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Who We Are

Our Mission
To enrich the lives of people with disabilities by providing them with exceptionally skilled assistance dogs; To utilize the power of the human-canine bond as a therapeutic, educational, healing tool.
Our Strategy

We accomplish this through educational and vocational training programs which offers opportunities for students, prison inmates, veterans, and others to train the assistance dogs for placement.

Our Vision

To enable persons with disabilities to lead more independent, self-reliant, and fulfilling lives with the assistance of a canine partner.

PawPADs At A Glance

  • PawPADs is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization 501(C)(3) charitable organization (EIN: 510593176) headquartered in Lakeville, Minnesota
  • Founded in 2005; incorporated and registered as a non-profit since 2007
  • We primarily focus on training service dogs for people with physical mobility disabilities. Our dogs can also be trained as Diabetic Alert dogs (trained for detecting changes in blood sugar levels), Home Help-mate dogs (these have been trained in the same skills as Service Dogs, but are not granted public access qualifications due to not meeting our high standards of performance), and Facility/Animal Assisted Therapy dogs on a case-by-case basis.
  • Our service area is roughly 200 miles from our Training center in Lakeville, MN.
  • Our clients consist of wounded warriors and other persons with physical mobility challenges, children and adults with diabetes, and facilities such as schools, Veterans homes, and victim services.
  • Our funding relies primarily on individual contributions, corporate and foundation contributions, fundraisers, gifts in-kind and grants.
  • Through our training programs – ADEPT, Prison Road Puppies, Paw Corps, Project Y.E.S., and the SIT Program – we offer University students, volunteers, veterans, inmates, and youth the opportunity to help raise and train our amazing canines.
  • Three paid staff (Executive Director, Director of Operations, and ADEPT Program Manager), 25 volunteers

The PawPADs Difference

Positive Training Methods.

PawPADs uses only positive reinforcement to shape behaviors into tasks useful to human partners. Our goal is to provide our clients with happy, emotionally balanced, confident dogs that trust and want to be with them. The infliction of pain, intimidation, and domination has no place in our training programs at any time.

Innovative Training Programs.

Programs designed to create powerful, life-enhancing experiences through working with dogs – as the very act of working with, being around and training these dogs can be therapeutic and life-altering in profound ways.

Animal Rescue.

Our goal is to train one rescue dog for every dog bred for our programs. These rescue dogs may be trained as Service dogs, Diabetic Alert Dogs, Home helpmates, or simply a well trained companion animal. There’s a job for every dog that trots out our doors…even if it is simply to be the best partner and family companion ever!

Environmental Impact.

From our geo-thermal heating/cooling at our training center to making our events as “green” as we can to re-purposing items into other useful items, PawPADs is committed to minimizing our impact on our fragile earth in every way we can.

Key Staff

photo of PawPADs' Founder and ED, Linda Ball

Linda Ball

Founder and Executive Director

Linda Ball is an accomplished non-profit manager and professional dog trainer. As the founder and executive director of PawPADs, Linda brings her over 35 years of experience to the organization. With a master's degree in Experiential Education, Linda is committed to using the power of animals to create effective change in the lives of people facing various challenges.

Linda has an impressive educational background, including a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communications and a Master of Education in Experiential Education from the University of Minnesota. She also holds an Associate of Science degree in Assistance Dog Education from Bergin University of Canine Studies and an m-MBA in Nonprofit Management from the University of St. Thomas.

Linda's dedication to public service extends beyond her work at PawPADs. She served as the Regional Director for GOAL Ireland, an international aid organization, in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Central America. She is also a returned Peace Corps Volunteer who authored the first Mongolian Sign-Language dictionary.

Linda has received numerous accolades for her work, including the President's "Call to Service" Lifetime Volunteer Service Award and named one of 11 "Exceptional Business Women" by the Dakota County Sun This Week Newspapers and The Dakota County Tribune in 2016. She has also completed four trans-continental crossings of the United States by bicycle, raising donations and awareness for cancer research and the Susan G. Komen foundation. Linda's leadership and passion for service have made PawPADs a beacon of hope for people with disabilities and veterans in need of assistance dogs.

Maddie Jensen

Lauren Schmitt

Program Manager

Maddie Jensen is the talented ADEPT Program Manager at PawPADs.  A Dec 2017 graduate from UWRF with a BS in Animal Science and a companion animal emphasis, she is well-equipped to manage the ADEPT program. Maddie was a former ADEPT intern herself, which gives her unique insight into the program and its needs. As Program Manager, Maddie oversees the day-to-day management of the students and dogs, and she is responsible for developing and delivering instructional material. She also monitors the training progress of each of the dogs in the program. In addition to her management duties, Maddie assists with fundraising efforts and social media campaigns. Her expertise in dog training and instruction makes her an invaluable resource for the interns in the ADEPT program. Her dedication and passion for our mission is inspiring, and we are grateful for her hard work and commitment.

Program Coordinator

Lauren Schmitt is an integral part of our ADEPT program as the Program Coordinator. With a degree in Animal Science with a double emphasis in companion animals and equine from UW-River Falls, Lauren has a deep understanding of the needs of service dogs. She started as an ADEPT intern herself, which gives her a unique perspective on the program. As the Program Coordinator, Lauren is responsible for the care and well-being of the dogs in the program, including their training, grooming, enrichment, and playtime. Her experience with the program and her knowledge of dog behavior allow her to troubleshoot any challenges that may arise with the dogs. In addition to her hands-on work with the dogs, Lauren also assists with social media to create educational content about service dogs and the important role they fill in the lives of people with disabilities. She is passionate about her work and dedicated to making a positive impact through the ADEPT program.

Randy Patrick

Director of Operations

Randy Patrick, PawPADs' Director of Operations, brings a wealth of experience to the organization. With over 15 years of experience in positive-based dog training and over 30 years of managing diverse workforces and volunteers, Randy understands the challenges and issues facing our clients, veterans and their families. As a Vietnam-era US Air Force veteran, the son of a WWII P.O.W, and a retired law enforcement officer/detective, he has a unique perspective on the needs of those who have served our country. Randy has also lived or worked in Bosnia, Kosovo, Central America, and Afghanistan, giving him a global perspective on the challenges facing our world today. With a BA in Business Administration and an AA in Criminal Justice, Randy brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his role at PawPADs.

Board of Directors

What Does PawPADs' Board Do?

Like most nonprofit Boards, it's primary responsibility is strategic and financial program oversight, along with fundraising/development activity.

In short: they provide foresight, oversight, and insight.

They advise, govern, set and oversee policy, and assist with the leadership and general promotion of PawPADs. They provide resources: financial contributions, contacts (personal and corporate) and community networking, and professional in-kind services, in order to ensure PawPADs has adequate resources to carry out its mission. They are volunteers and their passion for our mission and personal and collective example is critically important to our success. Boards are not owners of the organization but are stewards of the organization’s mission and resources.

Angie Ardolf

Board President and Constituent
Contact: AArdolf(at)

Alan Tenenholtz

Board Treasurer
Contact: Alan_T(at)

Alan Tenenholtz photo

Linda Ball

Contact: Linda (at)

Audrey Bergstrom

Board Member
Contact: Audrey(at)


Support PawPADs

PawPADs is a 501(C)(3) charitable organization so your contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. (EIN: 510593176)
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Contact Us

9877 234th Street East
Lakeville, MN 55044-8299
Sorry, visit by appointment only
Phone: +001 (612) 643-5671

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