Dr Rebecca Leonardi, Founding Director, began by developing and securing support for the Paws for Progress programme at HM YOI Polmont, before delivering the programme and researching its effectiveness from 2011-2014. Since our registration as a Community Interest Company (CIC) in 2014, Rebecca is the Development Manager at Paws for Progress. She is responsible for the development and monitoring of Paws for Progress initiatives, all of which aim to enhance the well-being of people and animals through positive and effective Human Animal Interaction (HAI). Along with her team of prison-trained Paws Ambassadogs (all of whom originated as rescue shelter dogs), Rebecca works with a range of partners to deliver services centred on the positive effects that can result from dog-human interactions and relationships.
Suzanne is the Operations Manager at Paws for Progress, and has been working with the company since 2014. She began fostering dogs during her time with Paws for Progress but joined the “failed foster” club very quickly by adopting her first foster dog, a cuddly staffie x called Phoebe.
Suzanne has always been passionate about caring for a range of animals through her previous work. She also has a keen interest in human behaviour and well-being, focusing on Capuchin Monkey welfare during her final year studying for her First Class Degree in Psychology at the University of Stirling.
Suzanne’s responsibilities as Operations Manager include supporting the Board of Directors in the planning, leadership and management of the Company, and leading the operational delivery of our strategic plan. Paws for Progress provides the opportunity for Suzanne to combine her passions for improving the lives of both people and animals. She is excited to be a part of such an ambitious and pioneering organisation as Paws for Progress continues to grow and fulfil its full potential.
Megan is the Paws for Progress course instructor at Polmont YOI. In 2007, Megan was one of the first four nurses in the UK to qualify with an HND in Veterinary Nursing. She has a keen interest in animal physiotherapy and rehabilitation and helped set up a successful rehabilitation clinic at the Stirling-based hospital. In her spare time, she enjoys competing with her horse and helps out with the local pony club.
Megan wants Paws for Progress CIC to become a centre for excellence that is known throughout the UK for delivering benefits through successful human animal interactions.
Kirsty is the Community Instructor working with children and young people in schools and community projects. Dogs have always been big part of Kirsty’s family life and she has lived in a multi-dog household since she was just 4 years old. Kirsty has always had an interest in how dogs can help people and has previously volunteered with two national assistance dog charities. Her passion was truly sparked after working as a dog trainer with young people at a secure school, where she was so impressed with the changes in engagement levels, attitude and calmness that her own dogs could bring to the students.
Kirsty has achieved full membership of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and successfully ran her own pet dog training business for several years. She also continues to study with the Open University, furthering her knowledge on human psychology and learning more about working with people. She hopes in future to complete the MSc in Human-Animal Interaction or Play Therapy.
In her spare time Kirsty enjoys walking her dogs, photography and going to motorsport events.
June worked for many years in Financial Services whilst running dog training classes with Tynewater Dog Training in her spare time. She is a Full Member of the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers and has an OCN Level 3 in the Principles of Dog Training. June trained as Dog Groomer and is a recognised Scentwork Trainer.
June currently has 2 flat coated retrievers and 2 springer spaniels and has trained her own dogs for Working Trials, Lowland Search and Rescue, general obedience, showing and one of her dogs was a Therapet.
Through dog training, June has recognised the mutual benefits of human animal interactions for many years and in particular whilst with Therapet but her passion was ignited when she became involved with Paws for Progress as a volunteer.