became involved with PPK9A in March 2021 when I saw on Facebook an opportunity to volunteer. I retired in January 2018 and

since the thrill of retirement had worn off, I began to look for a way to get out in the community and do something different. Not only was working with dogs different from my work life, it also afforded me the opportunity to get outside and play! I volunteered 5 hours a week and absolutely loved it!! I grew up around dogs so it was a good fit for me. In September 2021, I was offered a job to open up Mon-Fri at 7a and help Shelli with socialization. I was more than happy to accept! In June 2022, I joined the board and enjoy working with the other board members to make PPK9A the best and first choice training facility in Augusta County and surrounding areas. 

Shelli Crust

Socialization Manager, Head Trainer, & Board of Directors Member

Hi my name is Shelli Crust and I am the Socialization Manager and a Board Member at PPK9A. I first came to PPK9A in November of 2020 when I came in one day to meet an adorable Border Doodle Puppy to see if I wanted to keep her. I fell in love instantly and we both came in for socialization. I would volunteer on my days off from my full-time job and I began to watch my Ziva grow up to be an amazing puppy. In August I accepted a paid position and still volunteered on my days off. I fell in love with all the dogs, and wanted to be more of a part in the mission and how much good PPK9A was putting into the community with the Therapy Dog Program.

In February of this year, I was asked if I could be in charge while the previous management was on vacation, I fell in love with the place even more, and realized this is where I needed and wanted to be. PPK9A has been amazing for both myself and Ziva. In March I accepted a full-time position as the Socialization Manager and as a Trainer. Just days after starting my new position I welcomed another fur child into my home, a Blue Heeler named Gibbs.

I am a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and will be attending their annual conference in October. In the mean time I am currently enrolled in the Victoria Stilwell Dog Training Academy to become a certified dog trainer.

In my spare time I am working on my classes for the Dog Training Academy and trying to train my pups Ziva and Gibbs to be the amazing dogs I know they can be.

Robbi Blackburn

Board of Directors Member & Staff

My name Robbi Blackburn and my certified therapy dog is Ms. Kitty. I have been on the Board of Directors since its inception. Ms. Kitty is the old lady of the therapy dogs, having gone through the second class 6 years ago. I also sit on the Bord of Directors for the Waynesboro First Aid Crew where I have been a member for 32 years and am a lifetime member. I now work part-time for Positive Paws.

PPK9A does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, or political beliefs.