"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
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!
Maddie Jensen - Program Manager
Maddie is a UW-River Falls graduate with BS in Animal Science with a companion animal emphasis and a former ADEPT intern. She is responsible for oversight of the ADEPT program which includes day-to-day management of students and dogs, development and delivery of instructional material and monitoring training progress of each of the dogs. Maddie also assists with fundraising efforts, social media campaigns, follow-up with teams and the many other aspects of running PawPADs. Maddie is a remarkable dog trainer, as well as an excellent ADEPT instructor; sharing her keen insights and skills with the interns on a daily basis.
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 resourceshas adequate resources to carry out its mission.
Board President and Constituent
“I have been blessed to experience firsthand the life-changing impact a PawPADs assistance dog can have on a person’s life. My daughter, Ruby, was placed with Charlie in 2020 and their partnership has forever altered her life in the most positive ways. Charlie is Ruby’s faithful companion, always there to lend a helping paw or a gentle hug when she needs it the most. This partnership—and so many others—would not be possible without the amazing leadership, staff, volunteers and student interns at PawPADs. I am beyond proud to be part of an organization with such an incredible mission.”