Here are a few of our many dedicated volunteers:

LORRAINE HOUSTON, Founder and President

Even as a child Lorraine’s passion for dogs was evident but officially and professionally she has 40 years “in dogs” when she began her career at the Toronto Humane Society in 1980. Throughout the years her experiences have included animal shelter work and management, Animal Control Officer, SPCA cruelty agent, dog trainer, Therapy Dog evaluator, newspaper columnist, seminar organizer and host, animal advocacy Board member, Hurricane Katrina response team, canine behaviour training and assessments and dearest to her heart – dog rescue and fostering.

A three-time Maxwell award winner from the Dog Writers Association of America, Lorraine has penned numerous magazine and newspaper articles in an effort to raise awareness about the plight of homeless dogs, the puppy mill industry and the rewards of positive, force-free, motivational dog training. She launched Speaking of Dogs Rescue in 2001 when an old friend from the Toronto Humane Society called her to come and meet a dog who was at Toronto Animal Services and would benefit from a foster-based rescue organization.


In 2000 Lindsay adopted her first Shih Tzu “Raggs” from Toronto Animal Services and her life changed forever. She could not imagine how she had ever lived in a home without a dog. In 2002 Lindsay became a Foster Mom for the Ontario SPCA and adopted her second forever dog “Buddy” from them. It was thanks to Buddy that Lindsay met Lorraine Houston from Speaking of Dogs Rescue and in 2006 Lindsay joined the foster parent program. Since that time she and her 3rd forever dog Riley have successfully foster 34 dogs for Speaking of Dogs Rescue – including the wheaten terrier puppy adopted by Cathy Vandergeest and her husband. While her full time job has taken her way from fostering, Lindsay continues to enjoy participating in all aspects of the rescue, from volunteering at fundraising events to dog transports and her Board duties.

KATIE SAICH, Board Treasurer

Katie grew up with a love for animals but it was not until she was 19 when she got her first dog Lady, a beautiful all white Bull Terrier and it was love at first sight. Shortly after her ‘brother’ arrived, Bruce, a cheeky rambunctious bully. After Lady and Bruce passed over to rainbow bridge, she made a commitment to help dogs in need. Katie has been volunteering for Speaking of Dogs since 2013, and in 2015 became the Board Treasurer. Katie is a Senior Cost Analyst at Irving Shipbuilding and by applying her skills, experience and knowledge of finance and analysis, is able to contribute to helping dogs in need, a passion close to her heart. Katie’s most recent addition to the family is Rigo, a senior rescue dog who loves nothing more than chasing his frisbee at collecting sticks.

KIM GLADDING, Board Secretary

Kim has been involved in dog rescue since 2002 and joined Speaking of Dogs Rescue in 2008. She’s always had a passion for animals, which is often recounted when her parents tell stories of all the strays she brought home while growing up. Kim believes volunteering to help rescue animals is what she’s meant to do in life. She enjoys being a volunteer and board member since it allows her to put her organizational skills to good use, raise awareness and guide a fabulous team of volunteers in their endeavours to raise much needed funds to help the rescue dogs. Kim currently shares her home with her husband and her Speaking of Dogs Rescue girls Nikki and Shyla.


There was always a dog in Linda’s life until retirement and extended travel made it unfeasible. Luckily, she now gets to spend time with her “grand-dog”. Until they sold their home, Linda and her husband Ron fostered nursing mother cats and their litters for Toronto Animal Services. Cats or dogs – Linda is ready to help animals in need. She came to know Speaking of Dogs Rescue while volunteering at a local SPCA shelter where she also served on that shelter’s board and has continued her life-long interest in dogs, their health and well-being. While working in the corporate world, she was a long-standing member of the Board of Directors of The Ontario March of Dimes and served as the Board’s President. A particular focus of hers was board governance and development. In retirement, Linda has continued with life-long learning in areas of interest and works on improving her French language skills. She also volunteers to help foreign-language students improve their conversational English.

IAN HOUSTON, Bookkeeper

Ian is our volunteer bookkeeper and has been for many years. He spends a great deal of time paying veterinary invoices, processing reimbursements, getting tax receipts done, coding and organizing our fundraisers and balancing the books. He works closely with our volunteer Board Treasurer, Katie. We are grateful to have Ian on our team; he is generous with his time and bookkeeping experience. All he asks in return is a bit of dog love as seen in his picture. Foster dog Maxine is quite smitten with Ian and is always ready to help balance the books especially if it includes sitting on his knee.

CHERYL POWLESS, Forever in Foster Captain

Hi, I’m Cheryl!

I have been volunteering with Speaking of Dog’s Rescue since 2016.

I have worked in the veterinary industry for over 25 years, most recently as a veterinary technician.

My knowledge and experience led me to become the Forever in Foster Captain in 2018. I get to work with our FIF parents to keep the dogs who are not able to be adopted, usually due to health issues, as happy as possible until their final days. I liaison between the parents and our veterinary partners, to arrange medication renewals, vet appointments, and whatever else is needed. It’s a real team effort.

