photo of Linda Ball, E.D.

"Working with our service dogs is pure magic: magic, for me, as well as the trainers, volunteers, and puppy raisers who watch the light bulbs light up in a puppy’s mind as they figure out how to open a door, turn on a light or go get help for their partner. The magic of seeing a service dog in-training ‘choose’ it’s partner and the difference it makes in the new partners life” - Linda Ball

Founder and Executive Director

PawPADs' Founder and Executive Director, Linda Ball, has spent over 30 years working in the social services and non-profit fields. She is an accomplished non-profit manager and professional dog trainer. A Minnesota native and a University of Minnesota Alumnus, Linda holds her M.S. Degree in Experiential Education and has served as guest lecturer at the University of Minnesota and the Mongolian National University.

  • B.A. Speech Communications (University of Minnesota)
  • M.Ed. Experiential Education (University of Minnesota)
  • A.S. Assistance Dog Education (Bergin University of Canine Studies)
  • m-MBA, Nonprofit Management (University of St. Thomas)
  • Formerly the Regional Director, GOAL Ireland (an International Aid Organization), in Bosnia, Kosovo and Central America.
  • Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Mongolia '93-'95, and author of the first Mongolian Sign - Language dictionary.
  • Presidents "Call To Service" Lifetime Volunteer Service Award.
  • Four times trans-continental crossing of the United States by bicycle - raising donations and awareness for cancer research and the Susan G. Komen foundation, the world's largest breast cancer organization.

In 2016, Linda was named an "Exceptional Business Woman" by the "Sun This Week" newspapers.

In 2005 Linda returned to the United States' from her GOAL-Ireland posting in Central America with the vision of creating a program utilizing the power of animals to create effective change. Thus was born Pawsitive Perspectives Assistance Dogs (PawPADs). Incorporated as a non-profit in 2007, PawPADs started its success on the Oregon Coast and in 2008 Linda brought the program back to her home-state of Minnesota. She is committed to creating life enhancing experiences and partnerships between canines and people facing the many challenges life can present with four paws and a pawsitive perspective!

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.

They advise, govern, oversee policy, and assist with the leadership and general promotion of PawPADs. They provide resources: financial contributions; contacts (personal and corporate), and community networking; professional in-kind services. They are volunteers and their passion for our mission and personal and collective example is critically important to our success.


Yvonne Hemze

Federal Setup Manager with Deloitte Consulting

“I have been a volunteer with PawPADs since 2011 and I am in my 4th year as a member of the Board of Directors. I have had the great pleasure to see just how this organization changes lives through their many programs, some of which including working with veterans and youth at risk, as well as the clients with whom our dogs are ultimately placed. PawPADs has touched so many lives in so many different ways thanks to the leadership and vision of Executive Director, Linda Ball. I am so proud to be part of an organization that strives to make the lives of others better, four paws at a time.”


Jennifer Gaines

Director of Human Resources, DoubleTree by Hilton

“I joined PawPADs back in 2011 as a volunteer and had the pleasure of increasing my role to board member in 2016. My background consists of a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work with 20+ year of experience in Human Resources. PawPADs' variety of training programs, their method of training (only positive reinforcement) and the difference that I have witnessed service dogs make in people’s lives are what keep me volunteering with this great organization.”


Randy Patrick

PawPADs Director of Operations

“I bring the perspective of more than a decade experience in positive based dog training and over thirty years’ experience managing diverse work forces and volunteers. I understand – better than most – the challenges and issues facing our veterans and their families: I’m a Vietnam-era US Air Force veteran, come from a military “Gold Star” family, and am the son of WWII P.O.W. I’m a retired law enforcement officer/detective, and have served our Nation abroad, having lived or worked in Bosnia, Kosovo, Central America, and Afghanistan. I have a BA in Business Administration and an AA in Criminal Justice.”

Andre Coleman

Director and Constituent

Andre' Coleman

Co-owner/Chief Administrator, Century Oaks Assisted Living

“In early 2014 I was partnered with DAD Sage. The skills he has are exceptional and are a direct result of the commitment that PawPADs puts into each of the Service Dogs they train. I’m extremely proud to be able bring my skills as an entrepreneur and business person, as well as my passion for the lifesaving difference Sage has made in my life to the PawPADs Board table.”


Director and Constituent

Nate Day

St. Paul, Minnesota
High School College Coach, AmeriCorps/College Possible

“During my senior year of college (2018-2019), I was an intern with the Assistance Dog Education Program and Training (ADEPT), a partnership between PawPADs and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. As an intern, I gained immense experience in service dog training/handling, participated in community education, attended ADEPT class, and led special projects in the topics of School Resource Dogs and Animal-Assisted Intervention. I am especially passionate about the impact dogs can have on students as well as vulnerable populations in hospitals, rehabilitation programs, and correctional facilities. Professionally, my interests are in advocacy, support, education, and policy. ”

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We're a 501(C)(3) charitable organization, so your contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law.

(EIN: 510593176)

Contact Us

9877 234th Street East
Lakeville, MN 55044-8299

Phone: +001 (612) 643-5671

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