It’s an honour to be a part of this incredible rescue of dedicated individuals.

JENNIFER FRAYNE, Social Media and Admin

Jen has been a long time support of Speaking of Dogs (SOD) since 2008 when she worked in an animal shelter that partnered with SOD. She began fostering in 2017 and hasn’t looked back since. While her house is a bit full with 3 very active dogs right now (2 of which are foster fails from SOD 🥰), she still finds time to volunteer in her spare time.  Jen and her husband enjoy hiking and camping with the dogs and Jen loves to do agility and trick training with her crew. Her passion is working with animals and their behaviour, and she even went back to school to complete her Masters of Science in Animal Behaviour and Welfare from the University of Guelph. She enjoys participating in many different training classes and can never learn enough about dog behaviour. Jen currently helps us with admin and social media as well as some behind the scenes tasks!

LEANNE TUCKER, Surrender Screener

Leanne grew up with furry friends of all varieties but has always had a special place in her heart for dogs. In 2002, she changed careers and saw an opportunity to begin volunteering at her local OSPCA where she joined a training program that paired shelter dogs with young offenders to benefit both. Initially, she volunteered clicker training the shelter dogs and later moved into the position of Assistant Dog Trainer with the program. Through this program she became familiar with Speaking of Dogs and attended many seminars presented by world renowned dog experts. Around 2007, Leanne, and a group of friends, organized and implemented an orientation program for all new dog walkers at their local OSPCA branch. In 2011, Leanne started dog walking/training and orienting new dog walkers at her local animal control which she enjoyed doing for 7 years. Currently, she volunteers for a number of rescues doing animal transports, home visits, and adoption interviews. She helps Speaking of Dogs Rescue with surrender interviews. Leanne and her hubby share their home with two amazing dogs they adopted.

MARI-ANNE McCLEARY, Adoption Screener

Mari-Anne recently retired from a 20+ year with Toronto Animal Services. It was there that she started working with Speaking of Dogs and many other wonderful rescues.

She and her husband, Carl, have fostered dogs and done many home visits for the adoption process. They were “foster failures” when they welcomed adorable Peanut into their family.

Mari-Anne screens potential adoption applications, applications for inclusion in the yearly Ontario Rescue Directory and for the Pet Partner program. This process includes many phone calls and emails to contact various references. Lorraine and Mari-Anne have a great time setting up the booths for the Canadian Pet Expos. Recently, Mari-Anne has been overseeing and coordinating volunteers for the Pet Expo events.

She and her husband share their home with three amazing dogs, three great cats, a colony of box turtles, and several aquariums.

They are both very grateful to Speaking of Dogs Rescue and their amazing group of volunteers. They look forward to helping with continued success and many happy endings!


Colette has been an animal lover since childhood and having animals in her life is important to her, especially if it means she can help. She’s been able to do this in many ways over the years as a supporter and volunteer with the Toronto Humane Society, as a kennel assistant, and as a foster mom.

In 2011, Colette and her husband became foster parents through Speaking of Dogs to Nelly, a spirited Doberman-Lab mix. As a foster mom, Colette became part of the Speaking of Dogs family which gave her an opportunity to see first-hand their amazing volunteer and rescue efforts. She was struck by the organization’s passion and knew it was something she wanted to be a part of.

Colette assists with managing the Speaking of Dogs website, and is always available to volunteer when needed. She and her husband share their home with their dog Nelly and their two cats.

KAREN FLUDE, Graphic Designer and Calendar Creator

Karen has been an animal lover since she was a little girl, growing up with a variety of pets during her childhood.  In her early 20’s, she adopted her first rescue dog who was a puppy mill mom. While it was a big commitment, she was patient and positive when it came to teaching her to trust, leash walking and how to play and live with humans – it was one of the most rewarding things she had ever done.

Karen has been creating the Speaking of Dogs calendars for 10 + years now and does a fabulous job. She initially wanted to be a foster mom or a driver but, with a young family, and a career in graphic design, she didn’t have the time.  She decided to offer her artistic talents to the rescue and helps by producing creative and effective designs for social media, fundraisers and dog posters.

Karen and her family recently adopted their dog Loki from us who has been a wonderful addition to the family.  Karen is thrilled that her two boys are growing up with and learning to love having pets in their lives.

SARAH KAPP, Newsletter Designer

Coming Soon

MARLO HILTZ, Canine Behaviour Consultant

Marlo is our go-to canine behaviour consultant.  She helps our foster parents with behaviour and training situations and challenges. We've known Marlo for almost 2 decades when she came to almost every seminar we hosted!

Working with dogs since 1998, Marlo Hiltz is a certified professional dog trainer with the certification council for professional dog trainers, and an honours graduate from the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy. She is a force-free trainer and is passionate about helping people with their dogs. Marlo lives in Terra Cotta Ontario with her husband Murray and their many rescue dogs.

Marlo and Murray are active foster parents with Speaking of Dogs Rescue and have adopted several dogs over the year.